Thursday, August 30, 2012

ATC Interview with Art Smith - Continued

ATC:  This is Laura Kluvo from All Top Chef and I'm on the phone with Master Chef Art Smith.  Hi Art.

AS:  Hi Laura, how are you?

ATC:  I'm fine but I have kind of a broken heart....

AS:  Ah, thank you, I know I was sorry to leave.

ATC:  Art, first, please share your weight-loss secrets.

AS:  Well, during the first season of Top Chef Masters, I was not feeling well and I discovered that I had diabetes and I knew I had to make some changes.

First - eat clean.  For instance if you want orange juice, eat an orange.  Eat whole clean foods.  You really can't eat processed foods.  Also, I exercise an hour a day.  I like to listen to music and to dance on the treadmill.  I have run two marathons...I can't believe I did that.  Two marathons in three weeks....

For breakfast I have the "Art Start."  Oatmeal, Greek yogurt and and egg white omelet.  I eat this every day.  Even on set, I brought the ingredients with me and prepared it every morning.  I also went running in the desert.

ATC:  Which was your favorite challenge this season?

AS:  Well of course it is easy to say, the one that I won - the tepanyaki grill.  That was a lot of fun.  But I also enjoyed the aphrodisiac challenge.  Dita von Teese was amazing.

ATC:  What went wrong with your wedding cake?

AS:  Oh the wedding cake...  You know, it was the transportation and the time lag mostly.  It was like the leaning tower of Pisa.  I assembled it in the cooler at the restaurant and then by the time it was served it was just falling over.  Thank goodness I saved the top...

I want to say that just two weeks ago I had the opportunity to make the president's birthday cake.  And what did I make? - the pineapple upside-down cake and it turned out beautifully.  I mean I was sweating a little.  It was heavy and I was presenting it thinking, "Oh please don't fall over," but it was delicious.

ATC:  Tell us about your restaurants.

Honey.  We have five restaurants.  Right now I'm at Art & Soul in Washington DC, a soulful southern restaurant just steps away from the Capitol.

Table Fifty-Two is my signature restaurant in Chicago.

We also have Southern Art and Bourbon Bar in Atlanta, which just got named on of the seven top hotel restaurants in America, which I am so excited about, and there is LYFE Kitchen in Palo Alto...which is a healthy, quick-serve concept.  We are opening a second one in Culver City.  We have Joanne's with the Lady Gaga family in New York.

I'm opening soon in San Antonio Texas - another hotel project and also in West Hollywood.

I'm telling you something - fried chicken will travel.

I'm excited, we are working on a national concept... I tell you Lorena Garcia and I - the love has not stopped.  We are planning the ultimate pop-up in the ultimate location as we speak...

ATC:  Are you serious?!?!?

AS:  Just put your thinking cap on and think about what would be the highly visible location in the next few days...

ATC:  The Democratic National Convention????

AS:  I didn't hear you....

ATC:  It can't be a secret, please tell us a little more....

AS:  Lorena and I are like sisters...  You know she is Venezuelan like my husband Jesus.  We want to bring Common Threads to Venezuela...

So many of the other chefs are so...

ATC:  So serious?

AS:  So serious.  I mean I think it's important to be serious about your food, but if you aren't having fun, then you need to get into another business..And Lorena and I just laughed and had so much fun.

ATC:  Okay.. so you and Lorena... pop-up...

AS:  Yes, we are working on a very public pop-up and then we will be working on several others.  Please watch out on twitter.   We are very excited...

ATC:  Tell us about your charity.

AS:  My charity is Common Threads.  

After school you know a lot of children don't have enough to do and this program uses cooking as a way to teach children how to prepare food, how to eat well, and most importantly, how to work together.  These are all important life skills.  Just those skills are enough to get you through.

We started with fifteen kids and now we have 7000.   We have programs in Miami, LA, Washington DC, Chicago.  We have eighteen locations and we are growing.  Shows like Top Chef Masters have enabled us to expand and it is very exciting to see how many kids watch cooking shows and have developed a real love of cooking as a result of Top Chef.

ATC:  Did you know Lorena before arriving at the show?

AS:  No!  It's hard to believe because she has become like a sister.

ATC:  Have you tried the cantina bowl at Taco Bell?

AS:  No, but if Lorena has touched it, it is magic, I'm sure.

ATC:  Chef Art, we are almost out of time, is there anything else you would like to say to your fans?

AS:  Most importantly I want to say a big big thank you.... you know I read all of the sweet comments from everyone and on Facebook.  I appreciate all of the love.  Thank you for laughing when I wore that teeny weeny green Speedo, and I have received so many warm wishes from fans who recognize me and who visit me at the restaurants and who are following my weight loss.  I have never felt so loved.  There is nothing like being greeted by a fan who says, "I have enjoyed watching you on the show."  Thank you people like the Magical Elves and Bravo and especially to the fans.

I'm getting ready to do a really great event with the Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton.  She has the idea of using chefs in diplomacy.  I truly believe that most of the world is hungry and if we just feed people we will have a lot less problems.

When all else fails, remember that a simple, delicious meal, made with love always helps.

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