The Hearty Boys' Bio

The Hearty Boys, Dan Smith and Steve McDonagh, are nationally recognized television hosts, trend-setting caterers, dynamic restaurateurs, and esteemed cookbook authors with little more than "accidental food expertise." In 2005, they earned the respect and accreditation of the food industry when they won the first season of Food Network's hit series Food Network Star. This led to their successful Food Network series, Party Line with the Hearty Boys. The Hearty Boys went on to open HB: A Hearty Boys Spot, one of Chicago's leading restaurants, as well as author a well-received cookbook titled Talk With Your Mouth Full, The Hearty Boys Cookbook (Stewart, Tabori and Chang). Talk With Your Mouth Full was released in October 2007 and is now in its second printing.


The Hearty Boys believe, first and foremost, that entertaining should be fun, for both guests and host. Dan and Steve's philosophy centers around taking the anxiety out of cooking for company by sharing their completely accessible — but still impressive — recipes, stories of successes and failures, and of course the little black book of tricks culled from working in the trenches.


A fortuitous combination of a large ethnic family, trying to make ends meet as actor/waiters in New York City, and a deep and lasting love of food created the DNA of the Hearty Boys food philosophy. The mystery series The Hardy Boys was the inspiration and namesake for a café and sandwich shop that opened in the resort town of Bethel, Maine, in the mid-'90s. A catering business soon followed, and after honing the fine art of food preparation and presention, Dan brought The Hearty Boys catering business to Chicago.


What started off in 1999 as a catering business from an 8'x8' apartment kitchen has grown in multiple directions. In 2003, The Cafe at Hearty Boys opened in Chicago's popular Lakeview neighborhood. This new enterprise also found The Hearty Boys offering popular cooking classes and private dinners in the cafe's second-floor space. In 2005, The Hearty Boys' story evolved once more when they opened their new restaurant, HB: A Hearty Boys Spot. Lauded by Chicago Magazine as one of the city's top 10 hot spots, the restaurant has been an enormous success, and many of its recipes are found in their cookbook. Their newest venture, HBTV, is an interactive on-camera cooking class, along the lines of "cooking karaoke." It is the only one of its type in the U.S.


The Hearty Boys have spread their vision of accessibile entertaining through multiple seasons of Food Network's Party Line with The Hearty Boys, Kathy Griffin's My Life on the D List, Fine Living Network's Your Reality Checked, Girls Night Out and Q on the Move. In addition they have had numerous appearances on CBS' The Early Show, were regular contributors to NBC's In The Loop and appeared on regional morning shows across the country. Their recipes and insider tricks of the trade have been featured through webcasts, satellite media tours and radio. Print includes features in Life magazine, The New Yorker, The New York Times, Chicago Magazine, Glamour, Real Simple, Woman's Day, Crains and a host of other national publications. Metrosource Magazine was quoted as saying, "Steve McDonagh and Dan Smith are poised to become a cottage industry in the mold of Emeril Lagasse, Bobby Flay or Mario Batali."


Partners in life as well as business, Dan Smith and Steve McDonagh reside in Chicago with their son Nate.

Most Popular Recipes

All Recipes From The Hearty Boys

Chicken and Sausage Stew with Oven Roasted Potatoes

Salmon Wellington

Beer Braised Corned Beef with Red Potatoes and Carrots

Roasted Corn on the Cob with Cilantro Lime Butter

Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies

Corn and White Bean Maque Choux

Coriander Lime Grilled Chicken Legs

Moroccan Olive Flatbread

Chesapeake Tartar Sauce

Chocolate Creme Fraiche Pot

Chocolate Ginger Dipping Sauce

Pepper Encrusted Rack of Lamb

Maple Brined Turkey

Mashed Maple Bourbon Sweet Potatoes

Mac and Cheese Skewers

Pigs in a Blanket with Curried "Ketchup"

Peppered Rosemary Oat Crackers

Parsley Grits

Potato Latkes with Cranberry Jam


Chardonnay Poached Salmon with Dill Dijon Whipped Cream

Chilled Melon Soup

Cumin Crab Canapes

Crunchy Chicken Nuggets with Green Onion Honey Dip

Pork Mole in Tortilla Cups

Honey Roasted Parsnip Bisque

Cardamom Shortcake with Maple Berries