After the successful appearance of Adam Richman of Man vs. Food at last year’s State Fair, more celebrity foodies will show up on the Chevy Court stage this year. Chef Curtis Stone, the so-called Cake Boss, Buddy
Valastro, who appears Wednesday, Aug. 21, at 2 p.m., and the Food Network’s Pat and Gina Neely, appearing Sept. 4 at 2 p.m., just add to the smorgasbord of attractions at the annual 12-day expo.
Stone was available for an interview via email only, not our favorite way to operate, but it’ll have to do. Stone, 35, answered questions from his native country of Australia, where he was traveling to visit family and friends and work with a supermarket chain there on ways to encourage their customers to cook with fresh, seasonal and sustainable ingredients. He will be appearing on the Chevy Court stage on Saturday, Aug. 27, at 2 p.m.Q : When did you decide food would be your vocation?
A : I was 4 years old. I used to cook fudge with my grandmother and she’d let me measure out all the ingredients and lick the bowl—which of course was the best part. I started a business course at Victoria University in Melbourne, but it didn’t take long for me to realize I wanted to be cooking and not stuck behind a desk.
Q : How do you keep things fresh? A : I stay inspired by visiting new cultures and trying new cuisines. I think all chefs should travel as much as possible. It’s an amazing way to learn and stay engaged in cooking.
Q : How did you enjoy your experience on Take Home Chef and were you sad that The Learning Channel dropped that show?
A : Filming Take Home Chef was amazing and it really changed the way I think about cooking. It’s one thing to know things about food and fine dining and another to understand the challenges people face when cooking every day for their families. When you see a mother with a 3-year-old screaming and running around the house and another baby on her arm, you know you have to give her recipes that are simpler and much more approachable. It’s always sad to end a show, but thankfully I can still catch an episode in syndication on the OWN network.
Q : I noticed in that show that you always gravitated toward a cute girl at the supermarket. Did you ever help a guy out once in a while?
A : Sure! The guys were great fun—they knew they were going to score major points with their girls for cooking a fantastic dinner.
Q : What will you be doing at our State Fair? Is this a shtick you have practiced, or do you just wing it?
A : I don’t want to ruin the surprise, but I will say that we have a great one-hour demonstration planned. I do a number of demos throughout the United States, but they’re always special to the place I’m in.
Q : Do you plan on eating any of our food while you’re here? Have you been to Syracuse before?
A : I’m going to be pretty busy at the Fair, so I’m not sure how much of the food I’ll get a chance to try. While I’ve never been to Syracuse, I’ve had the great pleasure of traveling all around America, and now that I call Los Angeles home, I’m closer to all my favorite stateside spots.
Q : Did you know that fried food is considered a separate food group during the run of the Fair? How does a foodie such as yourself reconcile that fact with your gourmet sensibilities?
A : I’m not a huge fan of fried food myself, but I know that it’s a treat for a lot of people. The key is balance. While you don’t want fried food to become your entire diet, it’s OK to indulge once in a while. Just be sure to hit the gym later.