Chicago Chef Art Smith Plans New York Venture and Possible White House Gig

David Bouley and Art Smith at last night's dinner.
David Bouley and Art Smith at last night’s dinner. Photo: Patricia Willis

At dinner with Chicago chef and recent Top Chef judge Art Smith last night, we learned that the James Beard Award winner is taking notes from Charlie Trotter and plans to open his own New York restaurant. The meal, a “secret supper” launch of Santa Margherita’s new Chianti Classico wine, involved being whisked away by car to an undisclosed location. It turned out to be David Bouley’s test kitchen, so we were safe. “I think probably in the next year or so we’ll come to New York with a restaurant,” Smith said. “I’d love something that’s not about waiting four months to get into.”

And what of the rumors that Gael Greene started about Smith cooking in a President Obama White House? “I think anyone would be honored if they were asked; I’m just very happy to know that I know him,” said Smith, playing coy. Smith has long cooked for VIPs, including Oprah Winfrey and former governor of Florida Bob Graham. And with his new restaurant Art and Soul opening on Capitol Hill in a couple months, the commute would be convenient. “I’m going to be his neighbor,” Smith said. “If he needs anything I’ll be right there.” —Michael Alan Connelly