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The Take Home Chef star reveals his secrets for cooking, eating, and living for health – plus his ideal kitchen.

Curtis Stone, as the Take Home Chef on your hit TLC series, now in its second season, you ambush people in the grocery store and follow them home to help them prepare dinner. What’s the most surprising thing you learned from going into other people’s homes?
People don’t have much confidence in the kitchen.

What’s the biggest thing you would change about most people’s kitchens?

The kitchen should be a place you are proud of and want to spend time. Make it nice and surround yourself with beautiful food, natural light, and good music.

Do you have any New Year’s resolutions for 2009?

I am going to learn how to speak Spanish, which will probably turn into something to do with food. If you can get your head around another language, you can get your head around another cuisine.

What’s one food we should all eat more of in 2009?

Fresh vegetables. The other day, I was munching on a raw carrot that was so sweet and delicious. We need to appreciate simple things. Not everything has to be covered in sauce.

In fact, you yourself start every day with a smoothie. Why?

I started a while ago when I was given a great blender. I throw in fruit with orange juice and blend it up. The energy you get from fresh fruit is a great way to start the day. It cleanses the system, keeps you regular, boosts your energy, and rehydrates your body after a night’s sleep.

What about coffee? Do you need that in the morning to get going, too?

I drink two cups a day that I make myself in an espresso machine. Coffee doesn’t have many positive health attributes, but I don’t think it’s terrible if you drink it in moderation.

If that is your worst health habit, what’s your best health habit?

I swim most mornings. I run and then jump in the pool before I start my day. I laugh a lot, too, which I think is important.

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