Chef Curtis Stone on Masterchef Australia, and running two restaurants while appearing on TV

Curtis Stone has lived in at least three cities for prolonged periods of time.

Now living in Los Angeles, he’s still got the Australian accent that’s become familiar to viewers — first of the cooking and travel shows Stone started off hosting on TLC, and now Masterchef Australia’s devotees. Says Stone, “It’s been funny you know, I’ve had different relationships with both sides of [cooking and being on television] at different times. There’s been moments where there’s love, there’s craft, there’s cooking and working at restaurants, and you can’t get enough of it, and there’s other moments in my career where I’ve totally had enough and I want to get [one aspect of it] done with.”

Stone isn’t a celebrity who’s given up on cooking, and says “it’s a constant battle” when asked how he maintains a balance between running two restaurants and managing his television schedule. After all, he owns and manages two California-based eateries — Maude and Gwen. The former serves up “a seasonal menu inspired by the world’s leading wine regions”, while the latter includes a butcher shop alongside upscale dining.

Curtis Stone

Curtis Stone

Like most chefs, he’s quick to ascribe some of his success and his ability to manage multiple commitments to his team. He elaborates, “I’m very, very lucky, I get to do the travel, I get to rely on the people back at home, so yeah, I’m constantly walking around a hotel parking lot, on the phone with someone back in Los Angeles to troubleshoot something or the other. I’m pretty hands on I guess.” This hands on temperament is what has endeared him to audiences of Masterchef Australia, where he’s quick to give constructive feedback, like the rest of the judges on the panel.

Stone, after all, is no stranger to the pressures of the kitchen, having worked under Marco Pierre White, the enfant terrible of the British food world, and the youngest chef to get three Michelin stars. When asked which of the three cities (Melbourne, where he started his career; London, where he worked with Pierre White; or Los Angeles, where he lives now) he likes most and what draws him to a city, he’s put on the spot. Stone says that each city served their purpose for a certain era of his life. “Look I loved living in London, I think it’s my favourite place and it probably had something to do with the fact that I was 22, or 20-30, and you know it was a pretty special time in life,” he says, before explaining that, “I’m a family man now,” and he’s enjoying the next chapter of life, which has seen Stone move to LA.  That said, he does admit, “My mother will be very happy if we moved back [to Melbourne] for sure,” but there’s no plans to do so at the moment.

No conversation with Stone would be complete without asking him about the upcoming season of Masterchef Australia, which has finished airing down under. The season is going to be aired in India soon and Stone elaborates, “I think the amazing thing about Masterchef Australia is how encouraging the contestants are of one another. You know, everybody cares for each other.” When pressed for details about his time on the show, Stone says, “There’s a meat-centric challenge,” before going on to explain how he has a butcher shop, and so helps the contestants learn how to break down a piece of beef. He’s also cooking in at least one other episode of the show, though he doesn’t want to spill the beans on that yet.

No interview would be complete without asking Stone about any plans to visit India. He admits to having been to India before, and has mentioned that he’d like to come back with his family — his wife and two sons. He says, “I’ve only been able to scratch the surface, and I’d love to discover more of the country.” There’s sure to be a legion of fan waiting when he does make the trip.

Masterchef Australia will be returning to Star World on 10 September, with episodes airing on weekdays at 9 pm.

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Updated Date: Aug 20, 2018 09:55 AM

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