Traditional recipes

Around the Kitchen in 3 Questions: Chef Curtis Stone

Around the Kitchen in 3 Questions: Chef Curtis Stone

Chef Stone discusses the influence of his travels on his creative process

Chef Stone is also a host on Top Chef Masters.

The Daily Meal caught up with Australian celebrity chef Curtis Stone to learn about how his travels have influenced his work. Stone is the host of Top Chef Mastersand will be at The Venetian and Palazzo in Las Vegas on July 26 and 27 as part of their three-month long Carnevale celebration to share recipes from his latest cookbook. For more information about Stone’s appearance and Carnevale, visit their website.

The Daily Meal: What has been your most inspirational food experience while traveling?
Curtis Stone:
I was in Buenos Aires maybe a year and a half ago and they had these things call parrillas, which is how they BBQ their meat. The way they build these parrillas is incredible and is taking me in a whole different direction for product development. They cook solely over the coal, and the temperature can change no matter how high or low you are placing the meat. The food is incredible and I ate my brains out while I was there.

TDM: What’s your favorite kitchen souvenir from your travels?
CS:
Went to Japan recently to place called SEKI where they make knives and we met with samurai sword-makers and planning to create a line of knives. I was lucky enough to be gifted an original knife. I take it with me everywhere.

TDM: If you could eat your way through one country, which one would it be and why?
Italy. I love pasta and pizza. I would get fat in the meantime. It's the country I would eat my way through.


Stone, Curtis

Curtis Stone is the host for Top Chef Masters (Season 3).

Curtis is a master chef, best-selling author, TV personality, and entrepreneur. When it comes to cooking, his philosophy is to cook as Mother Nature intended: buy locally-produced seasonal and organic ingredients, keep recipes simple, and allow the food to speak for itself.

Born in Melbourne, Australia, Curtis left Victoria University in 1994 at the age of 18 to follow his passion for food. His strong will and love for quality cuisine led to a job cooking at The Savoy Hotel. Once a qualified chef, Curtis began travelling throughout Europe with his best mate. Three months into his travels Curtis arrived in London broke and in need of a job. Determined to fulfil his dream of working in the world’s best restaurants, he walked into legendary Chef Marco Pierre White’s kitchen and offered to work for free in exchange for the opportunity to work alongside the three-star Michelin genius. After proving his worth, Curtis was brought on staff and remained at The Grill Room at Café Royal for two years.

From Marco’s Grill Room, Curtis advanced to Sous Chef at the Mirabelle where he contributed to the restaurant’s highly revered Mirabelle Cookbook. Curtis remained at the Mirabelle for two years, during which time it was awarded a prestigious Michelin Star. Curtis was then handed the reigns to Marco Pierre’s flagship restaurant, Quo Vadis, where he received critical acclaim and remained until 2003 when he made the leap to television. His first show Surfing The Menu ran for three seasons in 26 countries.

In 2006 Curtis made his debut in the United States via his own hit series Take Home Chef for the Discovery Network’s TLC. The series has been a huge international success being viewed in over 70 countries around the world. More recently, Curtis signed an exclusive deal with America’s major network NBC. As the networks resident chef, Curtis can be seen on NBC’s hit series The Biggest Loser teaching contestants how to make good nutritional choices and prepare healthy meals. He is also a regular contributor on America’s number one morning program The Today Show. Twice monthly Curtis provides viewers with tips and delicious recipes to try at home. In addition, Curtis can also be seen as a judge on NBC’s America’s Next Great Restaurant.

Curtis was the first chef to have an eponymous product line sold at the prestigious retailer Williams-Sonoma in the USA. His line of sleek and eco-friendly kitchen solutions is currently sold globally. The functional and stunning products have been praised in a variety of publications including The New York Times and O: The Oprah Magazine. The complete range of Kitchen Solutions is available on his website.


White truffles are his favorite ingredient

Tasting everything — whether dishes are a personal favorite or not — is part of being a chef, but everyone has those ingredients they really love using. Stone told Travel + Leisure that for as long as he's been in the kitchen, he's been drawn to the same favorite: white truffles. "They totally move you," he said. "I have an instinctual attraction to them. From the very first time I smelled them . I was working in one of Marco Pierre White's restaurants and I can remember the truffle man coming in, opening the box, and that was it."

