Art Smith is one of several male chefs and food pros who have reached middle age, found themselves unhappy with their weight and health, and achieved big changes through diet that did not keep them from the foods they loved (Mark Bittman and Peter Kaminsky are two others). In Smith's case, there was a mighty weight loss: more than 100 pounds.
Here the ebullient Smith, restaurant owner and former private chef for Oprah, has produced an amiable, personal book of healthy recipes—some Southern-inflected, some global. There's a delicious, chewy seven-grain griddle bread served with goat cheese and red onion; there's a creamy sweet potato salad with a tangy, startling dressing of lemon and lime; there's a simple plate of seared scallops with fresh, minty pea sauce. The book's a little plain in design and style, the photography a little tired, but the writing has zip, and the recipes deliver on the comfort promise.