Tasting his grandmother's chocolate fudge in her Yorkshire home at the age of four is Curtis Stone's first food memory. "I still make that fudge and it's not even any good!" he says. He's ticked some big career boxes, including head chef at Marco Pierre White's Quo Vadis in London, making the popular Surfing the Menu television series and opening his own restaurant, Maude – named for his grandmother – in Beverly Hills. Today he's one of the most recognisable food industry faces, not just on Australian television but also in Los Angeles which is now home with his wife, actress Lindsay Price, older son Hudson, three, and baby Emerson, born last September. He's written seven cookbooks - – and is just about to release his latest Good Food, Good Life and his cookware range sells through Target nationally.
My pantry: I always have a collection of dried pulses. I love soaking my own and enjoy working out during the day what to do with them. I'm a total chocoholic so there's Valrhona or Lindt chocolate for eating and cooking. I collect olive oil and I have it from all over the place – Spain, Italy, Australia of course, California. I've got a crazy amount of spices so I put magnets on the back of jars and stick them on a big stainless steel board. I love curries but lately I've been playing a lot more with spicy Mexican dishes.
My fridge: There's always a range of good cheeses. I've never met a decent cheese I haven't liked. It's a key to being a good entertainer; you can always throw a platter together. I feel the same way about charcuterie. We're lucky in California, we can buy raw milk, which I use to make butter. And we have eggs we get from friends' chickens.
Last dinner at home
We had a whole lot of different heirloom tomatoes from the garden so I made a Greek salad with feta, cucumbers, red capsicums, red onions, sherry vinaigrette and I marinated some forequarter lamb chops with garlic and oregano and just barbecued them.
You know Ice Magic, that liquid chocolate you pour over ice-cream and it goes hard? It's so disgusting but I just love it. I'm such an advocate of natural food so loving that doesn't fit but I've worked out how to make it myself now with coconut oil and chocolate.
I drink Illy coffee, too much of it. In the morning I have it with milk – lattes and cappuccinos – and as the day progresses I have less milk. My last coffee will always be a macchiato. I've recently been trying to ease off the coffee though and have replaced it with mint tea with mint from the garden and I like that too, hot or cold. Wine's a bit like cheese – I like them all – but I've been drinking a bit of George Skouras Moscofilero 2012 from Greece lately.
Saturday night tipple:
An Allagash white beer is always good.
I'm addicted to buying ridiculously expensive Japanese knives. I've gone to Nagoya and met samurai sword makers and the skill, the sharpening, it fascinates me. I've got a pressure cooker which I use a lot, especially for pulses. There's a hand-crank slicer for charcuterie which I supposedly bought for the restaurant but it never quite made it there. I have a bit of vintage kit including an old copper turbotiere. And I love The Workbench, a chopping board I designed. All the compartments make you work so much more efficiently.
My granny's recipe book is irreplaceable. And I love my collection of vintage cups which I have taken to Maude.
I wish I had
A window where my splashback is so I can see the vegie garden while I'm cooking.
Mexican street food fascinates me. We went down to East LA which is super Latin and watched how they constructed it all – tacos, gorditas – and now we have Mexican street snacks on our menu.
Most memorable meal
It was lunch at the Chateau de la Chevre d'Or in Eze, France. There was no way I could afford to go there then but I was driving through with my girlfriend at the time, saw the sign and decided we'd just pop in to read the menu. As we arrived this guy in a suit welcomed us in, offered us drinks and suddenly we were just in this experience, and we went with it! We had langoustines as an appetiser, lamb a couple of different ways, silky pomme puree with lardons, spring peas, something chocolate for dessert. All simple but refined French food with the experience amplified by the possibility I might have to stay back and wash the dishes.