The Top Chef Masters
host reveals the joys of raising a food-savvy kid and creating family tradıtions
Curtis Stone's culinary routine has changed a lot since he became a dad. For starters, in the morning, instead of heading straight for the coffeemaker, the Aussie chef's first stop-around 5:30 a.m.-is his 14-month-old boy Hudson's room. "We always have 'brekkie' together," says Stone. "He loves sitting in the kitchen sink while I cut up different fruits." During the meal, Stone likes to teach his son some dance moves ("Gangnam Style" is currently their go-to song) while trying to broaden the boy's palate. "Most mornings Hudson asks for an apple, but I'll make sure they're not always in sight, so he'll try something else, like pears," says Stone, who hosts Bravo's Top Chef Masters
. "I try to vary it every day. I can't wait to keep teaching him more about food."
The Hollywood home Stone, 37, shares with his son and fiancée, actress Lindsay Price, provides an ideal classroom. There are plenty of fun kitchen gadgets (although Hudson loves simply "mixing" with a bowl and stirrer), an outdoor pizza oven, lemon and fig trees, and a vegetable garden. "Hudson and I spend a lot of time there," says Stone. "The only problem is he never wants to leave, and occasionally he yanks out my gorgeous baby lettuces." Baby-proofing the house also required some patience. "We had to put those little stoppers on the kitchen drawers," gripes Stone. "It's an absolute pain, I couldn't open them for about three months." But the couple's love of entertaining hasn't suffered. "We're very fortunate," he says. "He's a chilled-out kid and he easily fits into our world. We usually have one dinner party a week and a larger party once a month." The biggest difference? "Weekend brunches used to be a bit boozy," says Stone. "Now we flip more pancakes than mimosas."
The couple-who met on a blind date in 2009-weren't always in sync when it came to hosting guests. "In Australia you just drop in on friends," explains Stone. "When Linds and I met, she couldn't believe how many people would just show up at my door. She'd say, 'In America you have to call ahead!' But she's gotten quite fond of it."
Price, 36, has also grown more comfortable with having a professional chef around. "At first I was really intimidated," she says. "He can chop an onion without even looking! There are times I've messed up hard-boiling an egg." Since they met, he's taught her to make roast chicken, and now she's also in charge of scrambled eggs, stir-fry and "my specialty"-pressed paninis. "I can get really creative and I can't really screw them up." Most importantly, "we're a family now, and meals take on a whole new meaning," she says. "You're feeding and nurturing your loved ones. That's all the inspiration I need."
Stone also likes to hone his culinary chops at home. That's where he often tinkers with many of the 400 recipes he develops every year-including the ones for his new cookbook What's for Dinner?
-instead of the official test kitchen he has nearby. "People don't cook with commercial equipment in their homes," he explains. "That's why I've purposely kept my home kitchen simple." On his rare day off, Stone also spends three or four hours preparing food for his family. "I'll make pickled carrots, chicken stock, red-onion jam and granola," he says. "It's relaxing, and I feel so productive because our food gets set up for the next few weeks." Another favorite hobby? Keeping a record of the new dishes Price's mom-who's Korean-has been teaching him. "She's a great cook," raves Stone. "This New Year she taught me how to make wonton soup. I think it's super important to keep those traditions. There's just something beautiful about recipes that are handed down in a family."