"Because food brings people together..." - Chef Art Smith
(Chef Art Smith with Markette Smith of DC on Heels)
" ... And no matter where you come from, everyone likes to get together over some simple, down-home cooking," says Chef Art, a world renowned celebrity chef and the former personal chef (for 10 years) to Oprah Winfrey.
And it was a mutual love of food - good, homestyle, delicious and succulent food - that recently brought me together with a new friend at Chef Art's culinary home away-from-home in DC, Art & Soul. And it was there that my new friend and I ordered darn near everything on the menu!
You see, Chef Art is known for his down-home Southern cuisine, which dictates Art & Soul's country chic menu. The savory selection include classics, like Fried Chicken, gravy and mashed potatoes:
And mac n' cheese...
(Pictured above: Macaroni casserole )
Then there's also Chef Art's famous Southern dishes that one usually only finds on their grandmother's kitchen table, like hoe cakes (corn meal pancakes) and Hoppin' John (black eyed peas and rice):
(Pictured above: Spicy shrimp, hoppin' john, micro herb salad, chili-butter sauce)
And then, of course, there was dessert, featuring a miniature sock-it-to-me cake (second from the left):
(Pictured above: Art & Soul Baby Cakes, a favorite of the chef)
OK, so I can imagine what you are thinking right about now: "You ordered all of that in one sitting?!?!" And the answer is YES (and I didn't even get a picture of the cornbread muffins!)
What better way to spend a summer afternoon than indulging in the very cuisine that made Chef Art Smith a culinary super star?
And if one is to have an occasional food frenzy, where pleasing the taste buds trumps worries over waistlines, then shouldn't it be on gourmet American food, rather than junk food or processed concoctions?
As my Southern grandmother Ora Dee (who's made hoecakes for as long as both Chef Art and I have been alive) likes to say, "Sho' nuff!"