Curtis Stone On How To Make Sure Your Thanksgiving Turkey Is Juicy
Curtis Stone—chef, author, and Top Chef Masters host—is also apparently a huge Orange is the New Black fan. Hey, can you blame him? We caught up with Stone at a cooking class he hosted in collaboration with Netflix teaching a group to make dishes inspired by Netflix’s original programming like Up In Flames Drunken Bananas with Spiced Ice Cream, which takes its cues from, you guessed it, Arrested Development.
While cooking with Curtis we had to get his top tips for surviving Thanksgiving (like how to make sure your turkey is juicy) along with find out his favorite restaurants to eat at when he is off duty. Read on for our chat with Stone!
The Vivant: Your Australian, so you didn’t grow up celebrating Thanksgiving. What are some of your favorite food-centric holidays?
Curtis Stone: Our holiday season is totally flipped on its ear because as we get closer to Christmas it is like roasting hot [because it is summer in Australia]. For Christmas we start with oysters and crab and seafood—we still do roasted meats, but the new modern Australian Christmas is really kicking off now. We also celebrate a lot in the summertime around horse races believe it or not. We have this thing called the Melbourne Cup, which is not really different from the Kentucky Derby. It’s a big horse race and this goes on for a week. So we go through these periods where we spend a lot of time outside and have these barbecues. It’s so hard to explain because people are like, “It’s a horse race?” Easter is also a big holiday. We usually cook roast lamb—I don’t know why lamb and Easter, but it works.
Now that you live in States, how do you and your family celebrate Thanksgiving?
I cook, and [my wife] Lindsay [Price’s] mom is also a good cook, so I do half of it and she does half of it. She’s Korean, so she’ll do a Korean thing here and there. It’s a beautiful holiday. It has turned into my favorite holiday.
Everyone stresses out so much about cooking this big dinner every year. Any tips for surviving Thanksgiving without pulling your hair out?
I think the best thing to do is to give everybody a job because the little jobs all add up to a big job. If you do everything by yourself by the end of the day you are just like “kill me now!” But if you say to someone, OK you are in charge of the music so figure out the playlist it will really help. Give someone else the job of opening the wines so everyone’s glasses are filled. Give someone else the job of clearing the table because someone else can get everything back in the kitchen. Even setting the table is a huge job—give that to someone. Then Thanksgiving can actually become a really enjoyable experience for the host. And the best hosts have the most fun.
Any tricks to making sure your turkey is juicy?
I think the most crucial thing about making turkey is the brine. You have to brine your turkey. It is a pain in the butt job, but it is really worth it.
We hear that you are opening a restaurant in LA! Tell us about it.
It is a tiny little passion project. It is a 25-seat restaurant in Beverly Hills. It is really super market driven—the dishes are based on one or two ingredients and it is going to be a tasting menu. It is going to be fun, I really miss that type of an environment. It is called Maude after my granny and it will be open in January.
Chefs always have the best taste in restaurants. Where do you eat when you are off duty?
In New York there is a little restaurant called Torrisi that I love. I love Per Se, but I have to sell something every time that I go. In Los Angeles there is a sushi joint called Sushi Park that has the best sushi I have ever had.