By Diana Ladden
From The Independent, June 2006

imageedit_5_3434585653Mark Ganem, chef-owner of Vico, graduated summa cum laude with a degree in biology from Harvard University. Although immersed in a serious course of study, Mr. Ganem found time to be part of the Harvard Lampoon, an organization presided over at that time by Conan O’Brien, now the host of Late Night with Conan O’Brien, on NBC.

Mr. Ganem and Mr. O’Brien danced on tables during the ritual lobster and champagne parties that were part of Lampoon life. They are friends to this day. Mr. O’Brien was present for the preopening party for Vico.

Mr. O’Brien took time from his preparations as host for the 2006 Emmy Awards this week, to make a few observations about his own culinary talent and about Mr. Ganem and Vico.

“Because I am on television, my producer won’t let me have solid food,” writes Mr. O’Brien in an e-mail. “But when I am allowed to eat something delicious, I’d go to Vico.”

He adds: “I’ve known Mark a long time. We were college roommates. It’s best that he’s the one that opened a restaurant. My cooking skills never progressed from then. My Ramen Pride and Tuna Sandwich bistro would’ve been a bust.”

According to Mr. O’Brien, Mr. Ganem is a perfectionist in everything he does and is incapable of doing anything halfway. “He’s passionate about Vico and that’s what will make it a great restaurant,” he says.

“By the way,” he adds, “Mark has assured me the only show that will air in the bar is Late Night with Conan O’Brien. I’m getting him 13 years of tapes.”

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