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, hebecomes 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!
There were many events during the Third Annual Los Angeles Food & Wine Festival. It was not possible to attend of all them, so choices needed to be made. When I saw that Curtis Stone was hosting Lexus Live on Grand on Saturday, I did not hesitate to trade a quiet evening at home for a giant food and wine party with the Walt Disney Concert Hall as a backdrop.
What better way to experience a cookbook than to cook with the author himself? Since it is summer and we all enjoy the outdoors, celebrity chef Curtis Stone put on his apron last week to show us some of his barbecue recipes.
From his latest release, Relaxed Cooking with Curtis Stone, we enjoyed the baby-back ribs. I am sure it was due to the barbecue sauce, both sweet and sour (page 192); it was so good I used the leftover the next day on chicken, and vegetables. Stone suggested seasoning lobster with a white sauce, lemon and parsley before putting it on the grill (page 183).
For a light, sweet finish, he had prepared lemon curd tarts topped with fresh raspberries (page 250). He likes to tell the story that lemon curd is one of the first things his mum taught him to make.
There were so many chefs and wineries that I didn’t have the chance to talk with everyone, even though I was there for over four hours. I started my tour with John Cuevas from Muse at Montage Beverly Hills, who prepared a salad of local watermelon, marinated green beans, feta and anchovy. I tasted Curtis Stone’s chicken liver parfait after waiting in line behind a crowd of fans getting his autograph (some even had Stone tattoo their arms!). Much later in the evening I ended my tour with chef Warren Schwartz of Westside Tavern (our current Los Angeles Review of the Week). Unfortunately I didn’t get to try his grilled hanger steak with brown butter béarnaise because it was too late in the evening.