What Makes Curtis Stone a Celebrity Chef?
Ever since Top Chef Masters came back into our lives a lot of people have been asking who this sexy, blond guy with an Australian accent is. I got the chance to chat with the new Post Great Grains (whole grain cereal) spokesperson, Curtis Stone, and tried to find out what exactly qualifies him for the title of “celebrity chef.”
Endless Simmer: You’ve taken the U.S. food scene by storm: Celebrity Apprentice, product endorsements and now Top Chef Masters. How did you get here?
Curtis Stone: It’s been a crazy ride, I remember coming over to do a show for TLC called Take Home Chef and we ended up doing an enormous amount of episodes for it. A little bit of Groundhog Day but still a fun show to do. NBC have been really great to me. I’ve worked on a couple of their shows and it all seemed to come together at the same time. We did America’s Next Great Restaurant almost 12 months ago, and then they asked me to do Masters. It’s been a lot of fun.
You made a name for yourself working in London. How do the English and American restaurant scenes differ from Australia?
So different. I like to think of London as an incredible city, more like New York in terms of gastronomy. The standard is really high, very high end, but there are also a lot of terrible restaurants in London. Australia is probably more influenced by Asia. There’s a lot of Asian people who live in Australia which means the influence through the cuisine and culture is more Asian than European. In the states, it’s diverse as some parts of Europe. We all speak the same language in America but we certainly have this vastly different culture and cuisines.
I’m going to be opening a restaurant later this year in LA, probably the W. Hollywood area but I haven’t quite decided yet. I’m looking at sites at the moment, I’m sure you can appreciate it’s a pretty long process and one that takes quite a bit of thought. Something I want to do that’s pretty manageable in a smaller more intimate restaurant rather than a huge eatery.
Why did you choose to partner with Post Great Grains?
We have epidemic proportions of obesity and crazy amounts of diabetes in our culture at the moment. Convenience and processed foods have crept in more and more. Fast foods became really powerful. I think it’s nice to try and educate people that processed foods are not necessarily the best way to go. Great Grains has this amazing range of whole grain cereals that they combine with fruits and nuts. When you’re talking about breakfast there are a couple of ways to do it, depending on how much time you’ve got. It would be great to make an omelet from whole eggs and use spinach. Maybe you can do that a couple of times a week but the reality is we live busy lifestyles. With cereal like Great Grains, it’s a balanced meal.
What’s it like being the new host of Top Chef Masters?
It’s been really fun. I’m working with some incredible chefs and getting to eat beautiful food episode after episode. I’m eating a dozen courses a day on the show. Personally, it’s been really exciting for me because I’m sitting at the critics table, instead of having to guess how critics look at my food. I get to sit there and watch them analyze others’ food and it gives you a real insight into that. I feel my job as a chef is to defend the chefs positions as I sit at the table and comment on the food.
Would you ever compete on Top Chef?
They asked me for the first season but unfortunately I was out of the country for the first week of the production. I was very keen to do it. I think as a chef we’ve all got big egos and we think we’re great. As soon as you get asked to compete against other chefs you’re like, “Absolutely.” Now watching it from the other side, giving them 12 minutes to create a dish, I might not be so quick to jump at the chance because it’s really an unbelievable challenge.
(Photo: Post Great Grains)