Known for his roles on TLC's "Take Home Chef," and other reality food shows, and that hard-to-forget Aussie accent, celebrity chef Curtis Stone knows a thing or two about food.
The 37-year-old, dubbed "The Quiet Terminator," practices a hands-on approach to healthy cooking and bringing back easy and tasty recipes to families' dinner tables. Stone, who lives in Los Angeles, is also a believer in eating fresh, local, seasonal foods along with the luxurious tidbits the world's cuisines have to offer.
Stone spoke to The Huffington Post Canada about his new book What's For Dinner at the Chatelaine Kitchen in Toronto, along with his favourite poison, his ultimate hangover foods and that one time he ate a slug.
What does Canadian food mean to you?
Of course the first thing I think of when I think Canadian food is poutine. On the West Coast you have incredible raw seafood and I think Canada is a real melting pot. You come to a city like Toronto and it's full of different cultures and attitudes — it reminds me of the food at home in Melbourne. You're a young country, and there's a lot of different cuisines and cultures mixed together, and I think that's the beautiful thing about Canadian food.
What is one of the first things you crave to eat when you return home from abroad?
There's no where that makes burgers like America. There's something I crave about everywhere. When I think of Toronto, I think of those bacon sandwiches from St. Lawrence Market. If I'm in Vancouver I think of the best Indian food I've ever eaten. There's always something to think of when you miss home.
What’s your favorite food to make at home after a boozy night?
If I've got mates coming around — and that's usually when the boozy nights happen for me — if we're watching a game or hanging out together, I'll make pulled-pork sandwiches or ribs. Guys like to eat with their hands and be quite animalistic. I make a pretty mean rack of spare ribs, burgers, that sort of stuff.
What's your favourite poison or guilty food pleasure?
I eat a lot of tacos. We don't get them in Australia like you get them in North America. In California, you are so close to the border that Mexican food is off the charts. I'm like a regular at those dirty little taco stands.
If you could prepare only one last meal, what would it be?
Ooh, if I had to make my last meal, God, I would be so sad that it would have to be my last one. I'd be so depressed. I would eat something disgusting like a lot of foie gras or truffles. I would be really gross. I would even eat caviar that's on the extinct list because I want it to be a gluttonous last meal, I'd go out with a bang.
What would be in your emergency survival pantry?
If I was going on an island, I'd take some truffles with me. It's just that little bit of luxury, even on a deserted island.
What is the wildest thing you’ve ever eaten?
I was with some Aboriginal guys in the middle of the outback in Australia and they were talking about stuff you can find on the land and eat. We found this dead, old log, that had fallen over in a swamp. They chopped it open and there was this huge slug inside — 12 inches long. And this guy put it in his mouth and kept his lips really tightly pressed together, as he sucked the slug into his mouth and all of the dead wood these slugs feed on fell out of the other end. Without doubt, it was the most disgusting thing I've ever seen in life but because we spent the last three hours looking for these slugs and hearing how good it is for you, I felt compelled to give it a shot. I ate this slug and it was really horrible. Bizarrely it tasted like an oyster, when it's spoiling and watery. Like a muddy oyster.
What is the best restaurant that no one’s ever heard of?
What I love about America is going into these little towns and finding the best barbecue spots. There's a place in Kansas City called Oklahoma Joe's, which is actually at a gas stations, and it's the best barbecue I've ever eaten.
What would you be doing if you couldn't be a chef?
God knows. I thought about this before, I'm not sure. Maybe something in the entertainment business or service. Maybe run bars.
What is the most memorable food city in the world?
Tokyo is pretty wild. I was in Tokyo for the first time and when you think about the types of food that fall under their cuisine, there's all these categories of food. When you compare it to another cuisine like Italian for instance, and they've got pasta and wood fire ovens and antipasti, but nowhere near the depth that they have in Japan.
Do you have any regrets professionally?
I wouldn't call it regrets. I quite often wonder what would've happened if I've taken a bit of a different path. I am very fortunate and I love what I do. At one point I was one of those young guns working really hard at restaurants, I was 25 when we got our first Michelin star (at Mirabelle in London). I wonder what would've happened if I just kept going down that road and stayed away from the media and all this other stuff.
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