Q&A with Chef Curtis Stone
Curtis: The worst meal I've ever made was for my sister. I was running a new restaurant in Chelsea, in London, called Bluebird. ... They had this big, old fire oven, and it hadn't been used for a couple of years. The old chef had just left it there, and no one had used it, so I just assumed that it hadn't been used because he couldn't be bothered or whatever. So I said to my sister, "Come in. Bring all of your girlfriends, and I'll cook all the food I'm going to put on this new menu."
I wanted to see how hot this oven could get, so I'm burning loads of wood in there. I had it cranked, and she arrived, and they sat down and got their glass of champagne and some bits. ... Then, all this smoke was coming out of the flute of the oven, and I kind of thought, "It must be because it hasn't been used for so long," and it progressively got worse. What had happened was there wasn't an appropriate fire void above the oven, so it started a fire in the ceiling. I almost burned down this incredible, AAA-rated heritage building all in the name of cooking this massive meal for my sister.