Young and Hungry

Ass To Mouth: Art Smith Likes It, But Would You Eat Donkey?

Art Smith, owner of Capitol Hill's Art and Soul restaurant and former personal chef to celebrity talk show host Oprah Winfrey, has drawn the ire of at least one donkey lover with his comments about the surprising deliciousness of the four-legged mammal.

On page 115 of the latest issue of National Geographic Traveler in the section titled "Cravings," which is not available online, Smith tells the following story under the headline "Szechuan Surprise":

"After visiting and meditating at the famed Lama Temple in Beijing, we walked down the incense-heavy road and came upon a little place where we had this amazing Szechuan shredded beef. We enjoyed it so much we had it again at another restaurant where it was called Spicy Ass Meat. This was alarming, so I asked he server, 'Ass meat?' And he said, 'Like donkey!' Well, we still loved this dish and I'd go back for it."

His remarks have prompted the owner of Double Dot Ranch and Donkey Resort in Texas* to issue a fiery retort on YouTube. [EDITOR'S NOTE: The link is messed up but you can search for it under the title, "A man who eats donkeys."]

Would you eat a donkey?

*EDITOR'S NOTE: A prior version of this blog post erroneously identified the location of the Double Dot Ranch and Donkey Resort as Alaska. It is located in Texas. The author, confused by the word Alaska appearing in the email address of the resort's owner, regrets the error.

Photo by Stefan/Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

  • Marisa Birns (@marisabirns)

    No, I wouldn't. I suppose if I lived somewhere where food was scarce, I would be reduced to eating unfortunate things. But I would really try not to.

  • J

    Nice headline

  • Luke

    Best headline ever?

  • richards

    thanks for the info , answered my questions, thanks.

  • Val NC

    Many more than just one donkey lover! Donkeys are misunderstood. They are very intelligent and affectionate. Art Smith is the ass.

  • GrammieGoose

    Let Chef Smith spend an hour or so in the company of living donkeys and he'll never again want to eat one.

  • GrammieGoose
  • mary ann moorhouse

    Bad endorsement Chef Smith...really bad endorsement.

  • Lee Fifield

    The Double Dot Ranch & Donkey Resort is located in Kerrville, TX., not Alaska.
    I hope Oprah and Martha Stewart, (among other famous people) as Chef Art Smith's clients, who he boasts he works or worked for, who both own donkeys at their farms, now realize Chef Art Smith is touting eating donkey meat. The donkey, the most mentioned animal in the bible, the donkey a kind and gentle creature, smart and loving should not be promoted as food in National Geographic Traveler, or any other publication or by any American. I sure hope does not have all my email blocked again, all of a sudden, because I am speaking up to save donkeys lives. Please folks, give the donks a break, they give so much and ask for so little.

  • Lee Fifield

    Thank you to Chris Shott for supporting donkeys, and supporting the movement to not stand by and let anyone promote or condone eating donkey meat. My heartfelt thanks sir, to you or anyone in America who stands up for the simple donkey.
    Life is short, show your ass!

  • Keith B.

    Most people eat cows, pigs, so what.

  • Ad Lok

    We have enough protein sources in this country without resorting to pets. What next, Cutlet of Cat and Roasted Rover? Never know, might be Chef Art's next creation!

  • Claudia /owner of Rocky Mountain Burro Company

    Chef Art Smith please don't go messin' with us billions of donkey lovers in America ~ It's not good Advertisement for you or Oprah!
    Some of us knows 'Karate'!

  • Jill Grant

    As the proud caretaker of two wonderful donkeys, all I can say is "how dare you Art Smith"!!!! Donkeys are one of the kindest, gentlest creatures the Good Lord put on this earth, and you are advocating eating them!

  • Annette Smith

    We have cows ,pigs and chickens, not to mention fish etc.. as dedicated sourses of food for centuries Why would ANYONE endorse eating what to many many people is a treasured pet? These kind gentle stoic animals could teach this "chef" a lot! Shame!


    Good Gawd! People will eat just anything! NOTHING is safe from our grubby little human fingers. America grows fatter and fatter everyday and is constantly looking for more things to slaughter. We are de-evolving it seems. What a disgrace this guy is to our country! BOO to you Mr. Art Smith. Hope you get lost in the forests someday and get served up yourself as a good source of protein to some hungry tribe.

  • Ad Lok

    Eating the donkey in Beijing, not a bad thing. Enjoying it is even ok. But telling people it is worth the travel, and you'd go back for it in a National magazine is the issue I have. Yes, we do eat mammals in this country, and yes donkey has been eaten in this country and probably still is. But I would expect that such a renowned chef would know what a sensitive issue it is to condone it. Especially when some of his clients own and are very fond of the miniature variety. Think Martha would eat donkey? No!

  • Common Sense

    I am concerned the magazine has editors that failed to comprehend readers would be offended by Smith's statement about eating donkeys.

  • Melinda Lemmon

    I try to eat very little red meat as it is not very good for you. But to purposely eat donkey even in another country and rave about it... well shame on you. Once you were told what it was Chef you should have sent it back. Or maybe ask what your eating to begin with. Wonder how much cat and dog he's ate in those other countries because he never asked what he was eating. As a horse ,donkey, llama, goat owner I would never eat those critters either. My pets are my pets.

  • Common Sense

    Why doesn't National Geographic contact Double Dot Ranch in Kerrville Texas with an offer of a 2 or 3 page spread showing how amazing donkeys are. I think that would be a suitable treaty offering.

  • kfarmlady

    I agree with Common Sense. Excellent idea!

  • GrammieGoose


    Political party enters donkey as mayor candidate
    Posted on October 7, 2011, Friday

    A Bulgarian political party has entered a donkey to run for mayor in the country’s elections.

    The Society for New Bulgaria chose the animal, called Marko, as a candidate for the position in the town of Varna.

    Angel Dyankov, head of the campaign headquarters of the Society for New Bulgaria party, said: “Unlike the other mayor candidates and politicians, the Donkey has a strong character, doesn’t steal, doesn’t lie, and gets work done.”

    He is set to stand for the role of mayor at the October 23 elections.

    (Friends don't let friends eat mayoral candidates.)

  • Rosemary Stinger

    Donkeys, friendly, affectionate, playful and hard working as they are make good food for thought, but, yuuck! not for the table.

  • BigSlick

    Back in the 70s, there was a song called "Timothy" about people trapped after a mining accident/cave-in who were forced by starvation to dine on their companion, a mule named Timothy. Here's your Semantics lesson: The song was grisly, but the meal was gristly.

  • Karen V. Luce

    Well I sure would have to agree with Double Dot Ranch and Donkey Resort. Eating donkeys is disgusting. Shooting them is also an outrage. Neither one should occur in America.

  • Fritz

    The best side dish when eating ass: tossed salad.