21 Questions for Curtis Stone

Curtis Stone gets it. For starters, every chapter in his new family cookbook What’s For Dinner includes at least one cocktail, including a Blueberry Gin Bramble, a pitcher of White Sangria, and a crazy tempting looking bourbon and ginger-spiked Arnold Palmer.  Then there is the introduction, where the host of Bravo’s Top Chef Masters, who has worked in some of the most high-profile restaurant kitchens in the world, admits that when people ask him what the best thing he’s ever eaten is, he always finds himself replying the same way: “‘My mother used to make…” Stone continues, “Whether it’s chicken pot pie or meat loaf, the dishes we grew up eating, the ones made with love and shared around the dinner table, are the ones we seem to cherish most.” These days, he hopes to do some memory-making for the people sitting around his own family dinner table — his wife Lindsay and 15-month-old son, Hudson. What does that translate to? Korean Tacos, Potato and Bacon Frittata, Spaghetti with Garlic, Kale, and Lemon, quick Chicken and Chorizo Paella, Classic Meatloaf, Homemade Fish and Chips. In other words, family favorites, fresh ingredients, and simple prep — all of which is on display on every page of his beautiful book. To celebrate its publication, Stone was nice enough to participate in “21 Questions” and share one of his favorite go-to weeknight recipes.

My life in three bullet points:

  • Cook
  • Create
  • Celebrate

The kitchen I grew up eating in was… always filled with the smells of home cooked meals.

When I was a child I wanted to be an Australian football player, naturally.

If I was stuck on a desert island, the food I’d make sure to have with me is tacos. They’ve got it all.

A great friend is my mum. I tell her everything.

Secret weapon in the kitchen is a sharp knife. It’s the number one essential.

Turning point in my life was the day I knocked on the door of Marco Pierre White’s Cafe Royal and offered to work for free just for the chance to learn from him.

My ideal breakfast is poached eggs.

My ideal dinner is a backyard barbecue with my best mates.

I stay healthy by… surfing and hiking.

Without my  Google Maps app, I’m lost.

You wouldn’t know it but I am very good at gambling.

You wouldn’t know it but I’m no good at dancing…but it doesn’t stop me.

Until I became a father I had no idea how much sleep I used to get.

My favorite item of clothing: flip flops.

I drive a clean diesel Porsche Cayenne.

My house is my home.

A cookbook that changed me: White Heat, by Marco Pierre White.

A cup of coffee is essential.

Best restaurant meal I’ve had in past 12 months is Attica in Melbourne.

Why this shrimp and asparagus is a keeper: It’s fast, flavourful and incredibly easy to make.

Oven-Roasted Shrimp & Asparagus

Prep Time: 10 minutes; Cook Time: 5 Minutes
From What’s for Dinner, by Curtis Stone

The key to this high-roast cooking technique is to use a large half sheet pan (a rimmed baking sheet measuring 18-by-13) and to spread the ingredients out well so they brown lightly (for caramelized flavor) and don’t steam. See his book for grilling instructions.

1 lemon
2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
1 pound medium-thin asparagus, woody ends trimmed
1 pound large (21 to 30 count) shrimp, peeled, tails left on, deveined
1/3 cup shaved Pecorino Romano (optional)

Preheat the oven to 450°F.

Grate the zest from the lemon into a small bowl. Squeeze 2 tablespoons of juice from the lemon into the same bowl. Whisk in the shallots, then gradually whisk in 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Toss the asparagus with 2 more tablespoons olive oil on a large rimmed baking sheet and season with salt and pepper.

Spread the asparagus on one side of the baking sheet, separating the spears. Roast until they turn a brighter shade of green, about 3 minutes. Meanwhile in a large bowl, toss the shrimp with the remaining olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Remove the pan from the oven and arrange the shrimp on the empty side. Return the oven and roast until the shrimp are almost opaque throughout and the asparagus are crisp-tender, about 5 minutes.

In large bowl, toss the asparagus with enough vinaigrette to coat. Divide the asparagus among four plates and top with the shrimp, drizzling more vinaigrette on top along with a little Pecorino if using.

Thanks Curtis!

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great monday morning blog post (after a wealth of info friday!)
was wondering – what do you do about shrimp now that it’s gotten such bad press about unsanitary farming techniques. How do you know where to go for good quality?


The oven roasted shrimp and asparagus sounds delicious and reminds me of Melissa Clark’s roasted broccoli and shrimp (a favorite). I need to buy asparagus.

@helene — I only buy wild-caught shrimp. A grocer here carries them and they go on sale every 2-3 months. I stock up then and freeze them in meal-sized portions. When they’re on sale, the price is about the same as the farm raised shrimp at regular price.


Yes, ditto Sally. Trader Joe’s now sells bags of Wild Shrimp in the freezer section. Not quite as good as the kind we get down in South Carolina, but it’ll do.


That looks absolutely scrumptious! Can’t wait to check out the whole book. Thanks Jenny!

Eliza Desch

I saw this as I was doing my weekly meal planning this morning, made it tonight, and it was DELICIOUS!!! It is one of the simplest meals I’ve made in a long time, and one of the tastiest. It took all of 10 minutes and was like a restaurant. I served it with Israeli couscous and it was fabulous. Thanks!


thank you sally and jenny!
i have not really liked trader joe fish in the past but haven’t tried it in years. (10+!) I will try the wild caught. best to all!


I have frozen shrimp at home. Now all I need is a kid who likes shrimp! Can anyone help with this?


Rona – are you hoping someone’s going to give you their kid? LOL
How to make a kid like anything is always tough. Their tastes do change but sometimes you have to wait a long time … like until they’re 20! I figure, more for me!


Just made this for dinner. It was absolutely delicious! And so easy! I did not use the cheese. I bet that would make it so yummy.


Ah Curtis Stone – reading this makes me a little homesick from all the way over here in Canada. I love your blog – your approach to meal time totally resonates with me. Am looking forward to reading more, thanks!


As an Australian, it’s great to see Curtis featured. Is he making it big in North America? I live in Melbourne but am yet to go to Attica, but Ben Shrewy’s food is attracting international attention