Michelin star chef Curtis Stone is a busy man.
“The espresso machine is my best friend,” he said. “I have a crazy schedule and drink a lot of cappuccinos. I’ll start with one before the family wakes up, have a few during the day before service starts at the restaurants, one or two during service, and may even wrap the night with one.”
That’s not surprising, considering he’s running award-winning restaurants (including his newest, Gwen Butcher Shop & Restaurant in Hollywood), partnering with Princess Cruises to run a six-course dining experience at sea, and serving as head judge on the Emmy-nominated show “Top Chef Junior.”
But Stone never loses his enthusiasm for food — or the tools used in his kitchens.
The smarter kitchen
“The smart kitchen is going to be something a little out of “2001: A Space Odyssey” — sleek, simple, and effortless,” Stone said. “We’re already getting there with appliances that range from ultra-quiet dishwashers, side-sliding oven doors, and refrigerators with various temperature controls.”
Smart, Internet-of-Things-connected appliances have been creeping into kitchens for years now, but the newest generation of these tools offer some incredibly useful features, from blenders that count the calories in your smoothies, to ovens with built-in guided cooking systems that help you ensure every meal is perfect, and WiFi-enabled slow-cookers that can be monitored and adjusted via a phone app.
As a professional chef, Stone is well aware of what’s happening with smart appliances and he’s appropriately excited.
“I’ve been working with Bosch for a couple of years now and they are innovators in moving the kitchen into the future,” he said. “Voice-activated faucets, trash cans, and microwaves, as well as devices that pair with our smartphones, are already hitting the market.”
Smart refrigerators are a new appliance Stone is raving about
“They modulate to specific types of ingredients — keeping your cheese from smelling like the fresh salmon in the neighboring drawer, or preventing your vegetables and fruit from over-ripening,” he noted with excitement.
When it comes to cleaning up, things are getting more efficient and environmentally-friendly.
“Speed cycles and adjustable rack space are improving as well,” Stone added, “which is beneficial to energy conservation and optimal storage.”
Stone has some simple advice for people who wish to be better home chefs.
“I think planning meals ahead takes some of the headache out of cooking — doing any prep in advance, using leftovers wisely, and preparing meals together and using it as a bonding time, all make time in that space more enjoyable.”
And the new technology can also help.
“Consistency is a huge component of successful cooking,” Stone advised. “Products like the Instant Pot and sous vide sticks are making that precision for the home cook that much easier.”
For Stone, smart appliances are important not just for their professional results, but because they augment what he thinks is the most important room in the house.
“We have hectic lives and there is a sense of urgency to get dinner on the table,” he said. “The kitchen is the room of my home where people gravitate — to eat but also to share and create memories, and enjoy each other’s company.”
For Stone, there is one aspect of the kitchen where he sees room for technological improvement.
“I’m not sure how you’d do it,” he said, “but I’d love for somebody to figure out a way to take out the trash for me!”