Mr. Food at the Seminole Casino on Christmas Eve

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When the Godfather of quick 'n easy cooking tells you to say "Ooh it's so good," you abide. So when Art Ginsburg - Mr. Food himself - instructed me to do just that, I got red in the cheeks, and followed orders.

Apparently, it's not uncommon for him to ask people this. Every year during Sweet Dreams at the Seminole Casino Coconut Creek, he gets a kick out of hearing fans impersonate his trademark line. This year will be no different, as Ginsburg will continue his tradition, making his 4th appearance at the holiday affair on Friday, Dec. 24.

Besides mocking him to his face, Ginsburg encourages fan to stop by for some affection.

"I hope they come down, get hugs, and have fun," he says. "People who love food, love love."

Before Ginsburg makes his appearance on Christmas Eve, Charlie got to sit down and talk about real quick 'n easy cookers and joints around town he just can't get enough of.

Clean Plate Charlie: This is your fourth appearance at Sweet Dreams. You've been doing it since its inception. Why do you continue to come back every year?

Art Ginsburg: The casino cares about people. They take care of you. Not to mention, we get to have the most magnificent desserts. On top of that, I get to touch people. It's the most diverse crowd ever.

You've been in South Florida 26 years. You have endless options on where you could live, so why did you choose here?

To me, South Florida is paradise. Sometimes travel varies with appearances and events, but I'm always happy to come back.

You do a lot of cooking, but where do you go to eat around town during those times you don't feel like making a meal?

There are so many places in South Florida that have great food. For seafood, I really like Joe's Stone Crab in Miami and The Aruba Café in Fort Lauderdale has some of the best crab cakes. I also like Pizza Time in Coral Springs and Anthony's Coal Fired Pizza, too. Of course, everything at Jaxson's Ice Cream Parlor is great.

You were one of the founding chefs for quick 'n easy cooking. Nowadays, it's practically expected. To you, what chefs have taken the "quick 'n easy" route well?

When I started out, "quick 'n easy" cooking was practically unheard of. I always claim that chefs cook for other chefs. I cook for America. Rachael Ray is one of the people who do it right. Sandra Lee and Paula Deen do great, too, but Rachael is one of my favorite people in the business. She gets it.


See Art Ginsburg this Friday, Dec. 24, at Sweet Dreams 2010 at the Seminole Casino Coconut Creek.

Follow Clean Plate Charlie on Twitter: @CleanPlateBPB
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