Monday, April 27, 2009

A chef who's welcome to take me home anytime: Curtis Stone

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I spent much of this weekend at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, hanging around the culinary stage, where some pretty spectacular cookbook authors were cooking and signing books. The whole two-day extravaganza was great, but the highlight for me was (heart thumps loudly) the Australian surfer boy Curtis Stone, who was promoting his new book Relaxed Cooking with Curtis Stone: Recipes to Put You in my Favorite Mood.

Now usually I'm not a swooner. I don't get tongue-tied in front of celebrities. I act like a normal person. Usually. Yesterday I was a babbling idiot. People magazine didn't name him one of their sexiest people of the year for nothing. Sorry, husband, you know I love you. This guy was just magnetic. There's a reason he's on television.

So, the top 10 reasons Curtis Stone made me swoon yesterday:

10. He brought his dad up on stage (spent the entire time bossing him around, but even so).

9. He made cocktails and then drank them in front of the crowd (one of them was this Chocolate Mint Martini).

8. When the mussels he was planning to use turned up green, he pilfered ingredients from the next chef on the schedule. With the pilfered ingredients, he created this dish the crowd dubbed "Pilfered Pasta":

7. He cooked in flip-flops ("Australian safety shoes," he called them).

6. The way he says "couscous." Which, as he was making this dish, he said many times.

5. He ran through the aisles with a hot pan so we could smell the pasta sauce. When I commented to the grandma sitting next to me that the pasta sauce smelled great, she said "Sauce? What sauce? I was looking at the rump roast....Oh, wait. He's not cooking that." (Proving that women of all ages were swooning.)

4. He burned the pine nuts for the couscous dish.

3. The charming story he told about how he decided to come to America to do "Take Home Chef" (I can't quote him, but basically, he said, what's not to like about a show where you go to the grocery store, pick up a chick, and take her home?).

2. The next charming story about what his dad said when he told him about "Take Home Chef" ("You're an idiot, son. You're going to take these ladies home and surprise their husbands. Do you know how many guns there are in America?")

1. He was incredibly nice to my kid, a 10-year-old gourmand and budding chef. Gave him a tour of the backstage prep tent, walked him through all the ingredients, and was impressed that he knew what char siu sauce was.


Jenny said...

What fun Erika! Wish I could have been at that event! Great pictures. What a looker Curtis is huh?!

Erika Kerekes said...

OH yes. The best part, though, was how sweet he was to my kid. Loved the fact that my son is into food and cooking. They had a real dialogue! And my son, of course, was over the moon.

Esi said...

I love him. So sad I just missed him. We saw Giada talk though. (kind of a snooze)

Erika Kerekes said...

I couldn't stay for the Giada interview, but she wasn't cooking, so I wasn't that disappointed. Did you see the Bon Appetit ladies? I'm going to write that up too, but as a preview, I was really surprised that Barbara Fairchild just stood there and let Janet McCracken do everything. The pork looked really good though.

Ginger said...

Wow, I agree! He can come home with me anytime also! Awesome story!

Erika Kerekes said...

Thanks Ginger! Feel free to send the link to your Curtis-loving friends (mine are sick of hearing about it already). :)

Rose Anne said...

Awesome story! I would love to see him in person! I missed him when he was in Toronto last year. I was heading home from Niagara Falls, ON, and my husband would not go into Toronto at noon! *L*

Joanne said...

LOL I loved the grandma comment...rump roast...hahaahahaha.

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