He's funny and flirty and, yes, there's about 100 pounds less of him these days. But that doesn't make gay chef Art Smith any less sexy. A fan favorite from Bravo's first season of Top Chef Masters (largely just for being himself), Smith is back on the show's fourth season (premiering Wednesday) along with some tense competition.
The Advocate: The first episode and the interstitials make you seem rather flirty. Is that how you are in real life?
Art Smith: Is chef Art Smith flirty? Am I a card carrying gay man? [Laughs] Yes I am a very flirty person — my whole family is flirty, where do you think I learned it from? I love people and I have a soft spot for Latinos. My husband, Jesus, can bat his baby blues at you and you will do anything. [Laughs] Well, let me fry up some chicken for you and you will want to move away with me.
What’s your best food memory?
Well, for everybody it’s what Mom made, but my husband of 13 years. Artist Jesus Salgueiro, eyes like emeralds, but a sting like a bee? LOL He made me the most delicious aprea's, "Venezuelan Corn Cakes," that he handmade and grilled and filled with delicious egg and cheese for breakfast recently in our recent 100-degree weather. Chef Art forgot to air condition his fancy kitchen, but his sweet husband being a tropical boy himself made me a delicious tropical breakfast that made his husband as hot as it was outside. Amore.
This isn’t your first go at Top Chef Masters. Does that give you an advantage?
No, it’s not my first ride on the pony, but my first was more about my coming out on Top Chef Masters 1. I mean, I was completely open about my sexuality on that first show. I’ve never been in the closet, but let’s say like most gay men I have many closets, and not all of them were open. I am grateful that Top Chef Masters 1 and 4 gave me an opportunity to be me. A funny American gay chef. You will see a lot of me and a lot of funny and you will see a lot of crying. People love it when I cry, and they won't be disappointed. Whether it’s my first or second, it’s a tough competition and I cook with some of the brightest culinary stars in America.