No Stone un­turned

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“It’s dif­fi­cult (to choose our na­tional dish) be­cause the food here is so var­ied,” he said.

“There are ob­vi­ous things like pies, sausage rolls, lam­ing­tons and pavlova at Christ­mas. And we’re such a mul­ti­cul­tural coun­try, it makes it hard to pin­point.

“Even when you think about cities like Mel­bourne and Syd­ney, there are dif­fer­ences in food cul­ture, and then that varies again from ur­ban ar­eas to re­gional ar­eas. It can also be the lit­tle things, our an­ti­au­thor­i­tar­ian ap­proach to break­ing all the rules, for ex­am­ple.

“Last week I was telling a guy about a ham­burger with the lot and he said ‘What’s that?’. So I ex­plained you get it from the fish and chip shop and it has egg, let­tuce, tomato, what­ever you want — the lot — and he was just amazed we got our ham­burg­ers from the fish and chip shop. We are unique. I don’t think we’re known for our food over­seas, but peo­ple who come here end up be­ing over­whelmed with the va­ri­ety and quality.”

Cur­tis has been based in LA for more than a decade with his wife of five years, Amer­i­can ac­tor Lind­say Price, and their sons, Hud­son, 7, and Emer­son, 4.

And de­spite a pro­fes­sional ca­reer that seems to be boom­ing with pop­u­lar Maude, and more re­cently the butch­ery and restau­rant Gwen (both eater­ies are named af­ter his grand­moth­ers), he says he still has strong ties to Aus­tralia. Which is why we see him so of­ten on our screens, usu­ally spruik­ing Coles or as a guest judge on MasterChef.

“I come back about seven times a year,” he says. “And when I do I feel like I never left, in that sense I’m lucky be­cause I get to live a dou­ble life. There’s a lot to miss about Aus­tralia when I’m not here.

“And I try to bring the kids back every year too. They love the beaches and go­ing to Nanna and Poppy’s. I think it’s re­ally im­por­tant they un­der­stand that part of their her­itage.

“It’s funny, be­cause only re­cently my son told his teacher he’s re­ally an Aussie, which was cute.”

But if you think meal­times are easy for the cel­e­brated chef, think again. He says his harsh­est crit­ics can be his own chil­dren.

“You have to de­velop a kid’s palate, and it’s not easy,” he says.

“I tell my kids ‘ You don’t need to like ev­ery­thing, but you do need to try it’, and that gen­er­ally works. It can be a real mis­sion.”

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