Delicious DIRT Gets Up Close & Personal With Chef Art Smith

Chef Art Smith

The executive chef and co-owner of Table Fifty-two + Art and Soul restaurants, Art Smith has received the culinary profession’s highest awards and has cooked for some of the world’s most famous celebrities. In 1997, Smith became the personal, day-to-day chef to Oprah Winfrey, a position that lasted ten years and has made regular television appearances on programs such as Iron Chef America, The Today Show, Nightline, Fox News, Extra, Dr. Oz and Oprah. In 2003 he founded Common Threads, a non-profit organization that teaches children about diversity and tolerance through the world’s great cultures. For his tireless Common Threads leadership, Smith was honored by Chicago magazine as a Chicagoan of the Year in 2007. That same year, the prestigious James Beard Foundation named him Humanitarian of the Year.  All photos courtesy of Kipling Swehla.  CLICK PHOTOS TO ENLARGE

Chef Art Smith on Twitter
Chef Art Smith on Food Mafia
Table Fifty-two

Table Fifty-two on Facebook
Table Fifty-two on Twitter
Table Fifty-two on Food Mafia


Molly Bett Kovler is a social worker turned social media strategist, editor, publicist, blogger and event executor. After graduating with a Master’s from The University of Chicago and working on the Obama ’08 campaign, MBK founded and runs Elevate Your Presence, LLC. EYP is a full service publicity, social media, editorial, management, and event execution firm defining excellence. MBK is highly connected & heavily embedded in the social web.  Join EYP’s exclusive client list to Embrace. Evolve. Elevate – Elevate Your Presence. #DeliciousDIRT

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Delicious DIRT. Art Smith Exclusive

“The Gov. of Florida, taught me that in order to get ahead you had to understand politics and diplomacy. Oprah taught me to honor your word and always give people your best. Life taught me to always have a parachute,” Art Smith. CLICK PHOTOS TO ENLARGE

Deviled Eggs @ Table Fifty-two

Yes, Oprah gave her whole studio audience cars… However, the most meaningful gift she gave Chicago and food nerds across America was opening our eyes to the one and only wonderful Chef Art Smith. The TV star and head chef behind President Obama favorite Table Fifty-two and Art & Soul, (plus future restaurants in California and Atlanta) has a heart made of gold.  What you may NOT know is this fantastic chef has become a recent marathoner and runs a remarkable charity, Common Threads.

None of the above should be surprising to anyone who has met Chef Art Smith.  His Southern roots and upbringing shine not just in his cooking, but also in his overall demeanor.  The way Art treats everyone he meets is with pure kindness. We are sincerely proud to call him our friend.  Art cooks the food we love, the food we crave, and the food we devour!! Even better, he serves it with panache.  We, at Delicious DIRT, adore Chef Art Smith – as a mentor, a chef and a friend. Below, get to know Art Smith, up close and personal. We hope you’ll enjoy reading his interview as much as we loved giving it.

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Delicious DIRT’s Exclusive Interview With Michael Kornick

Wanna get ELEVATED? Now you’re in luck because Delicious DIRT is beginning our series of flavorful interviews exclusives.  We’re getting up close and personal with some of our favorite big shots.  You’ll read it, you’ll watch it, you’ll hear it and if you’re lucky, you might even taste it.  By now you know we love flavorful JUICE as we’re huge food nerds.  Stay tuned as we serve up much Delicious DIRTFOOD MAFIA style!

The DIRT Team could not be more grateful for Chef Michael Kornick.  As you know, MK is executive chef + partner in mk, DMK Burger Bar, Fish Bar and partner in N9NE Group Vegas.  MK is not only a genius conscious chef, he is also a passionate family man who cares deeply about family, friends, dogs, community, politics, giving back, sustainable food / wine  + oh so much more.

