The first time I met Executive chef Curtis Stone, was on a Princess Cruise at his SHARE Restaurant onboard the Emerald Princess ( JUSTLUXE review, Nov. 2018, Luxe Beat Magazine review, and NBY News ).
I reviewed his restaurant Maude in Beverly Hills in 2016, for the Beverly Press, before he earned well-deserved Michelin star. I also excitedly wrote about Gwen, a collaboration with his brother, Luke.
So when I learned that real estate developer Rick Caruso announced a collaboration with the tall and handsome Aussie chef at The Grove in LA, I looked forward to it’s arrival on September 14. Little did I know that Stone’s Picnic Society by Gwen was having a kick-off event on the rooftop Level 8 of The Grove, for a Drive-In movie experience, and I was invited.
Then to make the moment even better, this affable celebrity chef and restaurateur greeted me and personally handed me a picnic basket through my car window with his mask on.
We chatted for a few minutes about how crazy it is right now in the world with the pandemic, and how much fun it was to dine at SHARE on the Princess Cruise ship.
While my husband and I sat in our car to watch Season 2 of FIELD TRIP with CURTIS STONE, we nibbled on cheese, meat, bread, chips, pickles, popcorn, spreads, waters, and sweets, as we followed two episodes of Stone’s global culinary journey.
Curtis and friends travelled to Spain, Italy and Australia, foraging mushrooms, herding cattle and diving for pearls to discover delicacies on land and in the sea. Originally, the show was about how Stone gains inspiration for his menu at Maude. Now due to COVID-19, Maude and Gwen are open as a marketplace, and not as sit down dining experiences, so the Picnic Society’s four-month exclusive residency at The Grove, is exciting for both Stone and Caruso.
“I’m thrilled to welcome one of the finest chefs in the country, Curtis Stone, and his exceptional team to The Grove” remarked Rick Caruso, Founder and CEO of Caruso. “With several of his concepts in Los Angeles garnering Michelin stars, I’m truly inspired by his creativity and ingenuity in the kitchen as well as the innovative concept he plans to introduce through Picnic Society.”
The Picnic Society takes over the former Dominique Ansel two-story space offering a full-service eatery with al fresco dining on the ground floor patio and upstairs on a bohemian and elegantly campy terrace. Plus there is a gourmet picnic market for fans to pick up food and beverages to take for a picnic on the lawn.
“The world has changed in recent months, and so has the way that we enjoy food and come together. I began thinking back to the stories of early 19th century gatherings of ‘picnic societies’ in Europe,” said Stone. “With good food and the right company, you can really make anywhere in the world your restaurant, and I look forward to elevating this experience for the Los Angeles community.”
The menu is influenced by Stone’s critically acclaimed, world-class butcher shop Gwen in Hollywood, with highlights including salad Nicoise, lobster roll, juicy burger, and steak frites and mustard. Pick up includes a curated selection of spreads, cheeses, charcuterie, vegetables, and delicacies. The al fresco-ready menu offers pre-made baskets, miniature tables, blankets, and cutlery for a social distance outdoor picnic experience. Cocktails, beer and wine are available.