2018-08-31 / Front Page

Aussie chef charms Columbia fans

Story and Photos by Cathy Cobbs


Mother and daughter Mary (l) and Nicole Molyneux traveled from Lexington to obtain Curtis Stone’s autograph on his cookbook Good Food, Good Life. Mother and daughter Mary (l) and Nicole Molyneux traveled from Lexington to obtain Curtis Stone’s autograph on his cookbook Good Food, Good Life. News flash from Columbia: Not every celebrity chef is a diva. Prime example: TV host, cookbook author and entrepreneur Curtis Stone.

The “ Top Chef ” judge, who hails from Australia, did several cooking demonstrations in the Columbia area last week at Lowes Food stores, including the newest location on Forest Drive, to promote his cookbook Good Food, Good Life, as well as highlight several products he has developed with the store in conjunction with Thomas Farms Kitchen.

Stone has been on a variety of cooking and reality shows, including “ Top Chef,” “ Top Chef Masters,” and “Top Chef Junior,” as either a visiting judge or the lead judge. He is promoting a spiced beef being sold throughout the Lowes chain.


Curtis Stone gives a cooking demonstration at Lowes Foods on Forest Drive. Curtis Stone gives a cooking demonstration at Lowes Foods on Forest Drive. “Curtis really understands the consumers and develops his products with families in mind,” said Ellissa Garling, head of marketing and development for Thomas Farms Kitchen. “He has been wonderful to work with.”

Stone’s easy conversational style as he cooked beef stroganoff and tacos charmed the crowd, as they asked for tips on making and serving the dishes.

Mary Molyneux and her daughter, Nicole, came from Lexington to meet Stone after the demonstration and have him autograph his cook- book.

“We are fans of Curtis and of Lowes,” said Mary. “ We shop at the store in Lexington, and we love their brownies.”

Bob Hayes, the Lowes director of operations overseeing the North and South Carolina stores, said the rollout of the Forest Acres store has exceeded expectations.

“We are pleased with how the community here has embraced us since we opened, only just a month ago,” said Hayes. “We have been carrying Curtis’s seasoned meat and it has sold really well. Having him here at Lowes has been wonderful.”

Stone said he has had “lots of fun” in the Carolinas, with stops in the Simpsonville store previously, and Charlotte and Los Angeles coming up.

His next television stints include his role as lead judge in “Top Chef Junior” and “A Movable Feast with Fine Cooking,” a PBS show that features dishes from around the world.

Stone will take the American leg as he visits, according to the show’s website, “a number of coastal areas, the bread basket of California, and other destinations in the Pacific Northwest, such as Seattle, Wash., Carmel Calif., and San Luis Obispo, Calif., and down to Santa Fe, N.M., and Taos, N.M., to experience the local flavors of the Southwest with its corn and chilies.”

When asked what he finds most unique about America, the Aussie said he is amazed by the variety of cooking styles throughout the country.

“In Australia, the cuisine is about the same throughout,” he said. “ The United States is more like a continent than a country. The food is different all over. Louisiana is completely different than New Mexico, which is completely different than the south. It’s weird, wacky, and wonderful.”

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