Chef Marc Vetri likes to fight. "As a chef you have to have an outlet to let off some steam," he says. Nearly two years ago, Mr. Vetri took up Brazilian jiu-jitsu, a mixed-martial art that focuses on ground fighting and self-defense. Within two months he persuaded two of his chef/business partners to join him. Now, even some of his line cooks show up for Saturday morning fight sessions. "The workouts have become a bonding thing for the guys," he says.
Mr. Vetri, 45 years old, oversees a mini Italian restaurant empire in Philadelphia that consists of Osteria, Amis, and the recently opened gastro pub Alla Spina. Another of his restaurants, Vetri, was recently nominated for America's "Outstanding Restaurant" by the James Beard Foundation.