A true Chicago man through and through, MK is an interesting and articulate dedicated chef who goes above and beyond to support local sustainable treasures more than most.  His culinary philosophy centers around serving locally produced conscious foods and wines.  Thank you for being you MK! Below, get to know this big shot as we go inside the mind of the man behind some of our all time #favorite meals.

President Obama + Lisa & Michael Kornick @ mk, Photo by Todd Bannor

Did You Know? Juice We LOVE:

**This spring, MK hosted Obama’s kick-off to the 2012 election campaign at mk the restaurant. His resto was chosen to hold the DNC’s first key fund-raising dinner for the 2012 Obama Democratic National Committee campaign.  AMAZE.  At $35,800 a plate, the event sold out at 50 people and served only sustainably produced food and wine.  Kornick told us, “President Obama asked how we’ve been, chatted a bit and kissed Lisa hello.  Truthfully, I thought that was the end for her.”  LOVE it. The Kornicks were avid on the campaign trail in ’08 and told the President, “We’ll be back out on the street to campaign with the kids again this time around.” GO BO!

**MK also sponsored a night at last year’s SOLD OUT 1st Annual Chicago Food Film Festival where he helped serve what you saw on the screen! DMK Burgers for all!  Don’t miss the 2011 NYC + Chi Food Film Fests this fall where you can TASTE WHAT YOU SEE ON THE SCREEN. MK might even bring some Fish Bar action in this time around. You. Never. Know.  Stay tuned…

**Heads up: Toque is Sept 8th.  This important culinary event raises money for Children’s Oncology Services (life changing important organization + past Invest For Kids recipient).  Chef Kornick is the chef chair of Toque which raises funds to send children with cancer to summer camp -> Camp One Step.  Toque’s success  helps children with pediatric cancer to just be kids by sending them to one of their camp.  Get to Toque + give back while enjoying delectable dishes created by Stephanie Izard, Michael Kornick, Mindy Segal, Mark Steuer, Graham Elliot Bowles,  and many more of your favorite Chicago chefs! Other Toque participating chefs include but are not limited to: Erick Williams (MK), Tony Galzin (MK), Chris Pandel (The Bristol), Cleetus Friedman (City Provisions), Frank Brunacci (Sixteen), Ryan Pitts (RL).

Food Mafia Godfathers Michael Kornick + Hubie Greenwald @ Food Mafia Video Shoot, Photo by MBK

Thankfully, Michael Kornick himself was kind enough to let Delicious DIRT inside his heart and mind (BELOW).  And what a pleasure!  CLICK PHOTOS TO ENLARGE

Delicious DIRT (DD): How do you like & dress your Chicago hot dog?
Michael Kornick (MK):
Everything “Chicago Style” = mustard, onions, relish, dill pickle, tomato, sport peppers, celery salt, 9 to 1 natural casing steamed never grilled, poppy-seed bun. 
Where from?
Wiener’s Circle, Gold Coast Dogs and for simple tradition Gene and Judes.

Fried Lemon Rings @ Fish Bar = #DeliciousDIRT, Photo by MBK

DD: How do you like your pizza (thin, thick & what toppings)?  Where From?
: Top 4. Thin only, in Chicago, Great Lake, Piece, Ranaldi’s, Giggios (Evanston) in NYC, John’s on Bleeker, Patsy’s in Harlem, Co. on 23rd and 9th. In L.A. Pizzaria Mozze, In Las Vegas, Nove Italiano and I am almost considering going to Arizona for Pizza Bianco.

MK on set @ Food Mafia Video Shoot, Landmark, Photo by MBK

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Delicious DIRT. Interview

Inside: Potenza Productions, Curtis Duffy, Brandon Baltzley, Michael Kornick, Giuseppe Tentori, D.C. Crenshaw, Chicago Cut, Fish Bar, Jackie Shen, Food Mafia, Elevate Your Presence, Delicious DIRT

You watched it, you loved it, you wanted it. Thanks to Potenza, our Food Mafia launch video is an absolute hit!  We KNOW Ebert would give it 4 stars **** aka 5 stars in the resto world for all you food nerds!  From the first minute we saw Potenza’s clips, we were hooked. The day we began working with them, well, let’s simply say, could not have been better!

