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Art Smith to host TLC show on comfort food

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In his turn on Bravo's Top Chef Masters, Art Smith proved he's more than comfortable in front of the camera. He emerged the darling of the set, never afraid to shed a few tears or share a few hugs.

Now comes word the effusive chef and owner of Table Fifty-Two in the Gold Coast is getting his own show on TLC -- and the topic is one that seems to fit Smith like a glove.

"Craving Comfort" will explore the "obsessions, triumphs and secrets behind some of America's favorite comfort foods," according to a release. The show, slated to debut late next year, has Smith traveling across the country seeking out renditions, and stories, of apple pie, fried chicken and more.

TLC couldn't have picked a better host. Smith, who's on the road now who just returned from a week of shooting, tells us the show came about exactly because of his Top Chef Masters performance. "Honey, it wasn't about winning, it was about being memorable," he says.

And now we have an excuse to run one of our favorite recipes in recent memory: Smith's goat cheese biscuits. These are a snap to put together, and they're homey, crusty and delicious. Comfort, indeed.

Update: A TLC rep tells us the foods to be covered in the series are apple pie, donuts, chocolate, burgers, fried chicken, mac 'n' cheese and breakfast grub. And the crew is planning a Chicago stop. Mmmm.

A bit more:
"I said I wouldn't be able to go back home if we didn't have [a Chicago stop]," Smith says.

"It all happened so strangely," Smith says. In July, he was in Los Angeles to see his newborn godson and got a call from TLC, asking if he could drop by their offices to say hello. "It was literally 'We just wanted to meet you, we liked you on 'Top Chef Masters.' "

A month passed, and then Smith got another call from TLC, this time with a formal offer for a show.

Smith hopes to develop the show so that it features not only mom-and-pop restaurants dishing up comfort food classics, but also home cooks. "To me, food without a story is not that interesting," he says. "I wanted to search out stuff that wasn't overly produced but also that, when I taste it, it's like, 'Wow.' "

Ironically, though the show is all about grub that can do damage to the waistline, Smith says he's shed nearly 70 pounds in about three months -- doing sensible things like taking a walk after a big meal -- due to concerns about his elevated blood sugar level.

"Chefs are notorious for not taking care of themselves and eating properly," he says."The secret to a healthier life is taking care of yourself. You've got responsible drinking. Well, honey, you've got responsible eating."

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Janet Rausa Fuller

Sun-Times Food editor Janet Rausa Fuller is always thinking about her next meal.

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This page contains a single entry by Janet Rausa Fuller published on November 23, 2009 10:29 AM.

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