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The latest parlor game among local foodies is guessing who President-elect Barack Obama will tap as his White House chef. The main name being tossed around is Chicagoan Art Smith, Oprah Winfrey’s former personal chef who recently opened Art and Soul on Capitol Hill. The Post‘s Tom Sietsema caught up with Smith this week to put the question to him directly. An excerpt:
Best known for having served as the personal chef for Oprah Winfrey for 10 years, Smith has already cooked several times for the future first family, who lives a few streets away from him in Chicago’s Hyde Park. (“They like delicious, healthy food,” reports the diplomatic chef.) On election night, Smith prepared a private dinner for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and about 150 Democratic stalwarts at Art and Soul. Earlier in his career, he was interviewed by the Reagan administration for the top cooking job. “I was way too young back then,” says Smith, age 48.
The chef currently commutes between Chicago, his home base, and Washington. Would he be up for cooking for Obama and kin? “I’m happy my name is even in the circle,” says Smith, who shows off his bipartisan nature by casually mentioning having had lunch recently with Doro Bush Koch, the current president’s sister.
Who would you like to see cooking for Obama’s state dinners?