Growing up in Australia, Curtis Stone always had good food at his fingertips. His mom and grandfather both grew vegetable gardens and fresh food from the ocean wasn’t far away. His passion for sustainable, seasonal foods comes not only from his upbringing, but also from years of working in some of the world’s best (and toughest) kitchens. I caught up with Stone before his cooking demonstration at the Charlotte Shout Festival in North Carolina. The busy celebrity chef sat down with me to discuss travel, his philosophy on good food, and his upcoming projects.
CURTIS STONE ON SUSTAINABILITY:
Stone began working at the Savoy Hotel in his hometown of Melbourne when he was 18. He eventually made his way to London, where he worked in some of Europe’s finest restaurants, including The Grill Room at Café Royal, Mirabelle, and Quo Vadis.
“I think great chefs always have a passion for the ingredients,” says Stone. “When you’re buying food at a good quality restaurant, you have to use everything. That’s sort of drilled into you. We’d buy the whole side of beef or the whole baby pig, so you couldn’t waste anything. The cost was already high because you’re buying premium ingredients.”
Stone’s cooking philosophy – using naturally produced and seasonal ingredients – carried over into his television ventures, including TLC’s Take Home Chef. For the past two years on the program, Stone has helped to bring flavorful, sustainable meals to tables across the nation. After casually accosting people in the grocery aisle, Stone goes on to cook for people in their homes, where he’s learned a thing or two about the challenges ordinary people face in the kitchen.
He now thinks of America as “home” and is quick to defend the country’s international reputation of being wasteful with its resources, especially when it comes to food.
“There’s a lot of talk about ‘green’ at the moment, and I think it’s amazing the direction we’re going," says Stone. He continues, "The more people learn about food and how it’s produced, the more they question whether or not they want to feed that to their kids.”
“The beautiful thing about America is once America says there is a better way of doing things, everyone gets on board. And sustainability and recycling are becoming more important in the States,” he says, and believes going "green" ultimately comes down to personal responsibility and making good choices.