We talk to LA-based, Aussie chef and restaurateur Curtis Stone
Curtis Stone has carved his place in the US as an in-demand chef, TV presenter and restaurateur of LA venues Gwen and Maude. He shares his love for food, wine and a few favourite, nostalgic Aussie treats.
You’ve been in the US for a long time. What do you miss about Australia?
I miss AFL, vanilla slices and my mum, who still lives there.
What’s your go-to food and drink when you’re feeling homesick? Sausage rolls with a Coopers.
What are some of your favourite wine and food memories from Australia? My gran’s pork roast and my mum’s sweets.
What’s been one of your most exciting wine discoveries from the US? Harlan Estate in Northern California.
What are some of your favourite wine regions? Margaret River and I’ve always loved the wines of Burgundy.
How important is wine for you when it comes to the dining experience? Very! At times, a great wine can elevate a dish, accentuate the avours and nuances on the plate, and take it to a whole new level.
Was there one wine or a particular moment that reeled you in to a love for it? My rst trip to Provence was a game-changer. I now always have a bottle of chilled Provencal rosé on hand.
How do you describe your own wine collection?
My biggest collection is the wine at the restaurants. We feature classics, but also highlight smaller producers and lesser-known varietals that play o the cuisine.
Since Gwen is also a butcher shop, syrah from Australia, France and the US all nd their way prominently onto the wine list.
Do you remember the rst wine you cellared?
It was a Penfolds Grange.
What’s your most recent addition to your wine collection? I recently added some vintage Champagne – Jacques Selosse, Krug and the 1989 Le Brun Servenay, which is drinking fabulously.
What wine styles are you loving right now? It’s been so bloody hot in LA that I’ve been enjoying rosé, as well as gruner veltliner, a super-dry white.
You have two thriving restaurants in LA. What’s your food philosophy? Food and wine should complement each other without overshadowing the other. e best menus are conceived using seasonal ingredients and letting those avours shine. Wine pairings just enhance that experience.
What’s your post-shift drink of choice? A Coopers beer or a refreshing rosé – both excellent choices after a long day behind the re.
Is there any wine you can’t learn to love? Orange wines. Is there a particular wine you celebrate with? Champagne. Always.
What’s been your best-ever bargain wine? It depends on how you define bargain. You can get great deals on wine, but still spend hundreds of dollars on a bottle. If we’re talking inexpensive, Portugal is producing incredible, quality wine. e production costs are low because the estates have been in families for years, and the land in remote areas is inherited and passed down, keeping prices down – a great thing for the consumer.
Your all-time favourite food and wine match? A 90-day dry-aged steak with a Barolo.
Do you have any guilty pleasures when it comes to wine or drinks? I can’t go past a 20-year-old tawny port.
Is there a wine that isn’t great, but you love anyway? A wine is never bad – use it for cooking!
Are there any US drink or food traditions that you can’t get your head around? I’ll stick with orange wines on this answer. ey are really on-trend in the US and elsewhere right now, but I just can’t get behind them.
What do you believe is the general US perception of Aussie wines? I don’t think much of the US knows about the smaller wine regions of Australia, so I work on getting those represented on the wine list at my restaurants. Some of my own personal favourite producers right now are Si Vintners, Blind Corner and Voyager Estate.
What do you think Aussies should be paying more attention to from the US? I think Australians are familiar with Napa, of course, but maybe not the fact the central coast of California produces some incredible wine. Curiously, Michigan is also making some interesting wine.
What are you most excited for on your visit to Margaret River Gourmet Escape? I’m looking forward to using the incredible ingredients of the region.
What food and drinks would you serve for your ultimate meal? I’d make the ultimate meal and share it with my wife, Lindsay [actor Lindsay Price]. She loves lobster and Champagne, and
I’d work tru es in there somewhere too. I’d then pair a great Margaret River cabernet with a funky, dry-aged steak.
IT’S BEEN SO BLOODY HOT IN LA THATI’VE BEEN ENJOYINGROSÉ, AS WELL AS GRUNER VELTLINER, A SUPER DRY WHITE.