At the table with: Curtis Stone

Australian chef, author, brand, and television personality Curtis Stone almost needs no introduction. He trained under chef Marco Pierre White, he has cooked for Oprah and Ellen, and he is also the face of Australian supermarket giant Coles.

With such a portfolio and now based in the U.S, Stone has also hosted and appeared in  several cooking shows over there including Top Chef Masters, The Celebrity Apprentice, and Around the World in 80 Plates.

But the main focus for Stone, aside from being a father of two and a husband to Hollywood actress Lindsay Price, is his Los Angeles-based restaurant, Maude.

At the table with: Curtis Stone

Who is your inspiration?
Mother Nature. If I’m ever searching for a new recipe or dinner idea, I just need to take a walk in my veggie garden and see the season’s bounty.

What’s currently in your pantry?
I always have a collection of dried pulses. I love soaking my own and enjoy working out during the day what to do with them. I’m a total chocoholic so there’s Valrhona or Lindt chocolate for eating and cooking. I collect olive oil and I have it from all over the place – Spain, Italy, Australia of course, and California. I’ve got a crazy amount of spices so I put magnets on the back of jars and stick them on a big stainless steel board. I love curries but lately I’ve been playing a lot more with spicy Mexican dishes. 

What’s in your fridge?
There’s always a range of good cheeses. I’ve never met a decent cheese I haven’t liked. It’s a key to being a good entertainer; you can always throw a platter together. I feel the same way about charcuterie. We’re lucky in California, we can buy raw milk, which I use to make butter. And we have eggs we get from friends’ chickens.

Best thing to come out of the microwave
Nothing! I don’t have a microwave. I usually reheat food on the stovetop or in the oven, however there are usually no leftovers when I’m around. But trust me, last night’s pizza reheated in the oven is miles ahead of soggy microwaved pizza.

What did you last eat?
I’m writing this in the AM so I actually have a bowl of homemade granola and almond milk with me – and a double shot coffee. I absolutely love granola for its sweet, nutty crunch, and it’s also super handy to throw into a zip lock bag and take on your way.

Where do you like to go for a feed?
I mix it up – like really mix it up. It might be tacos from a food truck one night then I’ll treat myself to a really special dinner another night. I split my time between Australia and LA so I’m never stranded for somewhere great to eat. Right now I’m loving Andrew McConnell’s Super Normal in Melbourne and Brendan Collins’ Birch in Hollywood.

When I’m not cooking, I’m…
Eating! I’ve always been a bit of a greedy little monster – and I still am. On my weekends, which are actually Sunday and Monday when my restaurant Maude is closed, my wife and I like to try out new places or return to old favourites to enjoy a bite together. You can also find me barefoot at the beach. Plus, we have two little guys, Hudson, 3, and Emerson, 6 months, so they also keep us on our toes. Boy, do they keep us on our toes. Case in point, this photo.

Butter, margarine, a mix or neither?
Butter/le beurre. Butter is a chef’s secret weapon. It gives dishes unmistakable creaminess and depth and provides the perfect foundation for so many flavours.

Tools I can’t live without
I’m addicted to buying ridiculously expensive Japanese knives. I’ve gone to Nagoya and met samurai sword makers and the skill, the sharpening, it fascinates me. I’ve got a pressure cooker, which I use a lot, especially for pulses. There’s a hand-crank slicer for charcuterie, which I supposedly bought for the restaurant but it never quite made it there. I have a bit of a vintage kit including an old copper turbotiere. And I love The Workbench, a chopping board I designed. All the compartments make you work so much more efficiently.

Cookbooks I always return to… 
White Heat by Marco Pierre White. It meant a lot to me for a long time, still does. When I first read that book, it really changed something in me as a chef, I guess. You read this book about this crazy man, this intense mad man, who’s a genius chef like no one had ever seen before. I think for some people it scares the shit out of them and for other people it makes you want to pack your bags and runaway and join the circus. And I, of course, was the latter.

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