When it comes to secret weapons, though, Stone says his is extra-virgin olive oil. He calls it "liquid gold" and says it adds a texture that's just as important as the taste.


Books

I know you’ll fall for the Chocolate Caramel Kisses that I used to eat in the schoolyard all of those years ago, and I’m excited to share some recipes that I’ve cooked time and again in my restaurants.

This is my sixth cookbook. Six! That seriously gives me the chills but I’ve gotta say it’s my sixth and my hands down favourite of the lot. I've pulled together this collection because I’ve always been a huge believer that good food and a good life are deeply and intrinsically intertwined. For me it’s not just the eating of food (though I'll be the first to admit I’m a greedy little monster), but I also really savour the entire experience that encircles food. That’s anything from planting and plucking up veggies in my garden with the Californian sun on my back to the pride that comes along with pulling a perfectly golden brown roast chicken out of the oven. It’s also cooking breakfast with my three-year-old son, Hudson ‘Hudzini,’ who has more fun mucking around in the kitchen with me than he does playing a game of trains.

The recipes that make up this cookbook are the ones I cook at home there’s the green juice that Hud and I make most mornings with freshly picked fruits and veggies, grilled spicy lemongrass chicken wings for a Saturday afternoon snack hanging in the backyard and those “bad for me but tastes so flipping good” divine chocolate brownies that I eat way too often—plus 127 more that I hope you’ll love to make, eat and share with the special people in your life.


Sticks and Stone

Curtis Stone claims he's never worked a day in his life. That's not to say the 39-year-old chef, restaurateur, on-air personality and cookbook author hasn't sweated through countless kitchen shifts, TV shows and book manuscripts he just knows how lucky he is to do just that for a living.

Most Americans probably know Stone from his stints on Top Chef Masters, America's Next Great Restaurant and Celebrity Apprentice 3 (The Donald gave him a fourth-place finish). But after getting his start in a hotel kitchen at age 18, the Melbourne-raised chef spent the bulk of the next decade under the tutelage of Marco Pierre White, honing his craft on the lines at Michelin-starred London restaurants including Mirabelle, before taking over as head chef at White's Quo Vadis. Like scores of chefs before and since, Stone got hooked on the nightly thrill of service.

"There's nothing more exciting," he says. "You go through your preparation, then as five o'clock starts to approach, you get your coffee, and just before you kick off, there's that little adrenaline rush. The lights dim, the music comes on, the guests start to arrive and you know that you're in it whether you're ready or not."

And then, suddenly, he wasn't in it any more. In the early 2000s, Stone stepped off the line and in front of the camera as host of Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Surfing the Menu and then TLC's Take Home Chef, and spent the next decade building a massive following as a cookbook author and TV chef. It's an enviable position and end goal for plenty of people, but it didn't sit well with him.

"I loved cooking at a high level and being experimental with food," Stone admits. "I guess after a few years, people were starting to ask questions like, 'Is he actually a chef? Can he actually cook?' So I wanted to open a serious restaurant, a tiny little 25-seater with only a tasting menu. I wanted to put together a group who are brilliant at what they do and love that sort of camaraderie like I always had."

And that's pretty much what his year-old Maude restaurant in Los Angeles is, with one major twist: The menu changes every month, and all nine courses center around a single, in-season ingredient. April, for example, is asparagus month.

"To me, seasonality is the most important thing when you're considering what you cook and buy," Stone says. "It's at its cheapest, and it's going to taste better than at any other time of the year. If you're choosing the best ingredients, just need to apply the right cooking technique to it, choose the right thing for the right environment, and you've got a beautiful meal."

If eating and cooking the same ingredient night after night doesn't lead to flavor fatigue for Stone, he says it shouldn't for home chefs either. "You have just a couple of weeks to a few months to be able to really use an ingredient that's in season. Just when you're getting to the point of thinking, Maybe I'm a little sick of peas, you move on to the next thing."

