Art Smith and Lorena Garcia forged their friendship on Top Chef Masters, and the duo has been talking about doing some sort of pop-up venture together. Art, always one looking to make a splash with buzz and exposure, knew they needed to pick the right venue, and with the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, a light bulb went off, and the unofficially named Chick-a-Boom-Boom was formed.
"Lorena and I, we get along so well and enjoy each other -- we became friends from the show, and one of the hardest things about cooking in the kitchen is getting along, so we knew we had something special," Art tells The Dish about his new kitchen confidant.
The dynamic duo will be taking over Crave Dessert Bar in Charlotte tonight (Wednesday, Sept. 5) from 10pm on, giving convention-goers a chance to enjoy Bill Clinton's speech, and then get some post-rally nourishment.
Art, who has cooked for President Barack Obama in the past during their Chicago days, says once the idea came to fruition, it was fairly easy to assemble. "I called my friends with the President's campaign office, and said I had this idea I wanted to do ... Lorena had this idea of combining Venezuelan with my soul food, so that's what we're doing, and we're calling it Chick-a-Boom-Boom."
When asked if the name was a bit of a back-handed jab at Chick-Fil-A, a company that Art has railed against for their opposition to gay marriage, Art wasn't shy at all ... not that he ever is, really. "Oh you bet it is," he said with a laugh, noting that his and Lorena's Chick "is sexier, more delicious and a hell of a lot kinder."
"We looked at the polls and one of the things where the president is really ahead of Governor Romney is that he's very loved in Latin America and he's very loved in the LGBT community. So now you've got sassy and sexy together with Lorena and I."
Lorena will be cooking up arepas and other treats, while Art will be doling out his infamous fried chicken as well as shrimp and grits along with some other tasty treats. Art hopes to "have a line from the convention to the front door," but really in the end, he's got bigger aspirations than just serving people good grub.
"What's great about this situation is we're able to bring all that fun that people have enjoyed weekly on Top Chef Masters to the political arena. To think, 'You know what? It might just help.' I've always been amazed what food can do, and it might just help with the re-election of the president," he said.
In the Charlotte area? Hit up Chick-a-Boom-Boom Wednesday night at Crave Dessert Bar: 500 West 5th Street, #120, Charlotte, NC. It's a first-come, first-served scenario, so get there early before the 10pm opening!