Curtis Stone Reveals His Favourite Go-To Entertaining Recipe
Renowned Australian chef, author, and TV personality, Curtis Stone, is as charming and charismatic as you’d imagine. The L.A. based Designer for Target was recently back on home soil, which gave us the welcomed opportunity to chat with the ever-talented home-grown celebrity chef. We grilled him for his go-to entertaining recipe, the reason he loves cooking, his best cooking tip, and so much more. Scroll down for the ultimate culinary inspiration from one of the greatest chefs in the world.
What is the one item all home cooks need in their kitchen?
A sharp knife is the cornerstone of everything—if you don’t have a good knife, you hate cutting stuff, and you can’t cook without cutting stuff. It’s so simple it’s just reality.
What meal can a home chef cook with some common ingredients they'll have in their kitchen?
When there is nothing in the house, my go-to is pasta. I keep a pretty decent stock of pickles, semi-dried tomatoes, olives and capers, and you can pickle anything such as carrots or cucumbers. I go and pick a few leaves of spinach from my veggie garden to add to the greens in the fridge, but anything works. You should also always have onions, garlic, wild arugula, and cheese to add to pasta—it’s a simple dish.
What is your last-minute go-to recipe for entertaining?
There is something so special about the smell of a roast chook, and again it is so simple, and maybe it’s because it’s what my mum used to do a lot of. We will quite often have a roast chicken with whatever is in the garden. You can do it ahead of time, and when your guests arrive the house smells like you’re cooking for them. You can dress up a roast with a gorgeous red wine sauce, or gravy, which does take it to the next level. And if you’re careful with what you serve with it, you can get some beautiful mushrooms. It doesn’t just have to been steamed vegies and roast spuds, it can be really simple.
What is your favourite meal to cook?
My favourite meal to cook is anything out of the ocean, so I like making little tortellini or anything with crab. I also like making mousses—you can turn the lobster into a mouse and fill ravioli or tortellini. It’s delicate so it’s a bit more precise but it’s beautiful.
What is your favourite meal to eat?
I like eating anything that I don’t have to cook! It can be anything—even a grilled cheese sandwich as long as I’m not cooking.
What’s your best cooking tip?
Be organised. Usually what you’ll find is people get stressed around the cooking experience because they haven’t thought it through. We actually do a better job of it at the hardest times like Christmas when you’ve got three times the amount of people you have to cook for and when you’re forced to think about it more. But I think playing some music, setting the table, thinking about what you’re going to cook, getting the ingredients out and preparing them, opening a bottle of wine, and then you feel ready to cook.
What is the easiest meal to teach people to cook?
The easiest thing is a salad. If you learn to make one beautiful salad, you can literally make a dozen beautiful salads. Its starts with a nice base of an interesting mix of leaves, learning how to make a proper dressing, and then you think about all the different proteins that can work with it. Tofu, prawns, chicken, steak, marinated duck or something a little smoked. All of that works with the leaves and then you change the garnish, which to me should always be seasonal.
The reason cooking is intimidating is because it’s so big—it’s like saying, if you could design your dream home what would it look like? But if I said to you, design your dream home considering you’re on the beach, its 2000 square feet, this is the neighbourhood, you have two kids, it narrows it down. It’s the same with food. If you say to someone, its summer time, tomatoes are brilliant, berries are great stone fruits are in, you have access to these kind of seafoods for example, it’s easy.
What is the one thing you like about cooking?
The result it brings. Cooking is my thing. Most people cook when they’re happy or sad, but for me it’s kind of everything. I could be listening to punk rock music and blasting it around the kitchen or I could be listening to classical music and spend an afternoon in the kitchen. It’s my outlet for many different moods. The most beautiful part is when you get to see someone eat it.
What is you most used ingredient and your favourite ingredient?
Although dull, onions are my most used ingredient and my favourite ingredient is chocolate. I have a sweet tooth.
What is your edible guilty pleasure?
Tacos. We live in Hollywood, so to get from Beverly Hills to Hollywood, you drive past great tacos stands. It’s hard—late night, finishing work at midnight, and they’re only a dollar!
What was your first career break?
I worked in London in a restaurant called Mirabelle. I was a line cook and something happened where a couple of people walked out and suddenly they were short a sous chef so I got the job, kind of by default. But then suddenly I was a senior chef working for Marco Pierre White, when I was 24. I worked hard and from that I got offered other jobs and it all evolved from there.
If you weren’t a chef, what would you be doing?
I have no idea! No one has ever asked me that question.
When you’re not in the kitchen where would we find you?
With my kids in the pool or at the park.
What’s next for Curtis Stone?
I’m pretty happy and content right now.
See below our top picks from the Curtis Stone for Target cookware range.