Celebrity Chef Curtis Stone debuted his new restaurant called Maude in Beverly Hills a few days ago with a soft opening for friends and family. My Foodie Friends and I were among the few lucky ones to attend and I must say that not one dish was a disappointment. Yeah, it was all sooo very good!
I was an instant fan of Chef Curtis Stone having religiously watched and re-watched episodes of his cooking show Take Home Chef. Since the end of his cooking show in 2007, he has written a few cookbooks, appeared as a Guest in various television programs, and has appeared in reality cooking shows as either a Judge or a Host. His hard work has created many successes for him through the years, but I have often wondered what his interpretation of food really tastes like. You see, I didn’t want to just whip up one of his recipes, I wanted to eat his food at his restaurant. Unfortunately, his busy schedule prevented him from opening one until now.
To be honest, I had no idea that he had opened a restaurant until my close friend invited me for dinner at the soft opening of Maude. The announcements from Foodie websites seemed to fell out of my radar, which is why I didn’t know. Curiosity speculated amongst us in emails as to whether the chef would actually be at the restaurant cooking. My friend reassured us a thousand times. “He’s going to be there,” she said, “and he will be cooking too.” After a few changes in my own schedule, I managed to join my friends for dinner.
The outside door of Maude looks rather unassuming, but don’t be fooled. When you open the doors, you enter into a beautiful yet welcoming intimate space with just a kitchen and 29-seats. There is no vibrant bar scene or even a space for you to wait for your table. The restaurant literally is a cozy space. You check-in and you’re immediately whisked away to your table.
PIctured above is the Carrot Soup.
Chef Stone’s menu is only a seasonal 8 – 9 course prix fixe dinner for about $75 per person. From now through the end of February it’s a citrus theme. He claims that working with a theme helps him and his staff focus on providing unique interpretations of various dishes with the use of the theme.
The wine list is extensive with no per glass selections. However, available is a wine pairing with the prix fixe dinner for an additional $55 per person. I was able to ask for a glass of a dessert wine to accompany my dessert without having to order the wine pairing. They were kind enough to allow me to order an individual glass of wine.
It was nice to have met the Chef Curtis Stone throughout the dinner service. He explained a lot of his dishes to us especially how some of them were made. I also sensed a bit of nervousness too, because sitting behind us was Ruth Reichl; Food Writer, the former Editor-in-Chief of Gourmet Magazine, former Food Critic of the New York Times, and an occasional judge on Top Chef Masters. You know, I would be nervous too with this lady around. She has such a discerning taste palate. Here’s her write up in case you’re curious to know her dining experience at Maude. http://www.ruthreichl.com/2014/01/my-dinner-at-maude.html
Anyway you know that feeling when something that you feel so passionate about is that very something that you want yourself to succeed in. His new restaurant Maude is Chef Curtis Stone’s life’s passion and I think he succeeded in it. Throughout the evening, I could tell that he was thinking at a pace of a 100 miles per hour, but he remained so humble and kind throughout the evening. I could also tell that he wanted us to understand him through his interpretation of food and wine. Well, we did!
Each course of food was mesmerizing, each bite was an “OMG” moment building up to something more complex that it captivated my palate and delighted my senses. Not one dish disappointment me, not one. My very favorite dish of the evening was the Snake River Farm’s Rib Eye Steak and Beef Cheeks picture at the very top of this blog. My second favorite dish was Duck, Duck, Goose (pictured above), which is a ravioli made with just the yolk of a duck egg and dressed with a luscious smoked goose fat.
Having finally had a chance to experience for myself what the cooking of Chef Curtis Stone is all about, all I have to say is, “Welcome back to the kitchen Chef. Don’t ever keep us waiting for a long time…ever.”