Go Away With … Curtis Stone

By Jae-Ha Kim
Tribune Media Services
August 18, 2009

Born in Melbourne, Australia, chef Curtis Stone, 33, has lived in Los Angeles for the past three years but says he’s a traveler at heart. The star of TLC’s “Take Home Chef,” Stone has a new book in stores called Relaxed Cooking with Curtis Stone: Recipes to Put You in My Favorite Mood (Clarkson Potter). Stone, 33, talks to us about his travels and why America offers so much for visitors to see.

Q. What is your favorite vacation destination?
Miami. I love that city. I love the water, so it’s great with the beautiful beaches and it’s great for scuba diving. You can do so many different things here. You travel about 20 minutes and you’re in the swampland. Or you go the other way and find all these beautiful caves. I also love the atmosphere. There’s a very South American feel to it. And the food is great!

Q. Where are your favorite weekend getaways?
I love San Francisco. I’m fairly close to Palm Springs, as well. I enjoy going up there because it’s a different atmosphere. I enjoy the dry heat. I love New York and can’t get enough of that city. I’m very lucky that I get to go there a lot. New Orleans is super fun. The music and food are awesome. There’s so much character there. The thing that turns me on about America is that it’s so diverse. You can go to Seattle for a cool time and then head off to Las Vegas to misbehave.

Q. What are your favorite hotels and restaurants?
My favorite hotel in the world is the Delano (www.delano-hotel.com) in Miami. There’s a really cool hotel in Los Angeles called Palihouse (www.palihouse.com) that I really like. And in New York, I love the Gramercy Park Hotel (www.gramercyparkhotel.com). In Australia, there’s this hotel called the Blue Sydney (www.tajhotels.com/sydney) in Woolloomooloo. And the Park Hyatt in Melbourne (www.melbourne.park.hyatt.com) is beautiful. I love going to restaurants. I’m not that picky either. Sometimes I want to eat gourmet. Other times I feel like a breakfast burrito at a hole in the wall in Malibu. There’s good food for every occasion. I just ate at Hearth (www.restauranthearth.com) in New York and it was delicious. Clancy’s in New Orleans was really good — super authentic, rustic very Southern kind of cuisine. I liked just about everything in New Orleans and went on an eating fest. We’d listen to zydeco music at the clubs and there’d be a guy with a massive hog smoker outside and everyone eating these pulled pork sandwiches. It was great.

Q. When you go away, what are some of your must-have items?
An ID and credit card and I’m good to go. I like being a little unequipped. It’s what you don’t bring with you that’s important. As soon as you have too much stuff with you — too many plans and guidebooks — you spend too much time with your head in a book. The most exciting thing about traveling is the people you meet and getting the local experience from them. Who knows better where the best taco stand is than your taxi driver?

Q. What is your best vacation memory?
Probably when I was 22 and I first set sail with my best mate and went on a three-month trip to Europe and saw Italy, Spain and Greece. … The feeling of that excitement still sticks with me. That not knowing what it was going to be like was half the fun.

Q. Where did you eat your best meal?
I spent a couple weeks in Champagne, France, with a friend who worked in the wine industry. We went from one Michelin star restaurant to the next and ate incredibly well. That was pretty memorable.


© 2009 JAE-HA KIM
DISTRIBUTED BY TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES, INC.

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