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Delicious DIRT. Exclusive Interview

Inside: DIRT Exclusive Part 2 with Eater Chicago’s Ari Bendersky

Finally, Delicious DIRT is bringing you a bit more with one of our favorite food big shots, Ari Bendersky.  This time, the action is a bit more personal… We know you’re already crazy about Ari, but after you read this, you’ll fall even harder.  You’ll learn the hottie behind Eater Chicago is a lover of all things dog, loves love like we do, appreciates beauty in food and has fab taste in movies.  He’s taken… so don’t get your stalker on ladies and gents.  But definitely fasten your seat belts, and tightly. Enjoy the ride.  Um, it’s impossible not to.  For Part 1 with AB, click here.

Ari Bendersky

Delicious DIRT (DD): Name your all time top 12 favorite things?
Ari Bendersky (AB): Not sure these are my 12 faves but it’s a pretty good list: Navy cashmere hoodie from J. Crew; my summers at Camp Chi; spending a semester in Madrid during college; watching the sun rise from Masada in Israel; watching the sun set from our favorite villa in Puerto Vallarta every winter; grilling in the summer; drinking rosé on any patio in the summer; getting my New York magazine each week; Cheddar char dogs with cheddar fries from Michael’s; Spending weekends at my parents pool with my family, my LeMond road bike; my dog, Emma and partner, Drew.

DD: What 7 movies do you love the most?  Could watch over & over?
AB: St. Elmo’s Fire; About Last night; Moulin Rouge; Color Purple; Almost Famous; Pretty Woman; Breakfast Club.

DD: What are the greatest food porn scenes in tv & film in your opinion?
AB: Friends when Joey had to eat all the lasagnas.

DD: How do you start & end each day?
AB: Start: stretch, walk my dog, make tea, have some breakfast and start posting to Eater.  End: Try desperately to read for more than 5-10 minutes before I completely zonk out. Then give my partner a kiss and fall asleep.

DD: Be specific, what for each meal and how often do you dine out?
AB: Breakfast: Sometimes oatmeal with fruit, sometimes eggs, always some Lifeway kefir. Lunch: usually tuna or chicken breast and salad. Dine out about 3x per week.  Usually don’t go out for lunch during the week.

DD: What do you cherish most in your life?
AB: My partner, Drew, and our dog, Emma.

Oh Ari, you are one in a million.  Thank you for letting us inside.

Stay Tuned for a full Delicious DIRT Oscar Event Roundup, Behind the scenes at Public House, Frontier Newbie Niceness, Purple Pig PIG-OUT, Exclusive with Michael Kornick himself, Food Mafia action at N9NE, y mucho mas Delicious DIRT.

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Action with Ari Bendersky, Part 1


Elevate Your Presence is calling all Food Nerds, Chefs, and Cuisine Obsessives. Food Mafia is launching soon. Email us to receive an exclusive invite. Plus, send us your juiciest FOOD PORN and you might even get lucky…

Delicious DIRT. Upcoming

Heads up–>coming soon–>Elevate Your Presence‘s Delicious DIRT covers:

Inside: Frontier, Michael Kornick, Tru, Ari Bendersky, CC SKYE, Brandon Baltzley, Tula, Purple Pig, Food Mafia, Onie Bag

  • Frontier’s opening night – cocktails, oysters and 5 cheese Mac & Cheese– SHINES.

    Frontier's Mac & Cheese DELIGHTFUL BEYOND WORDS

  • Delicious DIRT contributor’s inside JUICE on the Tru experience.  AF’s day in Tru’s kitchen and night in the dining room.
  • Jose Cervante’s Pop Up dinner for his newbie, Tula Restaurante.  Oh and did we mention, hottie Brandon Baltzley cooked up a storm??

