by Sophie Gayot
If Aussie Curtis Stone has become famous in the U.S. through the 81 episodes of TLC’s “Take Home Chef” TV show, he is at his roots a REAL chef. His passion and love for food started when he was just four in the kitchen of his grandmother, Maude.
At 18, he becomes a professional chef at the Savoy Hotel in Melbourne. After touring the gastronomic countries that are France, Italy and Spain to perfect his culinary education, he ended up in London with none other than the extravagant Marco Pierre White at three venues: Café Royal; Mirabelle where Curtis was the sous-chef; and Quo Vadis as the head chef. Talk about a learning experience, especially since I know how nice and courteous Curtis is!
Then came Los Angeles, where he has been residing for a while now, although he travels intensely to film more TV shows, cook at major festivals and events, and work on his cookbooks. Since he is such a charmer, he has been asked to open restaurants in many places in the world. But his first restaurant had to be where he could be “hands-on,” as Stone says.
So no choice: it had to be somewhere around the City of Angels. And another constraint was the space. He wanted a small venue so he and his team could take great and special care of the happy few diners inside. Stone has cooked at my house — yes, ladies! — and I can assure you that once he is in cooking mode, he is in cooking mode. He won’t be distracted and is very serious.
And now we have it: Maude, a less than 30-seat restaurant in Beverly Hills! Opening in January 2014, the menu will be changing on a monthly basis composed with fresh and seasonal ingredients from Southern California, in a six-to-eight course dégustation.
If you can not take Stone home to cook, go where he will be cooking. I am pretty sure that once Maude is open, my phone will ring and I will hear, “I know you know Curtis. Can you, PLEASE, get me a reservation?”