Teen chef Hudson Stiver cooks with love, passion

Meet 13 year-old Hudson Stiver. He is in grade 9 at Island Pacific School and LOVES to cook. Hudson will be appearing on Chopped Canada on Sunday November 6. The Bowen Island Pub will be open to all who want to come watch along with the Stiver family. 

Q - What’s your favourite kitchen utensil? (of all time, or maybe of the moment)
A - My Breville Blender. I love it because it has so many uses. It can make smoothies, soups, dips, pesto, and so much more. I’ve had it now for about four years, and it’s really helped me get more creative in the kitchen so I can experiment and make crazy sauces and dips, such as Carrot Cake Dip, and Chive Chimmichurri.

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Q - What’s your comfort food?
A - My dad’s pasta with salmon cream sauce. It’s boiled linguine, smothered in rich and decadent sauce that has cooked salmon, heavy cream, lemon, minced onions, and garlic. Its comfort food at it’s best, because it’s simple, yet it fills you up, and it tastes amazing.

Q - If you could only have one cook book…  
A - It’d be Whitewater Cooks with Passion by Shelley Adams. I love all of the Whitewater cookbooks, but this one appeals to me more than the rest. I think the reason why, is because this cookbook shares simple recipes that have complex flavours. Examples of these recipes are Lamb Meatballs with Pomegranate Jewels, and Rosemary Sea Salt Brownies.

Q - Who’s your biggest culinary influence, and what did they teach you?
A - My biggest culinary influence, would be my dad. Ever since I was little, cooking was one of the ways that I bonded with my dad. Because he worked many nights as a musician, in the day he’d take me to places like the docks and the produce markets, in order to get the freshest ingredients that we could make for dinner that night. He has taught me many lessons: including never give up no matter the circumstances, always go with your gut, and perfect the basics. However (although he hasn’t taught me this), he always puts so much love into his food, and from that I realised that the biggest lesson my dad has taught me, is to cook with love and passion.

Q - When did you realize you loved to cook?
A - I have been cooking ever since I was three. I started out making salad dressings in order to experiment with different types of flavours and spices. Shortly after, I became in charge of the daily salad for my family, getting to experiment with lots of different vegetables. I got so wrapped up in cooking, that I brought recipe cards to preschool, and read them instead of books. However, for a few years, soccer was my focus and cooking took a back seat in my life. But, in the last two years, my love for cooking has really reached a new all time high. Chopped Canada was obviously one exciting thing I did, but I also got the status of “top chef” in my family and I got a new job as a prep cook at the Bowen Island Pub!! And now this year, I’m going to be creating my first cookbook, that I hope people will like. So yeah, it’s been exciting

Q - Tell me about a culinary challenge, and how you overcame it. (for example, when you had to adapt to a particular diet or allergy, or when you had to learn a totally new cooking style.) 
A - Pastry has been a real tough thing for me to execute properly in the kitchen. I think the reason is because I like going by taste (not really using recipes), and with pastry it’s always exact measurements. If you’re a quarter cup off, it could affect your whole recipe. To adapt to pastry, I’ve been following lots of dessert recipes, but I’ve been throwing in my own twists. My latest pastry creations have been Mini Doughnuts with a Shirley Temple Glaze. I actually thought they tasted pretty good!

Q -  How has living on Bowen influenced your cooking?
A - Having neighbours and other community members who are as passionate about food as I am has really boosted my confidence. What I mean by this, is all of these community members are more than willing to critique my (and other people’s) food, and they usually have some really nice things to say (along with some constructive criticism of course). You can have a conversation about food with almost everybody on this island, and it’s really nice to have a community where people are so open to talk to you about your passions.


Q - What are you cooking/eating lately?

A - Lately, I’ve been trying to make a lot of finger food. My cookbook is going to be about worldly finger food, and how it changes from continent to continent, so I’ve been trying to find out what about international finger food varies. Specific factors I’ve found have played a key part in the differences of finger food, have been texture, flavour, and shape.


Vegetarian Vietnamese Spring Rolls with Peanut Dipping Sauce (makes 18)


Ingredients for Spring Rolls 

1 Red Bell Pepper
20 Baby Carrots or 2 small carrots
9 Green Onions
1 English Cucumber
12 mushrooms
1 med pc. Ginger
3 cloves garlic
1/4 cup soy sauce
18 Rice Paper Wrappers
1/2 a package of rice noodles, cooked according to package
1 kettle full of warm water


Ingredients for Sauce:

4 tbsp peanut butter
3 tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tsp grated ginger
1 tsp minced garlic


1.) Wash, slice mushrooms about 1/4 inch thick. Saute in diced ginger, garlic and soy for 3 minutes. Put aside in a bowl.

2.) Julienne peppers, carrots, and cucumber. Size should be about 1/4 of an inch by 1/2 of an inch. Add to an empty bowl.

3.) Chop ends off of green onions. Peel the outer layer of skin, then cut each green onion in half width wise. Add to the same bowl as the other vegetables. 

4.) Give cooked rice noodles a good rinse, then cut them into bite sized pieces Season with salt and pepper, and add to the bowl.

5.) Pour hot water into a large empty saucepan, that can fit the rice wraps. One at a time, dip a rice wrap into the warm water, for about 20 seconds. Make sure you have a solid grip on either side of the rice wrap, or it will fold and stick together. Once the rice wrap has been dipped in the water, place onto your counter.

6.) Assemble the rice wraps with noodles, mushrooms and a small pinch of the rest of the filling in the middle. Do not overfill the wraps, or they won’t hold together. Fold both of the narrower ends inside the rice wraps, then roll the wide ends over as if your were rolling a burrito, until the rice wrap is fully enclosed. Repeat with all other rice wraps.

7.) For the Peanut Sauce, mix garlic, ginger, and peanut butter in a small bowl. Then add rice vinegar and soy sauce to thin out the peanut butter, until it is your desired consistency.

8. ) Garnish with Fresh Chopped Green Onion and Serve.

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