Ever sat glued to your television anguished over your inexplicable decision to flip to the Food Network or Top Chef Masters when you were just lamenting the pitiful state of your empty fridge? If so, chances are you’ve spotted culinary, multi hyphenate Curtis Stone on the screen, doing everything from cooking to judging and hosting. We caught up with the prolific cookbook author and host of Top Chef Masters as he dishes on his new restaurant Maude, the LA culinary scene, food-obsessed television, and his recent nuptials.
Everyone is excited about your new restaurant purchase in the Los Angeles area. Can you tell us a little bit about it and what inspired the new venture?
I am really excited about it too. It has been a dream of mine for quite a few years to have a tiny, little restaurant that I could just work with a talented group of guys on, who could focus all of their energy into cooking beautiful food. Not having a huge menu or throwing huge numbers. The concept of the restaurant revolves around produce around Southern California. We are very lucky. We are up there with the best markets in the world. I want to pay homage to some of those ingredients. Each month I am going to choose one ingredient and do a seven- or eight-course tasting menu around that ingredient. I want to be as versatile and creative as possible. It will be a set menu, which allows me to put more detail into each dish, rather than having hundreds of courses.
Los Angeles is a melting pot of cultures that often translates into unique fusions of flavors. It is also a city that embraces over-the-top, glamorous plates. As someone who is committed to letting great ingredients shine without too much fanfare, how do you envision your new restaurant fitting into the Los Angeles landscape?
I think LA has gone through such a huge culinary revolution. It was all about the scene, glitz, and glamour not too long ago. But now, look at the restaurants that are popular. They are the ones that really get their hands on great quality ingredients and come from a more humble place—like spending the entire morning in my garden. I have a bit of an experimental garden, so I grow all sorts of different things. You know, that’s the place that I play with different varieties of stuff that you can’t get your hands on commercially. Also, the culture around great growers—that’s something that makes me happy. Honoring the farmer that works his ass off. That’s what my restaurant will be all about.
Any favorite taco spots in LA where we might spot you after a late night?
Oh god, absolutely! I love tacos and the beautiful thing about this city is that they are everywhere. The one that I sort of hit most often is Pinches on Sunset, which I am sure many know. ¡Lotería! is really good as well. We go down to East LA for tacos too. Too many spots to remember the names of. But with tacos, it’s usually the dirtiest hole-in-the-wall with the best offerings.
Okay, one night in LA—where is Chef Curtis Stone going to eat and why?
I just ate at Lukshon in Culver City a couple of nights ago, and, I’ve got to say, it is one of my favorite dining experiences in this city. It is so innovative and Chef Sang Yoon cooks really beautiful food—same guy from Father’s Office. He’s one of my favorite chefs.
READ THE FULL INTERVIEW WITH CHEF CURTIS STONE IN OUR NEW ISSUE HERE