Stay tuned for all that and then some including Restaurant Week Juice….

Delicious DIRT. Exclusive Interview

Inside: DIRT Exclusive Part 1 with Eater Chicago’s Ari Bendersky

Wanna get ELEVATED? Now you’re in luck because Delicious DIRT is beginning a new series of interview exclusives.  We’re getting up close and personal with some of our favorite big shots.  You’ll read it, you’ll watch it, you’ll hear it and if you’re lucky, you might even taste it.

By now you know we at Elevate Your Presence love flavorful JUICE as we are huge food nerds, technocrats, fashion junkies, social media junkies and hedonists.  Stay tuned as we serve up mucho Delicious DIRT…. FOOD MAFIA style!

Ever wonder about the man behind the words?  We did.  This time, we’re bringing you the Delicious DIRT on the man whose words inspire us- Eater Chicago’s Ari Bendersky.  We are just fascinated with Ari as he rocks the blogging scene, the cuisine scene and the behind the scenes Chi scene.

Ari Bendersky

Who is the handsome genius behind it all you ask? Below, get to know Ari himself- the  man who isn’t afraid to tell it like is, whose words are a pleasure to read, who brings us breaking food + resto news day in and out, and who has a heart of gold.

Delicous DIRT (DD): How do you like & dress your Chicago hot dog?
Ari (AB):  Much to my dad’s chagrin and despite its having been drilled into my head since I was in the womb, I still like ketchup on my hot dog. Call me a non-Chicagoan but I can’t help it. That said, I love ketchup, mustard (prefer brown mustard if available but will take yellow), pickle and celery salt. That’s it.

DD: Where from?  Top 4.
AB: Michael’s in Highland Park; Huey’s Hot Dogs in Andersonville; Hot Doug’s; Tasty Pup in Des Plaines when I was growing up was the best hot dog, but I think it’s closed now.

DD: How’d you get into food blogging?
: I used to mostly write about music and LGBT-related topics and started my blog,, so I could write more about food and wine, and I would write about places in Chicago as well as wherever I traveled (Puerto Vallarta, London, San Francisco, etc). When I took over as Editor in Chief of UR Chicago magazine, I started doing more restaurant write-ups and reviews. Then Eater happened, first in 2008 and then permanently in 2010.

DD: What’s your favorite part of writing about food & restaurant news?
: I love knowing what’s opening — and closing for that matter — what chefs are up to, where they’re going and what new ingredients and techniques they’re bringing to the table. And it’s a huge treat that I get to eat at so many new places either before they open or when they just open. And then telling people about what’s good and what to avoid.

DD: How do you like your pizza (thin, thick & what toppings). Where from? Top 4.
AB: I prefer thin over thick (thick is just too doughy). I like Michael’s in Uptown; Homemade Pizza Co (whole wheat crust); Coalfire;  and making our own with dough from Whole Foods. Toppings… my go-to is pepperoni with mushroom and chili flakes.

DD: If you were going to die next week, what foods would you NEED to have & from where? AB: Ribs from Myron & Phil; cheddar char dog with cheddar fries with pickles on the side from Michael’s spicy shrimp tempura and spicy scallops roll; Steak Frites from Mon Ami Gabi; and my guiltiest pleasure — kraft mac ‘n’ cheese and cool ranch doritos.

Action with Ari Part 2: To be continued on Delicious DIRT

Reminder: Sit Stay Read event at Benchmark Tuesday 2/15.  See firsthand how bringing dogs into schools ELEVATES life for both kids and animals.

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Next week- Delicious DIRT contributor gets inside JUICE on the Tru experience.  Stay tuned for a day in Tru’s kitchen and complete dining experience

Delicious DIRT Hottie AF @ Tru


Elevate Your Presence is calling all Food Nerds, Chefs, and Cuisine Obsessives. Food Mafia is launching soon.  To receive an exclusive invitation, email us @ Plus, send us your juiciest FOOD PORN and you might even get lucky…

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