Imagine yourself wandering through tall marble columns, tempted by
delicious smells, only to find yourself surrounded by mouth-watering food served by one of the hottest chefs from down under, Curtis Stone.
This weekend the Palazzo in Las Vegas is celebrating Summer Carnevale with ‘The Curtis Stone Up-Close & Personal Weekend’ where fans of Curtis
Stone can experience recipes from his latest cookbook at this “pop up”
Curtis Stone restaurant, featuring a five-course tasting menu with
Experience Carnevale at the Palazzo with Chef Curtis Stone
JH – What’s your first food memory?
CS – My first food memory involves a stick of butter and a box of raisins. I remember sitting on the bench and literally wiping down
the raisin on the stick of butter and popping in my mouth. My mom
walked up and said “What on earth are you doing?” I was only three or
four, it is interesting because even at a young age I would try to
combine flavors and think about it – raisins and butter, what a
delicious combination. Obliviously not a combination you would not
want to eat on a regular basis anyway.
JH – How would you describe your style of cooking?
CS – It is really market driven to be honest. I grow a lot of my own
vegetables, and have great relationships with farmers, fishermen,
butchers, all sort of different people who get their hands on good
ingredients. I think when you work with the best of a season you can
keep it relatively simple.
I was trained in French restaurants, so my technique is more French
then anything else. But I have lived all over the place. I draw from
different areas. If you get some incredible ingredients you don’t have
to do too much to them. Sometimes less is more with food.
JH – What’s your favorite dish from your new book?
CS – I have a sweet tooth and there is a salted caramel pots de creme
and there is a New York Style cheese cake with cherries on top that we
are serving at the dinner. They are both pretty unbelievable. So when
I think what is my favorite I go start to the back of the book which
is all the deserts.
JH – What recipe would you recommend to a cooking newbie from the new book?
CS – I always love to give newbies a dish where there is virtually no
cooking. There is a chicken breast that is served with salad made with
zucchini. The zucchini – literally you get a vegetable peeler and pull it down the length of the zucchini till you get these great beautiful
strips of zucchini. You toss these strips with a light vinaigrette,
you get a raw salad of these zucchinis with some lettuce leaves
paired with nice fresh dressing and a chicken breast that you just
can’t screw it up.
JH – Did you do any traveling to prepare for the new recipes? Any fun
moments on the road you want to share?
CS – I am on the road a lot and I had an incredible trip when I
got married in Spain, that was really special. We then went and
honeymooned in Portugal for a while. A fun moment in Portugal. I lied
to her about what we were eating, they told me it was goat, and I knew
she would not be too happy about it. The guy did not speak great
Rnglish and she was not at the table at the time. So she came back and asked what is this, and I said it was lamb. So she ate it and was
happy. Then the guy came back and said “how was your goat?” I got
caught. She was not too happy with me but she liked it. Now she
realizes that goat is not too bad.
That is a funny story from traveling, we had to eat some pretty
bizarre stuff in Portugal. Their diet is just a little different then
what we find here in the States. A bit interesting, very interesting.
I always get inspiration from my travels in terms of my food. This
last book is called “What’s For Dinner” and it is designed literally
to help people who have really busy lives, cooking on a budget and
don’t want to have 20 ingredients – so truthfully my inspiration was
people who cook at home. You know I am a dad, so I know the pain of
someone who has to do a bath, pajamas, dinner and clean up within a 60 minute period before your kids go to bed.
I spoke to a lot of mums and a lot of people who were in charge of
the cooking, asked a lot of questions and that is how we came out with
a concept for the book.
JH – So Las Vegas. You are doing a ‘pop up’ restaurant with a
five-course tasting menu with wine pairing, that has to be something
of a challenge to set up. What menu items are you looking forward to
sharing with the public? Any fun details you want to share with your
CS – Every dish is from the book so people can go home and create it
themselves, so that is a nice way to do a dinner. The recipes are
delicious, yet simple and tasty. I think it again shows how fantastic
food can be when you treat it really simply. I love being in Vegas and
working with new people and teams. I have a couple of my guys out with me, but I am excited to work with some pf the people here. There is so much talent under one roof at the Venetian that we are so excited to meet.
There is a bit of a challenge, but I love going into the kitchen and
thinking I only have eight hours before people come in for dinner.
That is what we thrive on.
‘The Curtis Stone Up-Close & Personal Weekend’ is July 26-27
the experience also includes a Champagne reception, photo op, and an autographed book, all taking place the Palazzo in Las Vegas.
For more information visit – www.palazzo.com/carnevale
Follow LGBT Culture, Justin Travis Howard @JTHNOMAD
Follow Chef Curtis Stone @curtis_stone New Book #whatsfordinner