Mildura Weekly : Friday June 19 2015 Vol 9 No 32
08 NEWS MILDURA WEEKLY FRIDAY, JUNE 19, 2015 By VINNIE RODI MILDURA farmers and fresh fruit growers have found an ally in Cur- tis Stone, with the celebrity chef paying a special visit to the region this week to promote the benefits of buying Australian-grown pro- duce. Visiting as part of his ambassa- dor duties with Coles, Curtis spent close to a week in Sunraysia filming a series of commercials for the su- permarket chain aimed at encour- aging Australians to buy seasonal produce. “Mildura is a real basin for growing produce for the whole country, and it’s good to be here,” he said. The respected chef, author and television personality was joined by a film crew rivalling that of a Hollywood movie set, and shot close to 20 commercials for Coles as part of the trip. Each commercial – set to ap- pear on local screens in a few weeks – will feature a range of well-known Mildura locations and people, while also featuring locally grown produce. Curtis said the ads would also showcase the region to its full po- tential. “We were down in Robinvale yesterday (Monday), while shoot- ing at Coles today (Tuesday),” Curtis said. “I also get the chance to visit a potato farmer tomorrow (Wednesday), so I’m definitely get- ting to see a lot of the region.” Curtis also had the chance to visit international citrus operation ‘Sim Fresh’ on Monday, before film- ing more scenes at one of the town’s iconic homes – ‘The Bungalow.’ “I get a real kick out of visit- ing family farms and operations like Sim Fresh, especially those that have been in a family for gen- erations,” he said. “The whole Sim- onetta family came out to see me, and you could just see how proud they are of what they do.” Curtis said the advertising cam- paign followed his own personal ‘seasonal drive,’ and was aimed at educating Australian shoppers about the importance of buying seasonal produce rather than rely- ing on imported products. “I’m on a huge seasonal drive at the moment, and have been push- ing the concept of seasonality,” he said. “If you are only eating season- ally, than essentially you are only buying locally, and in doing so are supporting local farmers. “Here in Australia we grow in- gredients in abundance... it makes sense to buy something when it is at its best, so for an orange that’s when it’s at its sweetest. “As a growing economy we’re also trying to figure out ways to constantly buy Australian, and there’s a couple of ways to do that, either by extending the growing season, or by trying to educate cus- tomers to buy seasonally. “And that’s what these ads are about. The big message for con- sumers is that they’re the ones in charge. “Every time you spend a dollar – and it doesn’t matter who with – you’re casting a vote, and telling those who grow the fruit, including the growers and retailers, what you want. “So if you’re going to buy Cali- fornian cherries in the middle of winter, you’re telling the retailer that’s what you want, and to keep stocking that product. “My goal is to say to people don’t vote that way, vote this way. Buy citrus right now or carrots be- cause it’s at its absolute best, and is in season. • Continued next page Growers have a rock-solid friend in Curtis Stone CURTIS Stone was born in Mel- bourne, and began cooking with his grandmother, Maude, at age four. He attended Penleigh and Es- sendon Grammar School, and studied a Bachelor of Business be- fore opting to pursue a career as a chef. Since then he has worked at some top Australian restaurants, before leaving the country to work at various restaurants in London. In Australia he started his cook- ing career at 18 at the Savoy Hotel, and upon completing his qualifica- tions as a chef began cooking in London under Marco Pierre White at the ‘Café Royal’ and ‘Mirabelle,’ and quickly went on to become head chef at ‘Quo Vadis.’ On February 1, 2014, Stone opened his first restaurant, ‘Maude,’ in Beverly Hills, California, before returning briefly to Australia to make the travelling cooking show ‘Surfing the Menu’ with fellow chef, Ben O’Donoghue. He has appeared on a number of cooking programs in the UK, including Dinner in a Box, Good Food Live and Saturday Kitchen, while also hosting the first season of My Restaurant Rules in Australia. Beginning in May 2006, Curtis hosted Take Home Chef on TLC in the United States, which went on to become an international hit, while also appearing on Food Network’s Iron Chef America. Curtis has also appeared on several episodes of The Biggest Los- er, while making appearances on The Ellen DeGeneres Show and The Oprah Winfrey Show. He remains one of the country’s most successful chefs both at home and abroad, and has spent the past few years working as an ambassa- dor for Coles, while continuing to be a strong advocate for Australian- made products. Who is Curtis Stone? • FARMER’S FRIEND: Curtis Stone in Mildura this week with Coles 15th Street manager, Anthony Walters, left, and Amanda Cini and Joe Simonetta from fresh fruit growing company Sim Fresh. BELOW: Curtis in the kitchen at Mildura’s historic ‘The Bungalow’ during filming.
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