Credit: Travis McCoy
Credit: Travis McCoy

Australian Celebrity Chef Curtis Stone Shares His Journey From Commis Chef to Michelin-Starred Success

From His Renowned Los Angeles Restaurants to Countless TV Appearances, There’s No Stopping Curtis Stone 

With impressive accolades and a name known around the world, Curtis Stone has managed to perfect the secret sauce far beyond the kitchen. Successful—not to mention humble—doesn’t even begin to describe Stone. The man behind the Michelin-starred restaurants, TV appearances and adventurous, culinary world travels can often be found in the kitchen working alongside the rest of his team. “I’m everything from the head chef to the dishwasher,” Stone states. And while he’s worked his way up to the top of the industry, Stone makes it apparent that he’s not above anyone else. Celebrity Chef Curtis Stone

“I’m everything from the head chef to the dishwasher.”—Curtis Stone Celebrity Chef Curtis Stone

This golden piece of advice came from the one and only Marco Pierre White, when Stone made his cooking dreams come true by moving from Australia to London to work for the renowned British chef. “I remember reading his book and being like, ‘I wanna go work for this guy one day…He’s obsessed with food and pushes his team hard to achieve,’” Stone says, “so that’s what I did.” But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. 

Before Stone found his place in the culinary world and landed a job working alongside White, his beginnings were modest. Most of his days as a child were spent watching his mom and grannies in the kitchen. After years of observation and practice, he began to hone certain skills and eventually started cooking dishes of his own.

“To this day, I get my inspiration to cook from people that I know and love,” says Stone. Celebrity Chef Curtis Stone

Fast forward to his early 20s, and boom—Stone had landed himself a position at White’s London restaurant, The Grill Room. “I thought I would just walk in the back door of his kitchen and see if I could get a job, and that’s essentially what happened,” he laughs.

Stone spent the next eight years in London learning the tricks of the trade from his childhood hero. “I remember we all used to wear blue and white striped aprons, which were butcher’s aprons in the UK. Chefs [traditionally] wore white aprons, but Marco felt like we should all wear butcher’s aprons,” Stone describes. He explains the importance of this, which he also implements into his own leadership style: “It was a sign that you weren’t better than the person next to you—we’re all just butchers; we’re all just craftsmen.”

Credit: Travis McCoy

Continuously working his way to the top, Stone started off as a commis chef and eventually became the head chef at one of White’s restaurants, Quo Vadis, before moving to America for a cooking television show called “Take Home Chef,” which aired on TLC. Right before this, he co-hosted “Surfing the Menu” back in Australia, marking his debut television appearance. Stone has also made his fair share of celebrity guest appearances on talk shows, reality shows and cooking shows in both Australia and America (“Top Chef Masters,” “Iron Chef America” and “MasterChef Australia All Stars,” just to name a few). Adding multiple cookbooks and a cookware line to his resume, there was simply no stopping Mr. Stone. 

“One thing led to the next, and [in 2014] I opened my own little restaurant in Beverly Hills called Maude,” explains Stone. That “little” restaurant, named after his grandmother, earned a Michelin star in 2019 and another one in 2021. The irony of it? You wouldn’t even know it’s there.

Tucked on the tree-lined South Beverly Drive, Maude reflects the charm of a sidewalk cafe you’d find in Nice. Its exterior blends seamlessly with the rest of the block, but step inside and you’ll find a sultry space with velvet chairs, bistro tables and walls of nostalgic photographs. To put it plainly, this lauded, fine-dining establishment is as humble as its head chef. 

Credit: Travis McCoy

When Stone first opened Maude over seven years ago, the menu was solely focused around one single ingredient. “That one ingredient was the star of the show, and we would develop a 10-course tasting menu around it,” says Stone. “[The ingredient] would be in every dish we served, so to keep things interesting, we would find different ways to cook it.” But after four years (and going through just about every root vegetable there was), Stone and his team decided to pivot. “At a certain point, it started to feel more like a chore than a passion,” he explains. With the help of the restaurant’s sommelier, they began building dishes around wines from different regions—regions Stone would visit.

“We began traveling to all these different places, searching for inspiration and learning as much as we could. It wasn’t glamorous at all; we were staying in Holiday Inns because we were doing it on a pretty tight budget,” he says. And while it wasn’t all that sophisticated to begin with, that quickly changed when their travels turned into episodes. “I had a buddy who was a great cinematographer, and he asked me what I was doing on the weekends. At the time, we were going to Rioja, Spain, and I told him about what we were doing, and he was like, ‘Oh my god! Why aren’t you filming this as a TV show?’” Next thing Stone knew, he had a camera crew capturing his overseas adventures—the beginning of his two-season show, “Field Trip.”

During his global travels, Stone recalls visiting a northern Caribbean region of Colombia called Riohacha, where he developed an appreciation for the juxtaposition of modern and classical cuisine. “It’s such an interesting place because it’s steeped in tradition. There is all this wonderful food that’s been a part of the culture for centuries, but there is also a real modern attitude that exists there.”

And while different cultures will always play a role in Stone’s cooking, he decided to implement a more consistent menu at Maude when the restaurant officially reopened in February. “This has allowed us to hone everything we’ve learned over the past few years and create a world-class menu,” he explains. “Innovation keeps us excited, and if you’re not excited about what you’re doing, it becomes a bit of a chore.” 

With innovation always at the forefront, Stone continues to shape the culinary landscape of Los Angeles—a city that never seems to run out of ideas when it comes to food. And just when we think everything has already been done, Stone proves otherwise. “In about a year, we’re opening another restaurant in downtown LA,” he says. And while he won’t spill the details just yet (we’re sworn to secrecy, but you can expect an expansive rooftop), you can bet your pretty little palate that it’ll be a crowd-pleaser.

Celebrity Chef Curtis Stone

Curtis Stone
@curtisstone

Maude
212 S Beverly Dr
Beverly Hills, CA 90212
310.859.3418

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Taylor is a graduate from the University of Southern California with a degree in journalism. She is our Los Angeles and Orange County editor. You can find her dining at a new restaurant, in the ocean or planning her next adventure. Say hello!

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