The other meal he never tires of cooking: family dinner. Maintaining that ritual with his wife, actress Lindsay Price, and two young boys is what keeps his life in balance, he says. Stone tries to incorporate his eldest son, Hudson, into the process whenever possible, whether it's taking him to a farm to see where the ingredients come from or having him sit up in the sink at the restaurant or his home test kitchen.

"When you start teaching kids where their food comes from, they gain a real understanding as to what's going into their food, and they don't go to that place of 'I don't like that,'" he says.

One dish that never stands a chance of that reaction is his grilled piri piri chicken skewers with slaw (see the recipe). While cooking in London, where there's a large Portuguese community, Stone fell in love with the dish and has since adapted it for a quick weeknight meal in his new cookbook, Good Food, Good Life ($35).

"You can pull it together in a flash. It's got a real zing and spiciness to it. You've got a real crunch from the slaw. It's something that I promise you once you've made once at home, you'll keep coming back to," he says.

The boneless, skinless chicken thighs get an overnight bath in a combo of chiles and vinegar, then slide onto skewers. Whether they're cooked on a grill pan or over an outdoor fire, Stone assures, "You can still achieve that deep caramelization, so you're going to naturally draw the sugars of whatever it is you're cooking to the surface . . . that sort of burnt char-y delicious sweetness."

He laughs, "It makes me salivate just thinking about it!" Our mouths are watering, too.


Check out these English Muffin recipes from Curtis Stone and Wolferman’s

As Stone shared, he created delicious and creative ways to enjoy a classic English Muffin. In some ways, these recipes bring together the best of grandma’s traditions with newer flavor profiles. It is definitely a taste of both worlds.

Award-Winning Chef Curtis Stone Debuts Three New Recipes for Wolferman’s Bakery® Photo provided by Wolferman’s Bakery

The three recipes include:

Mini Brekkie Sandies

While the brekkie might be fun to say, this hearty breakfast will keep everyone fueled till lunch. The mini breakfast sandwich gets a big boost of flavor from a sriracha mayo. The combination of bold flavors and the classic Sourdough is a must try.

Mini Citrus Bostock Bites

Although orange juice might be a common breakfast beverage, this recipe brings the bright and refreshing citrus flavors and transforms them in a new way. Even if you have never had almond frangipane, you will want to try this recipe.

Gwen Smashed Avocado Toast

Who doesn’t love a great avocado toast? That food trend is still going strong. With this recipe, the soft-boiled eggs and shaved radishes turn it into a dish that even the tough guy in your house will want to enjoy. Plus, isn’t everything better with bacon?

These English Muffin recipes are just a few of many food ideas that can be created with Wolferman’s Bakery items. From the first bite to the last crumb, it is time to explore a new breakfast tradition.

And April 19 through April 26, Wolferman’s will be offering 10% off select items with the code MUFFIN. More information can be found online.

What will you cook up in the kitchen? Why not have English Muffin Day celebration turn into a weekly breakfast tradition.


4 ways to master the 2020 kitchen from Chef Curtis Stone

(BPT) – From connectivity to cooktops and the latest gadgets, the ever-progressing kitchen of 2020 provides endless opportunities to simplify life in the home.

Whether cooking for his family, hosting a dinner party or serving up Michelin-starred dishes, Chef Curtis Stone believes in cooking smarter, not harder. Having tested, mastered and embraced many of 2020’s kitchen advancements, Stone shares four ways to master the kitchen this year with maximum flavor and minimum effort.

1. What’s your favorite tool of 2020?

“For quite some time, the thought of bringing technology into the kitchen felt a little out of place for me. However, as someone who is always on the go, connected appliances have really become a time-saving luxury that help me find more time to dedicate to the most important things in life, like my family.

“What I really love about Bosch home appliances is they believe in technology that is simple to use, which is why their Home Connect appliances are at the top of my list of 2020 kitchen necessities. It’s so convenient — I can preheat my wall oven remotely so make-ahead meals are ready for the oven as soon as I get home. I also manage household chores from my smartphone, so I never have to worry about little things like reordering dishwasher detergent tabs or whether I shut off the hood lights — automations like this are kind of a dream.”

