Weird Food News

First Josh Ozersky, now Art Smith: Will whoring out nuptials to corporate sponsors become a trend?

About a month ago, TIME columnist Josh Ozersky scored some major d-bag points when he wrote a piece in which he threw conventional wedding catering under the bus to wax poetic on the chefs who provided food at his own special day -- while conveniently forgetting to mention the fact that those chefs supplied the goods for free. The move raised a lot of questions about disclosure in journalism, and whether it's ethical to accept freebies in exchange for press.

Celebrity-chef Art Smith, who once worked as a personal chef for Oprah and now owns Washington D.C.'s Art and Soul, didn't want to encounter the same flack, so he took whoring out his influence for giveaways to an entirely new level: He sent fliers to firms all over the country offering the opportunity to sponsor his wedding in the form of money and gifts for the 350-person guest list.

Smith will marry his long-time partner, Jesus Salguerio, in our nation's capitol city in August. The couple has some influential friends -- the guest list includes Oprah Winfrey, the Bidens, and the Obamas -- but it is uncertain whether those people will be in attendance, since they have yet to RSVP.

We were all upset about the state of the world (what has it come to when people are exploiting true love for commercial purposes?), but then we heard Smith is donating a substantial portion of the wedding-won proceeds to Common Threads, a charity Smith founded to educate low-income children on nutrition by teaching them how to cook.

And if you want to participate in the madness, you can make a donation to the wedding, too -- through the Common Threads website. Hey, $20,000 gets you four tickets to the event, which promises to be the "most visible gay wedding of the year," featuring a Nike-sponsored run, a BBQ lunch and a mystery celebrity DJ.

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Laura Shunk was Westword's restaurant critic from 2010 to 2012; she's also been food editor at the Village Voice and a dining columnist in Beijing. Her toughest assignment had her drinking ten martinis and eating ten Caesar salads over the course of 48 hours. She still drinks martinis, but remains lukewarm on Caesar salads.
Contact: Laura Shunk