- Associated Press - Saturday, January 19, 2013

WASHINGTON (AP) - Some of Washington’s top chefs are coming together to salute the president ahead of the inauguration, in part because of the first family’s influence on the culture around food.

Chicago-based Chef Art Smith is opening his Capitol Hill restaurant Art and Soul for a late-night Chefs Ball on Saturday night. Seven celebrity chefs teamed up for the charity event to prepare some delicious bites for a crowd of more than 500 people.

Smith was Oprah Winfrey’s personal chef for years and also competed on TV’s “Top Chef Masters.” He says the Obamas, more than any other first family, care about where food comes from and healthy eating for all Americans.

Smith says the first lady’s White House garden was an important symbol to inspire the nation about eating fresh food.