'If we're shooting, my day will start in Los Angeles. I stagger out of bed at about 8.30am; I'm not a morning person at all. I live in a nice complex. It has a beautiful pool and I go straight there for a swim. It's a two-pronged attack as it gives me some exercise and the cold water wakes me up. That's followed pretty sharply by a strong coffee; I'm a big coffee drinker. Fresh fruit is how I kick off the day food-wise. I'm a grazer - I eat all day - so it's the start of a lot of eating. My assistant will come and pick me up and we'll go to the set. We usually roll up at about 10am to the car park of a grocery store. It could be anywhere; we don't find out until the week before. We'll meet the crew - it's a funny situation because there are about 20 people just standing there in a parking lot but we've got to be discreet because we don't want anyone to know what's going on. I go to the trailer and get my make-up done, which is always interesting for a chef. It's weird. You live your life in a kitchen, working with a bunch of blokes - it's quite a macho industry - then you find yourself getting your make-up done every day. We have producers who stand in front of the supermarket and ask people going in whether they're willing to be filmed. Legally we have to - you know America. If they're up for it we'll tie a ribbon to their shopping cart but we don't tell them what the show actually is. We'll start rolling the tape at about 11am and I'll walk into the store with the crew following me. I wander up to people, try and get them by surprise. I offer my skills as a chef. The only prerequisites we insist on are that they have the entire day free and someone to cook for that evening. Once I find a consenting person we've got to do a bit of logistical work and I've got about an hour to come up with the menu. We can't walk up to someone in the supermarket and say, 'I'm going to cook you the most fabulous meal, anything you want' and then not come through with the goods. We've done 140 shows and had three courses for each, so that's 420 recipes. The longer we do the show, the more challenging it gets. Everybody wants chocolate souffle but you can't do it again and again. You've got to constantly try to develop dishes people are going to love and that are still fresh. I'll start thinking about the dishes and [my assistant] will type out a quick ingredients list so I know what to shop for. We'll carry on shopping, me and the person I've just met, then drive to their home. That's always interesting because the whole show's about people being revealed. You meet them and think, 'I wonder what sort of car you drive, what sort of house you live in, what your husband looks like.' It's quite a voyeuristic way to live. You never know what you're walking into. We've cooked in tiny little places and also in some that looked like the White House. Once we get to the home, the crew will set up the lights and we'll break for lunch. They have a caterer come for us, which is lovely. I usually try to have a little fish and vegetables, something to give me plenty of energy, because we're on our feet all day. I'll also do a little work - I've got a company in Hong Kong that produces homeware and we'll be on the phone for half an hour. We're normally not back [working] until 2.30pm. We go for it all afternoon in the kitchen, trying to get the dishes as far progressed as we can before whoever's coming home gets there. When they do, we camp around the front door, which is a tense moment - it's an ordinary bloke coming back from a day's work and the last thing he expects to see when he opens the door is 20 people and me standing there. We've had only two bad reactions. One guy was just funny about the whole situation; he couldn't believe nobody phoned him or told him. The other guy had this incredible pad in [Los Angeles suburb] Bel-Air with Picassos on the wall - some serious money - and I think he was a bit disturbed there'd be all these people running around his house. To take the anxiety out of it all, I pour [the couple] a glass of wine and let them spend a bit of time together. Then I run back to the kitchen and knock the rest of the meal up. We give them a nice, intimate dinner for two, watched by 20. Usually they have a lot of fun. We're probably filming until about 9pm and then I'll go out and get dinner. I eat absolutely everything, so it changes daily. I always thought America had crap food - pizzas and hamburgers - and never really gave it any credibility. But it's got all these incredible cuisines. We shot half a dozen episodes in New Orleans and Cajun food was completely different to anything I've ever experienced. After dinner I'll go home and relax. I don't go out often but when I do, it's a bit of fun: Hollywood and all the bells and whistles that come with it. I love living in LA because there's so much to do. It may be a beach day, there are brilliant hikes and you're right on the cusp of the desert. I love Asian food. I love the way freshness and seasonality is so important to Asian people, because that's what I've always believed in. You pick that up from working in good restaurants. The better the restaurant, the harder it is to make money. We're in such a strange time at the moment - we're just not being sustainable. There's a throwaway mentality towards a lot of life, and it's changing, but I think it needs to change much quicker. Doing something in a sustainable way is often simple. I was saying to someone who cooked me dinner the other day that it was such a beautiful thing to come over to their home, to have a glass of wine and a chat. I appreciated it so much that they went to the effort when we could have just got a pizza. That's the cornerstone of life: there are smells coming out of the kitchen and you're sitting there anticipating this great food. [Cooking] is such a nice thing to be able to do. It's the art of giving.' Curtis Stone's Take Home Chef airs on Fridays at 8pm on Discovery Travel & Living, replayed on Saturdays at 9am.