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    Rogers, 32, is the founder of the new Italian restaurant bar Vetti on South Fourth Street, Feast BBQ and Royals Hot Chicken (all under his HiCotton Hospitality umbrella). He lives in Crescent Hill.
     

    Earliest childhood memory?

    “My grandmother in Opelousas, Louisiana, making scrambled eggs for me in her old cast-iron skillet.”
     

    What song has been stuck in your head lately?

    “It seems like the radio station at bar Vetti plays Mariah Carey’s ‘Fantasy’ a lot. I’m not upset about it.”
     

    All-time-favorite album?

    “Harry Chapin, Greatest Stories Live, was on strong rotation on childhood car trips, along with Creedence Clearwater Revival’s Chronicle, Vol. 1.”
     

    How’d you make your first dollar?

    “Working under the table at a Chinese takeout restaurant, where I took the phone orders and ate the kitchen mistakes. I didn’t get paid for the latter, but it was the best part of the job.” 
     

    If you could be mayor of Louisville for a day, what would you do?

    “Make an immediate investment in public transportation, in particular light rail. More adequate transportation would help the upward-mobility potential for all Louisvillians.” 
     

    Favorite possession?

    “After I opened the first Feast BBQ in New Albany and paid off the credit card debit, in part by squatting in the vacant second floor above the restaurant, I bought myself a fancy watch. It’s a used, stainless-steel 1979 Rolex Datejust, and I’m not afraid to jump into the dish tank with it on.”
     

    Favorite thing hanging on the walls of your home?

    “There is literally one thing that I’ve gotten around to hanging on the walls in my house in the two years I’ve lived there. It’s a drawing from local artist Matt McDole of the Ten of Swords. I picked it up at Revelry on East Market Street.”
     

    What’s on your nightstand?

    “Lots of half-read items. Hemingway, To Have and Have Not. Issues of the magazines Noble Rot, Garden & Gun and Lucky Peach. As well as an uncashed ticket from this year’s Derby.”
     

    What are your vices?

    “Besides driving a fuel-burning car, being entirely too wasteful and living a First World lifestyle? Overconsumption.”
     

    What are you wearing right now?

    “A blue dress shirt, Levi’s jeans, a beanie, a chef apron and Nike SB Ultra Force sneakers. Perk of the job: I set my own dress code.”
     

    What Louisville dish have you eaten more than any other?

    “Hands down, the shrimp aguachile at La Lupita — 827 Eastern Blvd., Clarksville, Indiana, 47129 — and I don’t even really care for seafood.”
     

    What’s always in your refrigerator?

    “Condiments. I firmly believe that multiple food items only exist as vehicles for condiment usage.”
     

    What should every person try once?

    “When it comes to food, I live by the idea of trying foods I don’t like over and over again until I find a variation I do like. But next time you’re in Chicago, get a shot of Malört. You can hate me later.”
     

    Favorite Kentucky Derby winner?

    “Big Brown, 2008. It was my first Derby, and I lost a ton of money not betting on the favorite. Love your enemies.”
     

    Best book you’ve read over the past year?

    “The majority of my reading consists of cookbooks, everything from old Junior League recipes to modernist cuisine. But this year I did dive back into Jack Kerouac’s The Dharma Bums, which recounts the often impossible search for truth and meaning in our world. It’s a story that has just as much relevance today as it did when it came out in 1958.”
     

    Do you have a secret talent?

    “Balloon animals, as it turns out. It’s not a party trick you’ll have the chance to use often — you don’t want to be the guy with that gimmick at every party — but when it happens organically it’s pretty magical.”
     

    Favorite movie scene?

    “I am openly not a movie person. I can’t recite lines, I don’t remember plot lines. I just watch them and move on.”
     

    What tattoos do you have?

    “None. I got my lip pierced when I was in college, and my parents acted like I’d desecrated a national monument.”
     

    If forced to get a tattoo today, what would you get?

    “The Swedish proverb ‘Lagom är bäst.’ The rough translation is ‘The right amount is best.’ Enough is as good as a feast. It’s a lesson in moderation.”
     

    What’s something unexpected you love in Louisville? 

    “Well, it used to be Freddie’s on Broadway. RIP. It was the quintessential dive bar. I hope he can find a new space soon.”
     

    What makes somebody a Louisvillian?

    “Technically, I’m pretty sure you have to go to high school here or something, but I’ll settle for anyone who wants to be here and contribute positively to our city.”
     

    Three people at your ideal dinner party?

    ‘MLK Jr., JFK, LBJ. We’ve got some stuff to hash out.”
     

    PLUS EIGHT MORE

    Your drink?
    "Boulevardier — a collaboration of Italian amaro, Italian vermouth and Kentucky bourbon.”

    Least favorite word?
    “How about a combo: personal guarantee.” 

    When/where are you most creative?
    “New York City’s vibrancy and hustle continually push me to be better.”

    The last thing you bought online?
    “An RFID-blocking passport wallet for a trip to Morocco.”

    Your most noticeable quirk?
    “I’m awful with names and faces. I’ll probably blank-stare you.”

    What/who makes you laugh?
    “Giving rolls of giftwrap as presents.”

    Can’t-miss TV show?
    Curb Your Enthusiasm. It’s pretty, pretty, pretty good.”

    This originally appeared in the December 2017 issue of Louisville Magazine. To subscribe to Louisville Magazineclick here. To find us on newsstands, click here.

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