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Celebrity Chef Curtis Stone Opens Up About Australia, Canada

Australian celebrity chef and author Curtis Stone was in Toronto to share dishes from home and talk about the Canadian food scene.

Beginning his television career in 2003 on Surfing the Menu, Stone made his U.S. debut with Take Home Chef on Discovery Network. Since then Stone has appeared on several NBC shows including The Biggest Loser and The Today Show. He has also competed on The Celebrity Apprentice and has published four books including Relaxed Cooking with Curtis Stone.

We caught up with Chef Curtis Stone before his event and spoke about his home country, the things he loves about Canada, and why he thinks the food in Mississauga is superb.

The Seared Foie Gras Vegemite-miso, A.N.Z.A.C. crumble. All the dishes Chef Stone served at the event were inspired from home. (Photo Courtesy Tourism Australia)

Vacay Network: Hello Chef! Great to speak with you.

Chef Curtis Stone: Thanks, nice meeting you too!

Vacay Network: Welcome to Canada. What are your thoughts about Toronto?

Stone: I love it! It’s a big city. There’s so much stuff going on, so much great food and it’s super diverse which I love.

Vacay Network: Have you been outside of Toronto?

Stone: I work close to Toronto in Mississauga sometimes where I do some work with the shopping channel. There is delicious Indian food in Mississauga. I like Mississauga because it has these little pockets within the city that makes it feel more villagy than city – if that’s a word – than just a giant monstrosity of a city, which is cool. I also have friends that live in Hamilton and Dundas.

Vacay Network: Tell me about Australia. Living in Canada, most of the news we get is from south of the border and to be honest it hasn’t been positive lately.

Stone: Well, Australia like Canada is a bit of a melting pot too. It’s a very multicultural country which of course influences my dishes.

Vacay Network: Can you give an example?

Chef Curtis Stone addresses Canadian media alongside Tourism Australia PR Manager Julie Earle-Levine. Stone is trying to spread the world that Australia is actually a wonderful country to visit. (Photo Courtesy Tourism Australia)

Stone: I’ve been doing a crab stir fry which has its roots in the region. Australia is close to Southeast Asia. In fact if you live on the west coast of Australia, you’re  closer to Bali than the east coast of Australia. So there’s a lot of influence back and forth within the region.

Vacay Network: And that has certainly had an impact on the food you make.

Stone: Of course, and a lot of that influence comes with the right ingredients. We grow the same ingredients as the do in Southeast Asia because it’s the same climate for the most part. And we also have a bunch of chefs and cooks that have come over from those countries and helped teach and craft our culinary world into what it is.

Spiced lamb breast and rack, quinoa tabbouleh. (Photo Courtesy Tourism Australia)

Vacay Network: Australia is one of those countries most Canadians would love to visit but it’s far away and expensive. Why should Canadians make visiting Australia a priority?

Stone: Look, there’s a couple of things going in its favor, right? When it’s winter here, it’s summer there. That means it’s a nice place to escape a cold winter. And yes, some of the most beautiful beaches on the planet are in Australia. We tend to live very close to the ocean. In fact, 80% of Australians live within 30 or 40 miles of the coastline so if you love water, you need to stop by for a visit.

Chef Stone’s Bee Kind cocktail with Tanqueray No. Ten, mead, lemon juice, honey, and prosecco was a big hit.  (Photo Courtesy Tourism Australia)

Vacay Network: So how does Canada rank in Australia? Doing so much work in both countries, would you say Canadian food is respected in Australia? Do they have a sense of what Canadian food is?

Stone: Totally, absolutely. But it is hard to answer that because as I said it’s so diverse in Canada. I think it’s the same sort of thing if you went to France or Italy and you said tell me about Canada, what do you think of Canadian food, they probably wouldn’t know. But in Canada, you have a real culture of great food and interesting wines too.

Vacay Network: What’s next for you?

Stone: I’ll stop off in New York on the way home back to LA. I’ve got a couple of restaurants in Los Angeles, in fact we are re-launching Maude, my restaurant in Beverly Hills. Then it’s back home to my family. I’m happy with how everything is going. I’m enjoying spending time with my kids and it’s – yeah, and that’s awesome.

Vacay Network: Thanks for your time sir! It was wonderful meeting you and I hope I get a chance to see you again soon…hopefully in Australia.

Stone: I would love that. Nice meeting you, thanks.

Featured Photo: Chef Curtis Stone (Photo Courtesy Tourism Australia)

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