End­less Sum­mer

Award-win­ning chef Cur­tis Stone talks to Alexan­der Joo about pris­tine beaches, foodie heaven and more rea­sons why Cana­di­ans should chase the sun Down Un­der

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“You can get from the city to the beach, coun­try, ski fields and moun­tains all within a day. It’s in­cred­i­ble,” says Cur­tis Stone, award-win­ning chef, best-sell­ing au­thor and tele­vi­sion host, when de­scrib­ing his home coun­try of Aus­tralia. Al­though it isn’t the usual desti­na­tion that Cana­dian snow­birds look to when es­cap­ing win­ter, with 30°C sun­shine, sim­i­lar cost of liv­ing, and di­rect flights from Van­cou­ver to Syd­ney, Bris­bane and, start­ing mid2018, Mel­bourne, it should be on our radar.

Get Tan “Whether you like a bush beach, trop­i­cal beach or a surf beach – there’s some­thing for every­one,” says Stone. He’s not ex­ag­ger­at­ing – Aus­tralia has nearly 26,000 kilo­me­tres of coast­line dot­ted with a whop­ping 10,685 beaches, each with a dif­fer­ent vibe, from the high-en­ergy crowds at Bondi Beach to the laid-back surf cul­ture of the Gold

Coast to the con­tender of the best beach in the world ti­tle, White­haven Beach, where the sand’s so pure – 98% sil­ica – that its ori­gins have sci­en­tists baf­fled.

Ab­so­lute seclu­sion is a short drive away. “The beaches are huge and mostly un­touched once you’re out of the cities,” ad­vises Stone. “You can find beaches that go for miles with not an­other soul on them.”

Get Wet The leg­endary Great Bar­rier Reef needs no in­tro­duc­tion, al­though it’s worth re­peat­ing that it’s the world’s largest coral reef sys­tem com­prised of 2,900 reefs and 900 is­lands stretch­ing for over 2,300 kilo­me­tres. This Won­der Of The World also has, Stone adds, “Idyl­lic is­lands, marine life, year round sun­shine and the best pro­duce, par­tic­u­larly fruit and seafood. The tagline for Queens­land is Beau­ti­ful one day, per­fect the next and it’s true.”

Cur­tis, liv­ing up to the care­free na­ture that his boy­ish face and tou­sled, sun-bleached hair sug­gests, also rec­om­mends get­ting your heart pump­ing with adren­a­line-fu­elled ac­tiv­i­ties such as surf­ing at Bondi Beach, swim­ming with great white sharks in South Aus­tralia and kite surf­ing at Port Dou­glas. “So much of our leisure ac­tiv­ity takes place on, in, or by the wa­ter.”

Get Stuffed Cur­tis be­gan his craft in Mel­bourne, made his name in Lon­don and then shot into in­ter­na­tional star­dom in Los An­ge­les. But Aus­tralia re­mains one of his favourite coun­tries to eat his way through. The top-notch grow­ing con­di­tions, fish­ing and ea­ger, am­bi­tious stu­dents con­trib­ute to the bur­geon­ing foodie scene. “Our good weather helps, along with the fact that Aussies are gen­er­ally pretty ex­cited about food – more and more so these days, which is great,” he ex­plains.

Aus­tralia now hosts sev­eral highly ac­claimed food fes­ti­vals which re­veals the en­thu­si­asm, so­phis­ti­ca­tion and qual­ity of the food scene on this far-flung is­land. “Aus­tralia’s ac­cess to fresh pro­duce and seafood is un­par­al­leled and we have so much young culi­nary tal­ent ris­ing up through the ranks,” says Stone. He es­pe­cially holds his home­town,

Mel­bourne, close to his heart. “Mel­bourne has the best laneway/hid­den/outof-the-way kooky late night kitchens and sexy wine bars that you can wan­der and dis­cover. It’s one of the foodie cap­i­tals of th the world.”

When asked what his three fa favourite dishes in Aus­tralia are right now, Stone replies: “West­ern Aus­tralian Mar­ron T Tail with Oys­ter Mush­rooms fr from Vue de Monde; San­shos roasted duck breast from SepiaS – the 9 course tast­ing menu is a must!; and Oeufs en Gelee from Hu­bert.” ButB when asked what his goto bitebi in LA is, he an­swers with a grin, “Ta­cos! And a cold beer.”

Both Aus­tralia and Canada have their share of out-dated stereo­types. While we’re a na­tion of hockey-play­ing moose and beavers sit­u­ated in the un­in­hab­it­able north, Cur­tis says, “We don’t have kan­ga­roos jump­ing down our Main Street! But most of all, we’re not too far away. The jour­ney is well worth it.” We can’t wait to find out.

West­ern Aus­tralian Mar­ron Tail from Vue de Monde Hosier Lane in Mel­bourne

Cur­tis Stone is a chef, restau­ra­teur, au­thor, me­dia per­son­al­ity and busi­ness­man. Re­cently named Eater’s “Los An­ge­les Chef of the Year,” Cur­tis cur­rently over­sees his restau­rants, Maude and Gwen Butcher Shop & Restau­rant in Los An­ge­les; hosts Move­able Feast

with Fine Cook­ing on PBS, and Top Chef Ju­nior on the Uni­ver­sal Kids Net­work; helps low-in­come peo­ple find jobs through the non­profit char­ity, Chrysalis; and serves as CEO of Stone’s Food Inc., his culi­nary-fo­cused con­sult­ing, con­tent and part­ner­ship com­pany.

The Gold Coast

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