Art Smith took an unusual route to becoming celebrity chef: he started out as a personal chef first at the Governor’s Mansion in Florida where he was raised, and eventually in the kitchens of well-known politicians and celebrities around the world.
In 1997, he ended up as personal chef to Oprah Winfrey for 10 years, until one day, Oprah finally said to him, “This is ridiculous! You should have your own restaurant!” So, with the blessing of the tv icon, Art opened Table 52 in Chicago, and has never looked back. He just opened his THIRD restaurant in Washington DC and has now published 3 cookbooks – one of which, “Back to the Table: The Reunion of Food and Family”, won a James Beard Award.
Art’s mission is to resurrect the important role of food and “gathering at the table” in a world where these rituals have fallen away. Ironic, since Art himself is gay, so he’s not advocating traditionalism per se – just trying to remind us all that family, no matter how you define it, can be strengthened through the power of sharing a meal together. Art has carried that personal mission to his charity work. He founded “Our Common Threads” which teaches children about different cultures through food and art. He is also contributing chef to health guru Dean Ornish’s new family health book. Art lives in Chicago with his life partner, renowned artist Jesus Salgueiro, tending to their garden and their three dogs, five cats, and 15 fish.