Michelin-starred chef: 'I'm lucky I found what I love young'

Holly Firfer, CNNPublished 19th September 2019
Los Angeles (CNN) — If you ask Curtis Stone what's most important to him, he will answer "family" without missing a beat.
The Australian chef, known for hosting "Take Home Chef" and "Top Chef Masters," is talking about his wife, Hollywood actress Lindsay Price, and their two sons. He's also referring to the chefs and the staff in his restaurants, which are named after his grandmothers Maude and Gwen.
"There is a community and we all come here to work. But at the end of the day, we're kind of like a family," Stone said.
"Foods are really nurturing things, so I think the people that are attracted to it like playing those mother hens. You know, I consider myself a big fat mother hen. I've grown hundreds of little chicks out there. You know the thing about it is you love them and you care about them."
With that attitude and his brilliant culinary creations, perhaps it is no surprise that Stone's 24-seat Beverly Hills, California, restaurant, Maude, recently received a Michelin star, one of the most coveted ratings for a restaurant.
It's a career pinnacle for Stone, who has always wanted to cook. "I guess I'm lucky I found what I love young," he said.

Family inspiration

Tuna crudo served with a bit of vintage flourish.
Tuna crudo served with a bit of vintage flourish.
Ray Kachatorian
As Stone reminisces about his grandmother, his megawatt smile takes him back to his childhood in Melbourne, Australia, and a home that inspired this restaurant.
"She was a little posh, my granny. She had, you know, like fine chinaware and stuff like that. I can remember eating off a vintage plate or drinking a cup of tea out of a vintage tea cup in her home, and it always meant something to me because there was a real story around it," he said.
"And this was such a tiny restaurant. It feels like you're inviting someone into your home to come and have dinner. So, I thought maybe we can recreate a bit of that magic."
Stone takes his chefs around the world to experience new cultures and tastes, which are translated into Maude's 10-course tasting menu. The menu draws inspiration from a specific wine region and changes every three months.
"We try and sort of draw from experiences from the history and the culture and the people we meet, the architecture, and then of course the ingredients and the wine," he said.
"And we try and retell our stories and share those wines with our guests back here in LA."

Keeping things fresh

Chef Curtis Stone received a Michelin star in June for his restaurant, Maude.
Chef Curtis Stone received a Michelin star in June for his restaurant, Maude.
Clay Larsen
All his food is sourced locally and is included on the menu only when in season.
"When a chef understands more about what they're cooking, we waste less because we respect the ingredient more. We get things right when they're at their peak or their prime," Stone said.
So, what's next for this TV personality, cookbook author, award-winning chef and now Michelin-starred restaurateur?
"I want to keep striving and I'm never satisfied with what we've achieved," he said. "I always want to do more, but more doesn't mean actually doing more. Sometimes it means just finessing, doing better, pay more attention to something. So that's kind of what I want to do."