Travel News

Curtis Stone: how I travel

The chef on Australian motels, packing light and his love-hate relationship with Los Angeles.

By Joanna Hunkin
Curtis Stone
We took an excellent vacation over summer. My wife Lindsay and I took the boys to Greece for a couple of weeks. Lindsay had never been and she really wanted to go to the spots that everyone goes to – Mykonos, Santorini – so we did that. I travelled through Greece a lot when I was younger so that was fun because it was me showing her a little bit of Europe that I knew.
My parents got divorced when I was really young. My dad would always take us to Batemans Bay for his annual holiday. We'd stay in the motel behind the main street, one of those typical Aussie motels with the swimming pool in the middle. We'd go to the local pub for dinner a couple of times a week. There was a trampoline on the foreshore, which was a big highlight, and an arcade where we'd play video games.
My first couple of years in London were pretty intense. I was working at the Café Royal, which was Marco Pierre White's high-end restaurant. There wasn't much time to travel. Then I moved to Mirabelle and we'd work four days and have three days off. In London, you could just jump on the Eurostar. My flatmate at the time was from Belgium so we'd go and see his family or mates in Leuven or we'd grab one of those cheap airfares to Europe.
The place I probably think about the most is the Greek islands. It's so perfect there. I saw it through the eyes of an independent young person. It's a bit different when you go back with your family. We spent more time wandering around ancient Greek ruins. I didn't do much of that in my 20s.
I have a love-hate relationship with Los Angeles. I love it most of the time. It's a bit like Sydney. It's great city to live in for all the obvious reasons – the weather is perfect, the standard of living is really good. There are things to love and things to hate. It's becoming a much more cultured city. Food and cuisine is becoming a much bigger part of the city.
Sometimes I pack dirty clothes because I figure I'm going to have to iron it all anyway. I chuck it all in the laundry, and it comes back ironed and pressed and ready to go. Lindsay likes to be very organised. I'm quite fly-by-the-seat-of-my pants. I'll show up with one piece of carry-on. The kids are super adaptable. They've seen a lot, and they travel more than most kids do.
I don't do a tonne of research when I travel. I want to figure it out as I go. Food is always important to me and it's a big part of wherever I travel. I'm always keen to figure out what's going on food-wise. I'm usually hungry so that's always the first thing I start talking and asking about: where's the best place to eat? I'll ask everybody.
I really want to see Costa Rica. I've never been to Central America. I also haven't been to Korea, where Lindsay's mum is from. That's high on my list.