Oh boy do we have a great guest today for our Meet the Pros – Chef Art Smith. For those who do not know who Art Smith is. Art Smith, chef, author, and television personality and has brought back meaning and symbolism to the word “table” and has united families and friends through the sharing of a meal. Art Smith is a native of Jasper, Florida, and he studied at the Florida State University School of Business. Art Smith is a two-time James Beard Award recipient. In 2007 he received the James Beard Foundation Humanitarian of The Year Award and in 2002 he received the James Beard Foundation Award for “Best Cookbook” for his first cookbook, Back to the Table: The Reunion of Food and Family (Hyperion, 2001). Art is a contributing editor to O, the Oprah Magazine and the Food section of Oprah.com and has appeared several times on “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” He is featured regularly on television programs, appearing nationally on “The Today Show” and “Good Day Live” and serving as a regular tasting judge on Food Network’s “Iron Chef America.” Art has also appeared on TLC’s Pit Master Show and is also the owner of Art and Soul here in Washington D.C.
So without any more delay here is Art Smith as Grilling with Rich Meets Another BBQ Pro!
Grilling with Rich (GWR): My first question that I always ask my guests for the Meet the Pros Series, is what made you start to barbecue? What did you like most about it? Why do you think that a lot of people love to barbecue? I see that you are all about food, so what “turned” you on to barbecue?
Art Smith: What southern born man isn’t fond of BBQ, we live it, and we eat it!
GWR: Tell us about “Common Threads”?
Art Smith: Common Threads is non-profit founded 6 years ago in my neighborhood and serves 2000 kids a year, over 10,000 meals. Common Threads is America’s foremost after school kids program, that reaches out to undeserved kids in urban area’s in 3 states. We teach free cooking lessons, and through those lessons children learn many lessons,how to take care of themselves, how to eat good things, but and how to work together as a team. (To learn more about Common Threads visit: www.commonthreads.org )
GWR: Why do you think that food is a great way for people to come together?
Art Smith: We all love to eat!
GWR: How come you haven’t started your own barbecue restaurant? is that something that in the works?
Art Smith: No, fried chicken is my thing, and health is my latest thing, I’m opening LYFE KITCHEN, America’s first national healthy food quick serve chain Palo Alto, Cal. I am bringing comfort and health. Love BBQ, but rather eat someone else’s!
GWR: What is your favorite barbecue food to make? and why?
Art Smith:One that I don’t have to make! LOL I love to BBQ Allen Brothers Leg of Lamb or tenderloin rubbed in lots of spices, and carved and made into taco’s.
GWR: What was it like to participate in TLC’s BBQ Pit Master Series?
Art Smith: TLC’s Pitmasters, was fun working with Myron Mixon, Mr. BBQ himself. Lots of fun, we grew up not far apart and share many common threads. He and I are friends for life and a brothers from another mother. I love meeting the BBQ folks from across the country that competed.
GWR: What got you interested in TLC’s Show Pit Masters show? and why did you do it?
Art Smith: I was cast to do a comfort food show, and when I went on this huge weight loss it didn’t mix with me or the producers. I’m not about gorging on food. I love food but food must be respected. BBQ is a very respected business. These Pitmasters take great care, love in producing this amazing stuff. I was cast in the roll as a judge. America loves me as a judge, remember I’m the nice funny one. If the show is renewed for a second season, America needs to bombard TLC with emails saying bring it back. These shows only stay on the air due to ratings.
GWR: What is one thing that your fans Don’t know about YOU that you would like to share?
Art Smith: That I love the Cartoon Network, and any animation from Family Guy to The Simpsons. I was raised on Disney, and love it a lot too!
GWR: What is like to cook for famous people like Oprah, Governors etc..
Art Smith: People are people, I just made Lady Gaga’s Birthday Cake, she loved it and is a huge fan. Oprah loves anything I make for her from fresh things growing in her beautiful vegetable garden. His Holiness loved my vegetarian lunch for him. I’m grateful that I’m able to cook for these amazing people, but Ive realize that the busy you are the simpler you want things to be, so why make your food busy.
GWR: Is there one person that you get nervous cooking for and why? and lastly, who is the one person that you want to cook for, that you haven’t so far?
Art Smith: No one makes me nervous! I only get nervous cooking for my own personal parties at home. I’m a huge perfectionist and I want to see lots of food!