Sharing the Bounty: The Platform Is a Cooking Class, but Chef Art Smith's Lessons for At-Risk Youngsters Involve Much More Than Food

By Huso, Deborah R. | Success, May 2010 | Go to article overview

Sharing the Bounty: The Platform Is a Cooking Class, but Chef Art Smith's Lessons for At-Risk Youngsters Involve Much More Than Food


Huso, Deborah R., Success


It was perhaps always Art Smith's destiny to be a chef. Growing up in the small town of Jasper, Fla., he was raised in a family that came from a long line of farmers. "Our family has historically always eaten out of a garden," Smith tells SUCCESS. "That was life--shelling peas, shucking corn. We were always celebrating food in some way."

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Smith especially remembers the early influence of his nanny, Lela Curry, who cared for him and his brother while his parents balanced multiple jobs to make ends meet. Curry brought the influences of African-American and Southern cooking into the home and, "most of our childhood, it seems, was spent on the front porch preparing vegetables from the garden while our parents worked," he recalls.

The importance of a family meal would influence Smith later in life to form his nonprofit group, Common Threads, an organization that teaches global cooking techniques to at-risk kids. The young participants in Common Threads take their newfound skills and appreciation for nutritious, fresh food home to their families, improving their self-esteem and strengthening family bonds. Each year, Common Threads reaches 1,000 kids ages 8 to 12.

Smith developed an early love of fresh, homegrown food, as well as a surprisingly diverse palate for a child. "I credit my mother with developing my taste for food," says the celebrity chef, author and restaurateur who spent a decade cooking for Oprah Winfrey. "My mother would always place some new food on my tongue and say, 'Honey, try this. I know you're going to like it.'"

"My mother taught me to explore and not to be afraid of something different," Smith says. That spirit of exploration and understanding has followed him through his entire career, which took him all over the world, until he ultimately settled down in Chicago, home of his restaurant, Table Fifty-Two. And his appreciation of diversity led him to the idea for Common Threads, which he founded in 2003 as a result of the impact the Sept. 11 attacks had on him.

At the time of the tragedy, Smith was Winfrey's personal chef. Shortly after the terrorist attacks, Winfrey asked him to accompany her to New York City to cook for a victim's family and to see Ground Zero. "It was an experience I'll never forget," Smith says, remembering how, at the time, he wished he could cook for all the victims' families and offer them solace and connectedness through food. "The expressions on the faces of the rescue workers were so tragic," he remembers, "but when I brought them homemade cookies, they smiled and thanked me."

The visit to New York City was life-changing for Smith. "That was about the time I started writing Back to the Table, which looks at how the table is a sacred place," Smith explains. When he wrote the cookbook, he was concerned with the idea of bringing people back to the table to connect with one another over food. The book, which combines Smith's recipes with stories about his family and their food traditions, is a New York Times best-seller that helped Smith and his life partner, Jesus Salgueiro, brainstorm the idea for promoting cultural understanding through food.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

"I felt compelled after seeing Ground Zero to do something," he says. Smith, Salgueiro, and Linda Novick, who is now executive director of Common Threads, came up with the idea of teaching cooking to at-risk kids in Chicago, not only to help encourage nutritious eating from a young age, but to promote cultural understanding by exposing kids to foods from around the globe. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Sharing the Bounty: The Platform Is a Cooking Class, but Chef Art Smith's Lessons for At-Risk Youngsters Involve Much More Than Food
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.