Wesley Smoot’s ‘Home-O-Erotic Cookbook’ — going from beefcake to just desserts
ARNOLD WAYNE JONES | Executive Editor
Wesley Smoot has a passion for publishing. And a passion for food. And he’s a gay man, so also a passion for hot, half-naked guys. The question was: How could he explore all three? The answer was: Weslo’s Home-O-Erotic Cookbook.
“I’ve had the idea for a couple of years,” Smoot says. “I put out [an art photography coffee table] book before this with a photographer, and I designed a lot of the concepts and art work. But it didn’t get past a small Austin circle. But this is the book I wanted to do.”
The cookbook combines sexy boudoir photography (with culinary themes) and legit, chef-designed recipes, going from brunch to sides to entrees and even cocktails. In short, it’s a faboo dinner party sandwiched between hardcovers.
But it wasn’t all erotic fun. A book this detailed and exhaustive required tons of work. Until last year, Smoot was living in Austin, and culled many of his models from that area. But the casting was slow-going.
“Austin bars don’t have all these boy dancers,” Smoot grins. “If you’re doing a recipe for cakes, you think ‘big ass.’ So I wanted a variety [of models].”
When he moved to Dallas last spring to move in with his boyfriend, a whole universe of sexy men of different body types opened up. All told, they shot 75 guys for the book, which went on sale last November. (The local launch party was held at Flower Reign in the gayborhood. “We served the stuffed mushrooms from the book and they went fast!” Smoot says.)
Getting the right photographer, and the right venues for shooting, was a different chore.
“I wanted a gay photographer, but the one I selected ended up being a straight guy — and he was great at what he did,” Smoot says. “We started shooting in March, on my birthday — we shot four guys on one night.”
Locales were another problem. Smoot reserved space in a commercial kitchen studio for some of the shots, and scheduled it for late so that no one else in the studio would wonder why half-naked men were walking around. But there were some people who just wouldn’t leave. Eventually, Smoot just said “screw it,” and began shooting. They did get some side-eye, but marshaled ahead. (Smoot’s Uptown condo served as the set for several of the recipes as well.)
But this wasn’t just a peek-a-boo book; Smoot wanted serious cuisine features. Sure, it contains headings like “Foreplay” (appetizers) and “All the Way” (entrees), and recipes have names like “New York Stripper Steak” and “Bottoms Up Pineapple Cake,” but every dish is a tried-and-true delight.
“I commissioned a chef to help me develop the recipes,” Smoot says. “I wanted some things to be tongue-in-cheek, like with the ‘gingers bears’ and ‘cream puffs.’ But while it’s sexually charged, it’s tastefully done. My partner Gary and I cooked most of them ourselves [for the shoots] … though one of the salmon dishes looked hard as fuck to make, so we just laid out all the ingredients!”
“I am really excited about putting out additional volumes and developing an app,” he says. “And we have started a publishing company working on other titles.” Next up: A book about hypocrisy among the right wing of American politics.
Smoot could probably use a stiff drink when producing that one. Fortunately, there are plenty of cocktail recipes to choose from.
Available at Flower Reign and Amazon.com. And check out InstantTea’s Cocktail Friday post for drink ideas from Weslo’s Home-O-Erotic Cookbook, and look online and in Dallas Voice for occasional food recipes as well.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition February 5, 2016.