2. There are so many different types of cooktopselectric, induction, gas. Which do you recommend?

“At my restaurant, Gwen, we cook all of our meat over a traditional open flame for a straight-from-the-fire essence and perfect char. However, it’s no secret I’m a big fan of newer methodologies like induction cooktops for faster boiling and easy cleanup. From a chef’s perspective, precision, power and efficiency are key to creating flavorful dishes that will keep your guests coming back for more. This is one of the reasons why I love the new Bosch FlameSelect gas cooktop.

“FlameSelect brings the accuracy of induction to the gas cooktop through nine very precise flame levels — from simmering delicate sauces to achieving the perfect sear over high heat — so you never need to guess the intensity of the flame. You just select the flame level needed for your favorite recipe and prepare for great results.”

3. Cooking for a crowd can be overwhelming. What’s your ultimate entertaining secret?

“One of my biggest tips when preparing a meal for a crowd is to keep your station (or kitchen) clean throughout the cooking process — this is a chef standard. Whether it’s a big dinner party or an intimate gathering, cleaning as you go prevents clutter that may get in your way and simplifies post-meal cleanup, which is crucial when you have guests waiting for you and your food.

“I love that I can place my dirty utensils, mixing bowls, and even large pots and pans right into my connected Bosch dishwasher and just carry on cooking while it does the hard work. I’m also able to start or monitor a load remotely and its quiet performance won’t disrupt the party — dishes can be out of sight and out of mind. Winner!”

4. You recently earned a Michelin star for the seasonal dishes you’re serving up at LA-based Maude. What’s your go-to dish for springtime hosting?

“When hosting, I like to cook within the season and keep it simple. Seasonal fruits and vegetables always taste best at their peak and can easily turn a simple dish into something that wows. I always look forward to cooking with asparagus every spring, and after mastering the kitchen, this mouthwatering, herbed steak dinner will be ready to serve before you know it. Enjoy!”


Curtis Stone

Curtis Stone (curtisstone.com) is an internationally known chef, TV host, entrepreneur and New York Times bestselling author. His philosophy to cook as Mother Nature intended inspires Curtis to keep his recipes simple, using local, seasonal and organic ingredients and allowing the food to speak for itself. Curtis is recognized around the globe for his ability to help home cooks find confidence in the kitchen with delicious, doable recipes and easy cooking techniques.

Born in Melbourne, Australia, Curtis first found his passion for food whilst watching his grandmother make her legendary fudge and his mother roast her perfect pork crackling. He quickly learnt to appreciate the beauty of creating -- and eating -- homemade food and cherished the way it brought people together. That early lesson would ultimately become Curtis' ethos and the foundation of his culinary career.

After finishing culinary school, he took a job cooking at the Savoy Hotel in Melbourne before heading to London, where he honed his skills under legendary three-star Michelin genius, Marco Pierre White, at Café Royal, Mirabelle. and the highly revered Quo Vadis.

Curtis opened a multi-functional culinary headquarters in Beverly Hills in January 2014, featuring a test kitchen and his dream, little restaurant, Maude (mauderestaurant.com).

While living in London, Curtis appeared in several UK cooking shows before catching the eye of television producers in Australia. At the age of 27, he became the star of a new cooking series called Surfing the Menu. It was an international hit that led to his first American show, TLC’s Take Home Chef in 2006 -- the same year the blondhaired, blue-eyed young gun was named one of People magazine's Sexiest Men Alive. Curtis broke into US primetime network television with appearances on NBC's Celebrity Apprentice, America's Next Great Restaurant and The Biggest Loser. In 2012, Curtis co-hosted Bravo’s Around the World in 80 Plates and reprised his role as host of the network's popular culinary competition Top Chef Masters, which returned for a fifth season in 2013. In addition to this, Curtis is host of the new edition of the Top Chef franchise, Top Chef Duels, scheduled to air this summer. As a frequent guest since ABC’s The Chew's launch in September 2011, Curtis officially joined the ensemble cast as a regular guest co-host in November 2013.

