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Chef Curtis Stone knows eating out just isn't the same.
With the coronavirus pandemic still present throughout the country, restaurants have been faced with many restrictions like limited indoor seating. There's also hesitation from many consumers who are staying home and avoiding non-essential businesses.
But nearly seven months after COVID-19 first introduced social distancing and a new normal, Curtis is teaming up with Wallaby Organic to help restaurants in need.
"We have seen all kinds of restaurants go under already," Curtis exclusively shared with E! News. "From high-profile, Michelin star restaurants all the way down to the little mom-and-pop cafes and diners…No one is exempt from something like this. You can't operate your business the way you used to. You have to keep on trying and figure out different ways that you can stay in business and continue to find the support for the employees that you've had for so long."
Curtis himself has two restaurants including Maude and Gwen Butcher Shop & Restaurant in Southern California. As October kicked off, indoor dining was not allowed in Los Angeles County. According to Curtis, he is not sure when the restrictions are going to come to an end.
At the same time, the 44-year-old has tried to adapt with many new business models in his neighborhood.
"It can't be underestimated just how hard the industry has been hit across the board," he shared. "You have to try and climb back from that whether that's opening a market or doing a delivery service or doing a pop up, of which we have tried all of those things. It is a real challenge."
For consumers who want to support their favorite restaurants, chefs have recommended tipping generously and buying gift cards now to use later when restrictions aren't as tight.
And according to Curtis, restaurants remain more determined than ever before in giving their supporters the best tasting meal possible.
"I think any generosity is super appreciated, of course," he shared. "In the hospitality business, what we love to do is to take care of people. That's what we have always done and that's what we continue to strive for."
Despite the obstacles facing business owners, Curtis continues to try and see the positive. His partnership with Wallaby Organic, the Australian-inspired premium yogurt from Danone North America, has partnered with four Australian-inspired restaurants across the country to pay it forward by providing financial support.
At home, Curtis has savored family time with his wife Lindsay Price and their two kids Hudson, 8, and Emerson, 6. And yes, there has been plenty of time to cook new and old favorites at home.
"You do have to see the good in what comes our way, and for me, the city locked up with my kids and family is a real blessing and also spending more time in the kitchen with them," Curtis shared. "I think the good news is we're spending lots of time with the people that we care about and we're able to do that and that's beautiful and we have to enjoy it while we can."
For those staying home, Curtis' HSN cookware may be the perfect addition to your kitchen. See his picks below.
Curtis Stone Dura-Pan Nonstick 11
"I'm a huge fan of nonstick cookware," Curtis explained. "Grill pans sort of allow you to keep the flavor of grill food going all winter long."
Curtis Stone 3-Piece Nylon Spatulas and Bowl Scraper
"We've seen a real resurgence in baking," Curtis shared. "Of course for that, you just need staples like a set of bowls, a good whisk, good spatulas and all of that stuff."
While the future may be unpredictable for the restaurant business, Curtis isn't losing hope for better tomorrows.
"You have got to really look at all of your available time that you spend off for a solution," he explained. "I would try a number of things. And not all of them work out and that's okay. You need to try different things to know what will and what won't work. But I think really listening to your customers and thinking about new customers that you'd like to attract and working really hard to piece that together is the answer."