Swapping restaurant chef duties for homeschooling his two young sons – Hudson, 9, and Emerson, 7 – whom he shares with his Californian-born actress wife, Lindsay Price, Stone says that staying in one place has allowed him to “keep my feet on the ground for once”.
“I love the simple things this time has allowed, like spending time in the vegie garden with the kids, and teaching them how things grow, and how to harvest,” he explains. “Hudson is quite the little chef, so he loves to get cooking with me in the kitchen. Emerson prefers the eating part!”
To be home for dinner and bedtime every night, instead of working at the restaurant, has been another perk for the 45-year-old.
“We’ve been sitting down to dinner every night as a family – no TV, just conversation,” Stone says.
“We play a game every evening called ‘Best and Worst’, where we go around the table and say what the best thing and the worst thing that happened that day to each of us. It’s such a wonderful way to engage and understand what’s going on with the kids – we’ve played it forever and I recommend it to every family."
“All up, Lindsay and I have got to spend more time with the boys together over the past 18 months than ever before, and for that I am grateful,” he adds.
When our chat turns to his “Linds”, the famous foodie’s eyes light up. Stone met Price, 44 – best known for roles in Beverly Hills, 90210 and opposite Brooke Shields in Lipstick Jungle – on a blind date in 2009. After two years of dating, they welcomed Hudson, before tying the knot in 2013 and then adding second son Emerson to their brood one year later.
And though he's clearly as enamoured with his wife as he was when they first met, he admits there are relationship must-dos that are even more important during lockdown life.
“Communication and compromise are both absolutely key,” he says of avoiding conflict. “I like to think I get better at both as the years go by!”
Talking about the passage of time, the homegrown chef’s beaming and blonde appearance belies his 45 years. But while he undoubtedly looks great for his age, Stone has a very sage-like approach to getting older.
“As I skid towards 50, the reality is, yes, things start to tweak a bit here and there – meaning that it’s even more important to keep the physical activity up and stay healthy to keep up with the kids,” he admits.
“You don’t want them saying, ‘Oh, come on, Dad, you’re so slow!’ So, having two boys aged 7 and 9 certainly keeps you on your toes!”
“My theory is that the older you get, the happier you should be, because you’re still here,” Stone continues. “I think if you can’t accept that ageing is a natural part of life, then you’re in trouble. If anything, getting older should spur you on to achieve anything you want to, before it really is too late.”
Certainly this overachiever practises what he preaches. While his restaurants took a battering in the COVID storm, thankfully Stone wears many (chef) hats and has applied his golden formula to TV series’, bestselling books, restaurants and branded cooking utensils.
Indeed, the culinary triple threat is a kitchenware king stateside, selling over four million of his renowned Dura-Pans, and being named the number one brand on the Home Shopping Network for several years.
Now, he’s bringing his expertise back home with a new line of cookware, exclusively for Coles, landing in stores this month.
“I wanted to design a line especially for Aussie home chefs,” he explains. “So I went into design mode and the ‘Cook with Curtis’ range was born.”
“There’s a skillet you can take from the stove straight to the BBQ,” he says, excitedly. “And I’ve made this cool holder where you can rest your pot lids while cooking that’s also an iPad stand, so you can easily follow a recipe."
"I’ve tried to think of literally everything so lots of the products are multi-use. I feel really humbled that I’ve been able to make cooking easier for families so they can spend quality time together, both in the kitchen and around the table.”
Speaking of Australia, while Curtis is happy in his adopted home of LA, he’s understandably champing at the bit to return to our shores.
“I really, really want to come home,” he admits. “I’m hoping November, but the rules keep changing so it’s really hard to make plans. I miss my family terribly and I’m so used to coming back seven times every year, and I haven’t seen my family since March 2020!”
And when it comes to a permanent move back Down Under, it’s definitely on the horizon.
“I came over because of the huge opportunities that came my way,” he recalls. “For Linds, her industry is very much firmly planted there. Although, that said, I’ve been hearing about Russell Crowe’s plans to build an ‘Aussiewood’ film studio in Coffs Harbour, which is pretty exciting!
“We always talk about moving back to Australia and it’s my dream eventually – and of course my mum’s!” he laughs. “But right now, mine and Lindsay’s work keeps us in the US. But, we never say never!”
For now at least, regardless of which side of the world he’s on, the down-to-earth Aussie is counting his blessings as he reflects on the COVID-19 chaos.
“I want to look back at this dark time of history and for it to be just that – history,” he says. “I’m a very optimistic person, so I refuse to let it drag us down."
"This time has given us time to reflect and take stock of what’s really important in life, to appreciate who you’re surrounded by, and the work that you’re doing, to rally together to keep moving forward. I’m just happy to say that we’re still here and we’re still thriving.”
Stone is launching his new line of Aussie cookware, ‘Cook with Curtis’, exclusively for Coles this month. For more information, visit curtisstone.com