The holidays are almost here. It’s Christmas Eve Eve! New Year’s is next week! And in the interest of keeping it real, we have to admit — we could still use some help planning things out. Cooking a last-minute celebratory meal isn’t necessarily in our wheelhouse, so we decided to reach out to a pro: culinary superstar Curtis Stone! Stone is a world-renowned chef and television personality, but aside from his busy career, he’s also a father. Stone was kind enough to share with us his top holiday entertaining tips, from his family to yours. So if you’re feeling like you’re in the weeds planning your celebrations this year, you’re not alone — but hopefully Stone’s advice can help.
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SheKnows: If we’re being honest, holiday appetizers are kind of our favorite part of the entire meal. What are some of your go-to appetizers?
Curtis Stone: There has to be something for everyone. Aussies love their seafood during the holidays because we’re in the middle of summer. Oysters and shrimp make for great passed appetizers. And everything tastes better with bacon so wrapping shrimp in bacon is always a hit. Meatballs are another perfect bite, as are crostini, which you can easily adapt for vegetarians, topped with fruit, cheese, and veggies.
SK: What would you suggest for an easy but delicious holiday dinner main entree?
CS: A beautiful roast always makes a nice centerpiece for the table. You don’t have to worry too much about undercooking it as you do poultry and leftovers make for great tacos, sandwiches, and bowls.
SK: What’s your favorite thing to cook during the holidays?
CS: My mum made a delicious pork roast with crackling during the holidays. Juicy with a crunchy skin — it was one of my favorite Chrissy recipes. I’ll still ask her for it when I am home in Oz for the holidays.
SK: What was your most memorable holiday meal?
CS: Really, it’s the company who makes the holiday meal special. I was able to take the family up to Mammoth a few years ago. Snow, skiing, and lots of food. I can’t even recall the exact menu, but that trip stands out as a holiday highlight.
SK: What are the most essential pieces of cookware required to cook a holiday meal?
CS: You can save so much heartache by having a meat thermometer at your fingertips each holiday. There are not many things worse in the kitchen than an under- or overcooked piece of pricey meat. I also recommend having your knives sharpened for quick prep, along with containers for leftovers and plenty of towels, because cleaning as you go can be just as important as the cooking itself.
SK: We’ve chatted a lot about holiday dinners but what kind of holiday breakfasts do you like to whip up?
CS: The boys like pancakes which we typically reserve for weekend breakfasts, as well as smoothies where I can sneak in some nutritious fruit and veg.
SK: We hear that you also offer main entrees that you can order right online. Can you tell us a little bit more about what you offer and what the process of ordering meat online looks like?
CS: The inspiration for my line of meat came from Gwen, my butcher shop and restaurant in Hollywood — beef from Australia, wild shot game birds from Scotland, sustainable pork and poultry from farms in California. I wanted to bring that product to a wider audience, so customers can order things such as an Aussie Beef Tenderloin Roast, a seasoned Turkey Breast Roast, Bone-in Spiral Glazed Ham, and Beef Wellington, all which make wonderful entrees, through HSN online.
SK: Do your kids like to get involved with holiday cooking?
CS: My oldest son, Hudson, is more of the chef and he’s always been interested in cooking, sitting on the corner when he was still small. He even inspired my latest pan design with an edge that makes sliding eggs, sausages, basically anything right out and onto your plate. Emerson, the youngest, is more of an eater. He knows what he likes and he’s sticking to it.
SK: What are some of their favorite things to make?
CS: Hudson is a chip off the old block. He likes steak and has his chimichurri down to a science. Both boys enjoy baking because who doesn’t like when sugar is involved?
SK: What kind of gifts are your kids asking for this year?
CS: Both are really into instruments. Hudson took cello lessons but he’s really getting into guitar. Emerson definitely has the personality of a drummer and it’s what he gravitates towards.
SK: What was the most meaningful holiday gift you ever received?
CS: Time. I run myself ragged all year and slowing down and reflecting on what I have in my life and who is in it will always be the best gift.
SK: How are you and your family celebrating the holidays this year? Do you guys have any fun or unique traditions?
CS: I imagine we’ll be celebrating like most people; keeping dinner small with just the people in our pod. We’ll Zoom family in Australia the evening before because of the time difference and spend the day cooking, playing with new toys, and just relaxing.
Before you go, check out our top foolproof holiday gifts for absolutely everyone on your list: