"Some of my earliest and best memories are of my grandmother preparing glorious, fresh dishes, such as braised salmon with fines herbes, and pears poached in red wine," writes executive chef Thomas Smith on the Worthington Inn website.

"Some of my earliest and best memories are of my grandmother preparing glorious, fresh dishes, such as braised salmon with fines herbes, and pears poached in red wine," writes executive chef Thomas Smith on the Worthington Inn website.

After serving in the Air Force, the Pennsylvania native moved to Columbus to pursue his culinary career. But instead of attending a cooking school, Smith decided to learn under the tutelage of some of Columbus' best chefs. Thus it was only after hard work and valuable time spent at Alex's Bistro, Lindey's and Rigsby's that Smith assumed the Worthington Inn's top toque. There, he concentrates on local and organic ingredients to produce his classically influenced, self-described "global cuisine."

Describe a meal you'd make to celebrate spring.

I celebrate springtime in Ohio by preparing my family a Sunday breakfast of an omelet with fresh, local eggs, morels gathered by my father-in-law, asparagus from my Uncle Don's garden, and baby Swiss cheese. I usually serve the omelet with a dandelion salad and a lemon vinaigrette.

What was the best meal you've ever had?

I have had a thousand "best" meals, but they all included these three elements: high-quality seasonal ingredients, good company and plenty of wine.

What would you cook for President Obama if he visited your restaurant?

Budget special, hold the pork, and a side of freedom fries.

What ingredient could you not live without?

Butter.

Are there any foods you won't eat no matter how they're prepared?

Rocky Mountain oysters.

Do you have a "hangover cure" meal?

A spicy Bloody Mary with olives, celery and pickles.

What's your favorite cheese?

Alsatian Muenster.

Do you watch any chef-oriented reality TV shows?

I liked Top Chef until Hosea won. Now I won't watch it.

What might we be surprised to find in your refrigerator right now?

A tub of lard. My wife uses it to make the best pie dough.

If you weren't cheffing, what might you be doing?

Selling Shamwow at county fairs.