A young Curtis Stone was first inspired to cook by two very different people – his Grandmother and her Yorkshire fudges, and his best mate’s dad who was a chef living “a rock star lifestyle with long hair and tattoos.” These two influences may have ignited his initial passion for cooking, but it was while he climbed the ranks of London’s highly-awarded restaurants that he developed his cooking philosophy to truly understand, and in many cases see where food originally comes from.
In his role as a Coles brand ambassador, his appreciation and knowledge of the importance of recognising where food is produced and raised, has meant Curtis has proudly supported Coles in their move towards better on-farm animal welfare practices.
With the recent announcement from Coles that 100% of their own brand fresh chicken is now RSPCA Approved, we thought we’d ask Curtis his thoughts on cooking with a conscience.
What’s cooking mean to you?
My life completely revolves around cooking, eating and celebrating food. I care about the food I feed my family and I know Aussie families do too! I’m always pleasantly surprised to hear how many enquiries Coles receives from customers about animal welfare and the quality of food.
What’s RSPCA Approved Coles chicken?
The RSPCA’s higher welfare standards means animals are able to exhibit natural behaviours. So in the case of farming meat chickens, the birds are able to perch, scratch and forage. These natural behaviours means birds are able to exercise, and as a result their muscles change, improving the eating quality of the meat.
How important is farming animals to higher welfare standards?
I believe whether you’re growing fruit and vegies or producing pork or chicken, the more care that’s taken in growing the plant or raising an animal, the better tasting product you’re going to get on your plate. Australian farmers already produce some of the best food in the world and I’m delighted they’re leading the way once again in helping Australian families serve up better quality, better tasting food.
You recently visited an RSPCA Approved meat chicken farm. How would you describe the environment these chickens live in?
It’s always great to get to a farm when I’m back in Australia and you can actually see the difference better farming practices make. The meat chickens I saw on an RSPCA Approved farm had more space to move around, have a longer dark period so they can rest properly, and also brighter light period to encourage them to exercise. They’re also provided with environmental enrichment such as straw to peck and perches to sit on – the simple behaviours that come naturally to them.
Thanks, Curtis! The RSPCA is pleased to be working with you, Coles and its suppliers. With this decision, the lives of millions of meat chickens will be improved which is a phenomenal step towards better farm animal welfare in Australia.