As the author of five cookbooks, Curtis has shared his culinary know-how with readers around the globe. Surfing the Menu and Surfing the Menu Again (ABC Books 2004, 2005), penned with his friend and fellow Aussie chef Ben O’Donoghue, were followed by Cooking with Curtis (Pavilion 2005), a solo effort that celebrated seasonal fare and brought his chef's expertise down-to-earth for the home cook. Setting out to prove that good food doesn't need to be fussy, Curtis then released Relaxed Cooking with Curtis Stone: Recipes to Put You in My Favorite Mood (Clarkson Potter 2009).

Curtis launched his fifth cookbook, a New York Times best-seller: What's For Dinner?: Recipes for a Busy Life in April 2013 (Ballantine). His sixth cookbook is set for release in April 2015. Curtis also contributes to a variety of food and lifestyle magazines. He is a food columnist for the wildly popular O Magazine, contributing on a bimonthly basis. His debut column was published in the October 2013 issue.

Curtis developed Kitchen Solutions, a line of sleek and functional cookware, in 2007 after spending thousands of hours with home cooks in their own kitchens. The goal is to bring confidence to the kitchen with tools that help make cooking inspired and effortless. The first chef to debut an eponymous product line at Williams-Sonoma, Curtis has expanded the range to include close to 250 items, which in addition to Williams-Sonoma are available at HSN, Bloomingdales, Dillard's, Chef's Catalog, Belk and fine specialty retailers throughout the US, Canada, Mexico, Australia, Singapore and Belgium.

Curtis' restaurant Maude (mauderestaurant.com) is the culmination of all his life and career experiences captured into an intimate setting. Curtis always dreamed of opening his own restaurant so when the perfect space in Beverly Hills became available, he jumped at the chance to make it his own. Curtis' passion project Maude, named after his grandmother, offers a market driven, prix-fixe monthly menu designed to create an intimate chef's table experience for the entire dining room, where every seat is within a comfortable distance to the open kitchen. Each month a single ingredient inspires a menu of nine tasting plates, and this celebrated ingredient is creatively woven, to varying degrees, through each course.

Curtis has fostered long-term relationships with charities around the world, including Feeding America in the US and Cottage by the Sea and Make-A-Wish in Australia. He currently lives in Los Angeles with his wife, actress Lindsay Price, two-year-old son, Hudson, and golden retriever Sully. In his spare time he enjoys hiking, gardening, surfing -- and cooking. For Curtis, cooking always brings fun. "There really is no better gift than a home-cooked meal and enjoying a good laugh around the table."

Cat Cora

Cat Cora

In 2005, Chef Cat Cora made television history by becoming the first and only female Iron Chef on Food Network's Iron Chef America. The mother of four boys has authored three top-selling cookbooks, opened three restaurants in partnerships with Macy’s (CCQ), Walt Disney World Boardwalk Resort (Kouzzina by Cat Cora), and her newest venture, Cat Cora’s Kitchen, which opened in the new Virgin Terminal 2 at San Francisco International in April 2011, as well as launched her own collection of wines, entitled Coranation. In January 2011, Cora launched her first line of cookware with Starfrit, Canada’s leading purveyor of eco-friendly cookware and kitchen gadgets, and introduced her Cat Cora’s Kitchen line of olive oils, vinegar, cooking sauces, and tapenades by Gaea, the leader in Greek specialty food products. Cora released her first children’s book, Suitcase Surprise for Mommy (Dial Books, 2011), a sweet and comforting tool for kids and parents to use when Mom or Dad have to travel, in March 2011. Cora is the co-host for Disney’s Muppets Kitchen with Cat Cora and Hasty Tasty web series, and is currently a contributing food and lifestyle editor for O, The Oprah Magazine. In 2004, Cora, an avid philanthropist and UNICEF spokesperson, founded Chefs For Humanity in response to the tsunami disaster in Indonesia. This not-for-profit organization has partnered with Share Our Strength as well as the World Food Programme to provide nutrition education and hunger relief worldwide.

