Curtis Stone Remembers How It Felt To Get His First Michelin Star - Exclusive

Even if earning a Michelin star can be stressful for some chefs, it's a form of recognition that many hope to achieve. Restaurants that earn and maintain a Michelin star become quite rightly distinguished within the culinary world. So when Mashed caught up with Australian chef Curtis Stone for an exclusive interview, we had to know what it was like when he was awarded his first Michelin star.

"The Michelin guide is so well put together and it's so accurate," Stone explained. "It's almost impossible for you to go to a Michelin star restaurant and have a bad meal." That's why restaurants in the Michelin guide must continue to evolve and improve upon their level of professionalism. Stone added, "at least that's been my experience, and so when you get one, you're kind of like, 'Oh s***, yeah. We're kind of good at what we do.'" But the award meant more to him than simply being good at his craft. 

Unfortunately, Curtis Stone wasn't in the U.S. at the time that his restaurant Maude, which focuses on seasonal menus inspired by global wine regions (via Maude), was awarded its first star in the 2019 California Michelin Guide, as Good Food reported. But that didn't dampen his restaurant's accomplishment. He said, "It was euphoric. I mean, look, I was in Australia ... and it was too late for me to get a flight to come back for it. So I was kind of devastated that I wasn't going to be here, but in my head, I was like, 'God, if I don't win one, I'll be so bummed. I don't want to be around anyone.'"

Stone says earning the Michelin star was a team effort

Since Curtis Stone couldn't be present, he had to tune in another way: through the internet. "I suppose it's sort of a lifetime's work," Stone said. "It doesn't mean anything apart from the fact that it substantiates how you hope people think about your food, you know what I mean? It's a really good feeling."

While earning his first Michelin star was such a thrilling experience for Stone, it ultimately was about more than himself. He added, "The personal feeling is your team and how they feel. Because you know how much work they put into it and how many sacrifices they make to do that kind of food. So yeah, when you can acknowledge their hard work, it's really awesome."

Even though Stone's Michelin-starred restaurant Maude closed and shifted gears to become the Pie Room by Gwen during the pandemic, you can add it back to your restaurant bucket list. Stone told Mashed that there are definitely plans to reopen as soon as it is safe and possible again. Stone is excited about the prospect. "You have all these Michelin star chefs, these incredible guys that are used to cooking incredible cuisine, and then suddenly for the last year, they've been making mashed potatoes and Shepherd's pies," Stone said. "And there's nothing wrong with that. It's been fun, but at some point, you're like, 'I want to get back to what I do.'"

To hear more from the acclaimed chef, be sure to tune in to "Crime Scene Kitchen," where Curtis Stone will be judging desserts alongside cake expert Yolanda Gampp, airing Wednesdays on Fox.