Chicago chef and restaurateur Art Smith has been around food his entire life. He grew up on a farm in the small town of Jasper, Fla., where he learned about cooking from his mother, grandmothers and Leila Curry, the African-American woman who helped raise him. But he’s come a long way since his days on that farm — today you’re more likely to find him rubbing shoulders with VIPs such as Martha Stewart and Oprah Winfrey. Smith actually served as Winfrey’s personal chef for 10 years and has cooked for several celebrities and heads of state, including Mikhail Baryshnikov, President Barack Obama, and former Florida governors Bob Graham and Jeb Bush. He also is the executive chef and co-owner of Table fifty-two in Chicago, Art and Soul in Washington, D.C., Southern Art and Bourbon Bar in Atlanta and California’s LYFE Kitchen restaurants. In April 2013, Smith spent 10 days in Israel as part of the State Department’s American Chef Corps program where he cooked with Bedouin women and Israeli chefs in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and the West Bank. He also just released his fourth cookbook, Art Smith’s Healthy Comfort: How America’s Favorite Celebrity Chef Got it Together, Lost Weight, and Reclaimed His Health!, in early May 2013.