Curtis Stone

Curtis Stone

Curtis Stone (curtisstone.com) is an internationally known chef, TV host, entrepreneur and New York Times bestselling author. His philosophy to cook as Mother Nature intended inspires Curtis to keep his recipes simple, using local, seasonal and organic ingredients and allowing the food to speak for itself. Curtis is recognized around the globe for his ability to help home cooks find confidence in the kitchen with delicious, doable recipes and easy cooking techniques.

Born in Melbourne, Australia, Curtis first found his passion for food whilst watching his grandmother make her legendary fudge and his mother roast her perfect pork crackling. He quickly learnt to appreciate the beauty of creating -- and eating -- homemade food and cherished the way it brought people together. That early lesson would ultimately become Curtis' ethos and the foundation of his culinary career.

After finishing culinary school, he took a job cooking at the Savoy Hotel in Melbourne before heading to London, where he honed his skills under legendary three-star Michelin genius, Marco Pierre White, at Café Royal, Mirabelle. and the highly revered Quo Vadis.

Curtis opened a multi-functional culinary headquarters in Beverly Hills in January 2014, featuring a test kitchen and his dream, little restaurant, Maude (mauderestaurant.com).

While living in London, Curtis appeared in several UK cooking shows before catching the eye of television producers in Australia. At the age of 27, he became the star of a new cooking series called Surfing the Menu. It was an international hit that led to his first American show, TLC’s Take Home Chef in 2006 -- the same year the blondhaired, blue-eyed young gun was named one of People magazine's Sexiest Men Alive. Curtis broke into US primetime network television with appearances on NBC's Celebrity Apprentice, America's Next Great Restaurant and The Biggest Loser. In 2012, Curtis co-hosted Bravo’s Around the World in 80 Plates and reprised his role as host of the network's popular culinary competition Top Chef Masters, which returned for a fifth season in 2013. In addition to this, Curtis is host of the new edition of the Top Chef franchise, Top Chef Duels, scheduled to air this summer. As a frequent guest since ABC’s The Chew's launch in September 2011, Curtis officially joined the ensemble cast as a regular guest co-host in November 2013.

As the author of five cookbooks, Curtis has shared his culinary know-how with readers around the globe. Surfing the Menu and Surfing the Menu Again (ABC Books 2004, 2005), penned with his friend and fellow Aussie chef Ben O’Donoghue, were followed by Cooking with Curtis (Pavilion 2005), a solo effort that celebrated seasonal fare and brought his chef's expertise down-to-earth for the home cook. Setting out to prove that good food doesn't need to be fussy, Curtis then released Relaxed Cooking with Curtis Stone: Recipes to Put You in My Favorite Mood (Clarkson Potter 2009).

Curtis launched his fifth cookbook, a New York Times best-seller: What's For Dinner?: Recipes for a Busy Life in April 2013 (Ballantine). His sixth cookbook is set for release in April 2015. Curtis also contributes to a variety of food and lifestyle magazines. He is a food columnist for the wildly popular O Magazine, contributing on a bimonthly basis. His debut column was published in the October 2013 issue.

Curtis developed Kitchen Solutions, a line of sleek and functional cookware, in 2007 after spending thousands of hours with home cooks in their own kitchens. The goal is to bring confidence to the kitchen with tools that help make cooking inspired and effortless. The first chef to debut an eponymous product line at Williams-Sonoma, Curtis has expanded the range to include close to 250 items, which in addition to Williams-Sonoma are available at HSN, Bloomingdales, Dillard's, Chef's Catalog, Belk and fine specialty retailers throughout the US, Canada, Mexico, Australia, Singapore and Belgium.

Curtis' restaurant Maude (mauderestaurant.com) is the culmination of all his life and career experiences captured into an intimate setting. Curtis always dreamed of opening his own restaurant so when the perfect space in Beverly Hills became available, he jumped at the chance to make it his own. Curtis' passion project Maude, named after his grandmother, offers a market driven, prix-fixe monthly menu designed to create an intimate chef's table experience for the entire dining room, where every seat is within a comfortable distance to the open kitchen. Each month a single ingredient inspires a menu of nine tasting plates, and this celebrated ingredient is creatively woven, to varying degrees, through each course.

