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Oct. 8, 2016 -- Bowen Island's Hudson Stiver. The 13-year-old aspiring chef appears on Food Network Canada's reality cooking show, Chopped Canada. [PNG Merlin Archive]

Thirteen-year-old Bowen Island chef appears on reality cooking show

Thirteen-year-old Bowen Island chef appears on reality cooking show
Bowen Island's Hudson Stiver. The 13-year-old aspiring chef appears on Food Network Canada's reality cooking show, Chopped Canada. Photograph by: Submitted photo , Vancouver Sun

School is out for the day and coconut beurre blanc is on 13-year-old Hudson Stiver’s mind.

The combination of butter and coconut milk, reduced down to a rich sauce, will be a key part of the supper he’s cooking for his family tonight. There will also be cod, rice and sautéed vegetable, he says.

“I’m going to keep it pretty simple.”

The Bowen Island teen’s culinary endeavours are often more complex and recently took him to Toronto to compete in the Food Network Canada reality cooking show, Chopped Canada. The episode airs Nov. 6.

Stiver can’t share details about his brush with several celebrity chefs or the dishes he created to compete against three other junior cooks (all from Eastern Canada), but he said the experience was a nerve-racking one.

“I was really nervous when I was in the kitchen. Most of my cooking happens here at home, so it was a change to be in a big kitchen,” he said in an interview Friday.

Stiver has been cooking since he was three years old, said his mom Abbey-Jane McGrath. His dad, John Stiver, is a musician and works nights, so father and son would spend many happy hours combing the local seafood and produce markets to make amazing meals.

“We bonded that way when I was younger,” said Stiver.

In grade school, he began reading recipe cards instead of storybooks. At age six, soccer became his passion and took him away from the kitchen for a time. But over the last two years, he’s returned and often makes dinner for his family.

“When he comes home after school and starts cutting onions, we know he’s processing his day,” said McGrath.

Fresh, local ingredients inspire the young chef, who describes his cooking as “West Coast cuisine with an Asian influence.” For a school project this year, he’s working on a cookbook. He loves to explore new flavours and cooking styles — he once experimented with a neighbour’s Buddha’s Hand (a citron variety) and created a delicious ice cream.

Stiver said his favourite food at the moment is Vietnamese Spring Rolls with local salmon and fresh vegetables.

But the teen’s two younger sisters — aged four and 10 — have caused him to be flexible as well. One will “spit it out if she doesn’t like it,” he said, while the other favours Italian food and sweets. “She’s not a big fan of adventurous foods.”

This Thanksgiving, Stiver and his family will head to his grandparents’ home for the traditional meal, which includes his grandpa’s signature mashed potatoes with a cheddar cheese crust. Stiver hopes to help him make them.

 

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