Places in the heart: Curtis Stone

Summer holidays at Apollo Bay on Victoria's Great Ocean Road gave celebrity chef Curtis Stone treasured family memories — and his first kiss.

When I was about seven or eight, our family — my dad, brother, stepmum and stepsister — started going to Apollo Bay for holidays. We went nearly every summer for about 10 years and had an absolute ball.

It was a typical Aussie holiday spot, with the main drag right on the ocean. The beach was stunning and the foreshore is where I had my first kiss, which is a special memory. I also spent a lot of time in the pinball arcade.

Every year we stayed at the same little motel behind a pub. The motel was one of those iconic places where rooms face a square surrounding the car park, pool and barbecue area. Dad would always burn the sausages and I used to give him a hard time about his cooking skills.

The pool was the centre of the action and we made friends and got to know everyone staying there.

Back then, people didn't go out for dinner as much as they do now, so going to the pub for dinner was exciting. There were two pubs on the main street and we'd have the fisherman's basket and chips or the roast of the day. The ''theatre'' of going out and the excitement of ordering was lovely, simple stuff.

One time when we went to a restaurant, my brother and I ordered the lobster thermidor. Dad nearly fell off his chair in surprise.

My stepmum was a keen horse rider and we explored the trails through the beautiful hills of the Otway National Park.

I want to take my own family along the Great Ocean Road to the bay because it's a place of such beautiful memories and I want to share it with my wife Lindsay and our son, Hudson.

Interview: Mal Chenu. 

This series of articles produced with support from Tourism Australia.

Share your Australian Places in the Heart with Australia's 3.7 million Facebook fans at