The Special Treat Art Smith Recommends At His Disney Restaurant

From a sit-down meal at Cinderella's Royal Table to a frozen Dole Whip at Aloha Isle, Disney restaurants have something to offer pretty much any palette, young or old — especially if renowned chef Art Smith has anything to say about it.

Art Smith served as Oprah Winfrey's personal chef for 10 years, and is currently the executive chef and co-owner of six different restaurants and two nonprofits. Smith was also named Humanitarian of the Year by the James Beard Foundation in 2007. You might recognize the chef from episodes of the cooking shows "Top Chef," "Top Chef Masters," and "Iron Chef America" — or, perhaps you've seen him around at his Disney World restaurant Homecoming: Florida Kitchen and Southern Shine. Homecoming opened in Summer 2016 in Disney Springs, with a menu featuring Southern culinary staples like shrimp and grits, sawmill gravy, and Smith's signature Mockingbird Cake (which has even earned a spot as a James Beard Foundation feature recipe). 

Smith's a Florida native himself, which has served as inspiration behind the menu he built for his Southern showcase. "Each dish has a little Florida twist and makes guests feel like they're on the back porch with me for every meal," Smith told the Disney Parks Blog. But, of all the Southern-Floridian fusion dishes on his restaurant's vast menu, Smith recommends one treat above the rest.

Let them eat cake — all 12 layers of it

Dessert first, anyone? Art Smith's Disney eatery features a towering 12-layer chocolate cake the chef once prepared for George H. W. Bush — and it's the chef's top recommendation at Homecoming: Florida Kitchen and Southern Shine, via Orlando Weekly. This delicacy might have been made as a special occasion for the former president, but Disney-goers will be able to get their hands on a slice of the treat as part of the restaurant's daily menu offerings. Talk about having your cake and eating it, too!

For spirited amusement park sippers, Smith also recommends the restaurant's classic moonshine. Adventurous palettes might try the drink a la the chef's serving suggestion: mixed with Florida orange juice or iced tea and garnished with house-grown mint.

Florida dining goes far beyond just a cocktail in the Keys. The state is home to some of the best steakhouses in the country. In fact, this year, Florida finally got its spot in the U.S. Michelin Guide. Smith knows Florida's culinary prowess, and he's been serving it to Disney patrons since 2016. "Walt Disney World is in the Sunshine State and they need to taste Florida when they visit," Smith said, via Orlando Weekly. "I want to showcase my Florida: oak trees, Spanish moss, the Suwannee River, cool crystal-clear springs, fried chicken, chicken and dumplings, a mess of greens, every field pea known to Southerndom, lots of barbecue, and endless sides."