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.

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Marc Murphy Bio

Ask Chef Marc Murphy where he grew up and he'll fire off a list of cosmopolitan destinations — Milan, Paris, Villefranche, Washington, D.C., Rome and Genoa — "and that's before I turned 12," he’ll explain. This dizzying list of hometowns served as an excellent education in French and Italian cuisine, though as a teenager this was not his first passion. When the reality hit that he didn't have the funds to become a professional racecar driver, Marc followed his brother to the Institute of Culinary Education. After graduation he apprenticed at restaurants in France and Italy before returning to New York, where he landed a job as a line cook at Terrance Brennan's Prix Fixe. He stayed there for almost two years, working his way through every station in the kitchen and forging a professional bond with Brennan’s Sous Chefs Joseph Fortunato and David Pasternak. Eager to return to Europe, Marc flew to Paris and landed a position at the one-star Le Miraville, where he stayed for one-and-a-half years. Afterward, he staged at the famed Louis XV in Monte Carlo, where Executive Chef Alain Ducasse was so impressed with Marc's skills that he personally made arrangements for him to work with Sylvain Portay at Le Cirque once he returned to the States. Marc still considers Portay to be his greatest teacher. "Sylvain was above all concerned with coaxing out the most-vibrant, interesting flavors any ingredient had to offer, yet he insisted on minimal manipulation," he recalls. Following Le Cirque, Fortunato tapped him to work as a sous chef at Layla, Drew Nieporent's Middle Eastern fantasy in Tribeca, where he met consultant Georges Masraff. When Masraff joined forces to open Cellar in the Sky at Windows on the World, he recruited Marc to serve as executive chef. After receiving critical acclaim, including a two-star review from The New York Times, Marc headed uptown to serve as executive chef of La Fourchette, where NYT critic Ruth Reichl awarded him another glowing two-star review, citing his "open desire to transform food [so that] in his hands, even a simple green salad ... looks like a ruffled hat in a painting by Renoir." In March 2004 Marc opened his first solo enterprise with Landmarc [Tribeca], which won rave reviews both for its eclectic French and Italian menu as well as its highly untraditional wine list. Following its success, Marc opened Ditch Plains in the West Village in 2006 serving casual, beach-style cuisine such as lobster rolls, fish tacos and the infamous ditch dog, as well as other comfort food favorites. In 2007 Marc was given the opportunity to open another Landmarc restaurant in the pres­tigious Time Warner Center, where he brought his bistro-style cuisine midtown. In October 2013 Marc opened Kingside at the Viceroy New York hotel on New York's iconic West 57th Street, serving his interpretation of New American cuisine. Marc's restaurants now fall under the Benchmarc Restaurants by Marc Murphy name, where he acts as executive chef and owner. In addition to the restaurants, Marc also heads up the company's catering division, Benchmarc Events by Marc Murphy, where his signature style of accessible contemporary cuisine transcends the boundaries of what is offered in his restaurant locations. Today Marc's involvement in the industry moves beyond the restaurants as well, with a regular role as a judge on Food Network's top-rated hit Chopped as well as appearances on other hit series such as Guy's Grocery Games, Beat Bobby Flay and Worst Cooks in America. Marc also appears on The Rachael Ray Show and The Today Show, among others. He is the president of the Manhattan chapter of the New York State Restaurant Association, a board member of City Harvest, Culintro and Passport NYC at the 92nd Street Y Culinary Camp, as well as a member of the Food + Finance High School's Industry Advisory Board, a member of the Leadership Council for Share our Strength's No Kid Hungry campaign and the national spokesperson for Share Our Strength's Dine Out For No Kid Hungry. In 2012 Marc joined the U.S. Department of State's Diplomatic Culinary Partnership, where he takes part in public diplomacy programs that engage foreign audiences abroad as well as those visiting the United States. Marc's debut cookbook, Season with Authority: Confident Home Cooking, was released by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in April 2015.

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