Curtis has fostered long-term relationships with charities around the world, including Feeding America in the US and Cottage by the Sea and Make-A-Wish in Australia. He currently lives in Los Angeles with his wife, actress Lindsay Price, two-year-old son, Hudson, and golden retriever Sully. In his spare time he enjoys hiking, gardening, surfing -- and cooking. For Curtis, cooking always brings fun. "There really is no better gift than a home-cooked meal and enjoying a good laugh around the table."


8 Recipes from Curtis Stone's What's For Dinner?

"Here's my healthy version of spaghetti with clams (spaghetti alle vongole). Whole-wheat pasta provides a lot of beneficial dietary fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, and limiting the amount of pasta and increasing the vegetables means the dish not only tastes great, but looks great too. With fresh spinach and the unexpected crunch and peppery flavor of rad­ishes, this isn't your run-of-the-mill pasta with clam sauce." &mdash Curtis Stone

"The aromas of bacon, onion, and red pepper for this frittata make my mouth water. It reminds me of my mum's tradition of occasionally serving breakfast for dinner. I serve it often for brunch or, cooled and cut into bite-size pieces, as a tapas-style nibble." &mdash Curtis Stone

"This stir-fry is Cantonese comfort food, with familiar flavors and ingredients put together in a delicious way that takes just a few minutes to cook. I usually call everyone to the table as I'm heating the pan, and by the time they all sit down, I'm ready to dish up dinner." &mdash Curtis Stone

"When making vinaigrette, think outside of the salad bowl: It is also a great sauce for fish and other light proteins. There's no cooking involved, and the variations are practically endless. And there is no law that says lemon is the only citrus to serve with fish &mdash orange makes a guest appearance here to great effect. The halibut and spinach cook in just a few minutes, so you'll have dinner ready in about the time it takes to set the table." &mdash Curtis Stone

"I had never had a Chinese chicken salad until I came to the States. I'm just going to say it out loud &mdash I love it. The secret to this dish is the dressing: sweet hoisin, spicy Sriracha, salty soy, rich sesame oil, with the fresh flavor of ginger punching through it all. It's so good that I use it as the chicken marinade as well." &mdash Curtis Stone

"This down-home New Orleans classic of shell-on shrimp in a spicy garlic sauce is quick and delectable. The dish has always been referred to as 'barbecued' even though it's made on the stovetop in a skillet. Cooking the shrimp in the shell helps prevent overcooking and gives extra flavor to the sauce. You get down and dirty devouring these, so provide lemon wedges and paper towels for easy at-table cleanup. Have crusty bread on hand to sop up the buttery sauce." &mdash Curtis Stone

"When you have gorgeous fresh food in the house, it begs to be cooked. This dish grew out of a trip to a summer farmers' market, where I couldn't resist the yellow wax beans and red radishes. (You can make it with just green beans when yellow beans aren't around.) Poaching is a wonderful way to cook salmon without any added fat. I buy wild salmon whenever I can, as I prefer its flavor to the farm-raised kind. This is another meal that I like to serve when entertaining, because you can make the components ahead of time. Steamed baby potatoes would be a good accompaniment." &mdash Curtis Stone

"Strawberries and rhubarb are the epitome of spring cooking, and I love them equally. This compote &mdash which can be served hot, warm, or chilled &mdash shows how well they work together. Olive oil gives the cake a moist, pound-cake-like texture, and lemon, orange, and rosemary pro­vide fragrant flavors and aromas. Use a fruity extra-virgin olive oil for the best results." &mdash Curtis Stone


Chef Curtis Stone: Exclusive Interview

Best-selling books, a private line of cookware and utensils and playing host on Top Chef Masters, may bog down a lot of people, but with a passion for food and cooking, Curtis doesn’t seem to be slowing down.

Last month, Chef Curtis opened a new restaurant in Beverly Hills. Maude, named after the lady behind his culinary inspirations a.k.a his grandma, offers a monthly set menu inspired by seasonal ingredients.

