Q&A with Chef Curtis Stone

Curtis Stone with fans at Earth Fare in Palm Beach Gardens.
Photo provided by Bandy Carroll Hellige

Celebrity chef Curtis Stone has been at the forefront of culinary trends long before his time as co-host of Bravo’s Top Chef Masters. Having developed a love of food as a child, Stone began to pursue it professionally in early adulthood. He kick-started his career at a five-star Melbourne eatery before venturing to Europe and working under legendary chef Marco Pierre White.

Since arriving in the United States, Stone has made appearances on shows like Take Home Chef, The Biggest Loser, Around the World in 80 Plates, America’s Next Great Restaurant, and The Celebrity Apprentice. Now, as a restaurant owner and author, he’s looking to embark on yet another epicurean endeavor and further cement his status as a household name.

Stone has developed a line of pre-seasoned, ready-to-cook beef in collaboration with Thomas Farms Kitchens. Before introducing his TFK products in Palm Beach Garden’s Earth Fare, Stone chatted with PBI about food-focused happenings and his latest projects.

PBI: What inspired you to transition from a celebrity chef to a restaurant owner?
Stone: It’s funny how it worked. I had gone from working in restaurants and someone asked me to write a book. Then [came] the TV show. Then the next thing happened, and the next thing happened. Suddenly you come up for air, and you wonder, “Where’s my restaurant?”

Is there a specific person who stands out as an inspiration or has helped to shape your culinary career?
Marco Pierre White. He was the youngest person to be awarded three Michelin stars. He was crazy, intense, and worked really hard.

Can you explain your nickname, “The Quiet Terminator?”
I was given that nickname while I was on the Apprentice. I don’t know who first called me that, but compared to everyone else I was pretty quiet.

Your two Los Angeles eateries are named Gwen and Maude; do those names hold any significance to you?
Both restaurants are named after my grandmas. Maude was my dad’s mom, and Gwen was my mom’s mom.

What are the differences and similarities between Gwen and Maude?
They couldn’t be more different, but they still have a similar culture. Maude is very intimate and seats 24 people with a 10-course nightly tasting menu that revolves around a specific wine region. Gwen is more boisterous. Guests enter into a butcher shop, and it focuses on simple, primitive styles of cooking.

After an action-packed day, what is your favorite dish to prepare for your family?
An outdoor barbecue. We’ll pick up our meats from my butcher shop in L.A., and we grow our own veggies at home. Nothing is more relaxing than grilling. We keep it pretty simple.

What would we find in your fridge if we looked inside?
Fruits, veggies, organic eggs, and Champagne. Not much packaging.

What was the inspiration behind this idea for your pre-seasoned ground beef line with Thomas Farms Kitchen?
A home-cooked meal is so important, but we don’t have as much time as we used to. Ground beef is one of the top purchased products, and nearly everything we use it for requires seasoning. I wanted my product to make it easier to get dinner on the table.

What is your favorite pre-seasoned selection from your Thomas Farms Kitchen collaboration?
Korean barbecue

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