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Art Smith began his career with two internships at The Greenbrier Resort before being selected to attend the prestigious Walt Disney Magic Kingdom College Program. Following graduation, Art worked at the Florida Governor’s Mansion where he worked as executive chef for Governor Bob Graham, now a U.S. senator. He continued to cook for families around the world, including other well-known politicians and celebrities.
After traveling extensively through Europe and Africa as a family chef, Art took a position as chef on the American European Express Train. Once settled in Chicago, he began teaching at Williams Sonoma and later served as a special event chef for Martha Stewart Living Magazine. In 1997, he began a 10-year-long position of personal chef to Oprah Winfrey and Stedman Graham. He currently acts as the specialty chef for Oprah’s biggest events. In the summer of 2007, Art launched a fine dining restaurant in Chicago called “Table,” which serves handmade, organic foods gathered from some of the best farms in the Midwest.
Art 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. Art received the prestigious 2001 Gourmand World Cookbook Award for “Best Family and Children’s Cookbook” for his second cookbook, Kitchen Life: Real Food for Real Families, a National and New York Times Bestseller.
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, including “The Today Show” and “Good Day Live” and serves as a regular tasting judge on Food Network’s “Iron Chef America.”
Very involved in the community, Art established Common Threads in 2003, a nonprofit organization based on his passionate belief that families all share an innate desire to care for each other, regardless of culture, race or geographic location. Common Threads embodies Art’s mission to foster a familial environment where children can learn to value each other and discover universal understanding and mutual acceptance. The program serves more than 1,000 children at seven locations around Chicago and recently expanded into the Oprah Winfrey Boys & Girls Club of Kosciusko, Mississippi. In January 2007, Chicago Magazine named Art “Chicagoan of the Year” for his work with Common Threads and, in May 2007, the James Beard Foundation honored Art with its annual Humanitarian Award. He also serves on the board of directors of “Kids Café,” a nutrition program for children in Minneapolis.