With just 25 seats in a tiny, intimate restaurant space, it’s definitely one of the hottest spots in town for dinner.

Curtis loves quick, simple and easy dinners. His love for seasonal and fresh ingredients dictates his menu at home and in his restaurant….my kind of cooking.

For those interested in booking a spot at Maude: February’s secret ingredient was citrus, March is artichoke and April is Peas! YUM!

I sat down with my fellow Melbournian foodie and sussed out what’s next on his busy agenda.

Q and A with Curtis Stone

Your mum and your gran are huge influences in your life, what’s the best kitchen advice they have given you?
They’ve always told me to cook what I love, which makes sense, right? You’re gonna be way more excited and passionate about cooking food you love to eat over something you’re not that into. I’m a bit of a greedy little monster and love so many different foods and cuisines so I tend create a huge variety of dishes and drinks from curries, pizzas, roasts, salads, cakes and cocktails, the list goes on…

Fun seems to be your cooking philosophy, how will you pass this to your son, Hudson?
Treating each meal as an event and getting excited about it before it happens is such a cool way to cook and think about food. When I cook with Hud, we really do take the time to think about what we’re doing so we can make it special and make a little occasion of it. We talk about surprising mum, we make a point of going out to the veggie garden to pick fruits and veggies for juices, we talk about all of the delicious things we are going to make for breakfast, we set the table together etc. Life is so crazy, busy for us all these days so now more so than ever, it’s really important to make the time to sit down to a meal with friends and family and just regroup and enjoy each other’s company. I try to share this philosophy with Hudson and make every meal as fun as it can be.

What’s your earliest memory in the kitchen?
My first food memory involves a stick of butter and a box of raisins. I remember sitting on the kitchen bench and literally wiping down the raisin on the stick of butter and popping my finger in my mouth. My mom walked up and said, “What on earth are you doing?” I was only three or four, it is interesting because even at a young age I would try to combine flavours, and think about it – raisins and butter, what a delicious combination. Obviously not a combination you would want to eat on a regular basis though!

Your new restaurant Maude is a menu-less restaurant with lots of surprises, how do you come up with changing menus?
We have a market driven, prix-fixe menu that changes monthly with the seasons so we’re constantly developing and testing recipes. Each month we pick a highly seasonal hero ingredient and thread this ingredient through each of the tasting plates and I actually think the development process becomes a lot easier when you have a focus such as this. I regularly sit down with a couple of my chefs and we all bring our ideas to the table and learn from each other. I love the challenge of constantly changing things up it really pushes my chefs and I to be super creative and keeps us on our toes.

Rethink Chicken Into your Picnic Pecking Order

For people who don’t enjoy cooking, what can you share, (tips or ideas) to help them enjoy cooking as much as you do?
There’s so many ways to make cooking enjoyable and fun and I guess you’ve just got to find something that works for you, e.g. invite a friend around, open up a bottle of wine and try cooking a dish together that you’ve had your eye on for a while. I also think if you surround yourself with people who love food and love to cook then they’ll rub off on you too!

Any secrets in the kitchen to make cooking easier for all the dads out there?
Since my boy, Hud, has come along, I’ve been dubbed the one-armed chef, especially when he was a little younger. I would have him in one arm and did everything else with the other – chopping, stirring, whisking, you name it! I think if you keep in mind that homemade meals just taste better and are better for you than store bought meals then this is all the motivation you need. And remember lads if you cook then you might just get yourself out of cleaning up. Hahaha!

Can we expect anything new to come out from your Kitchen Solutions line?
I’ve been working on a set of Japanese knives for the last couple of years. I’m super excited about them I’ve got one of the best manufacturers in Japan working on them with me and I’m hoping to bring the knives to market within the next 12 months. Cheers.

Michelle Tchea is a 4-time bestselling author. Her books include, Building a Perfect Meal, My Little SoHo Kitchen, Signature Dishes (Australia's Best) and Chefs Collective. Her work can be found in other leading luxury travel and food magazines including Travel+Leisure Asia, SMILE, NUVO Magazine and The Telegraph