As the husband of a Canadian diplomat, Cameron Stauch has travelled the world and had the opportunity to explore, in depth, the local cuisines of Hong Kong, India, Vietnam, and Thailand (where he is currently based). It was during a three year posting in Hanoi, Vietnam that he was inspired to write his first cookbook, “Vegetarian Vietnam”. Based on recipes devised over centuries by Mahayana Buddhist monks and nuns, his book features spicy, tangy, crunchy, and sweet dishes ranging from soups and noodle bowls to main courses with rice and stir-fried vegetables to desserts and fruit drinks. In these pages, Cameron shares light, flavourful recipes that draw on the full range of Vietnamese herbs and spices.
In between his family’s postings abroad, Cameron spent six years in the kitchen in Ottawa at Canada’s Rideau Hall as one of the cooks to three Governors General of Canada. He has cooked for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh, the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall; the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and the Emperor and Empress of Japan, to name a few. He describes his personal cooking style as “cooking globally and sourcing locally” and particularly enjoys learning about local ingredients and meeting the people who grow, produce, and cook local flavours wherever he may be living. “Vegetarian Vietnam” (March 2018) is published by WW Norton Press.
What is your favourite restaurant?
Any South Indian restaurant that has a really great version of Onion Rava Masala Dosa.
What is your favourite cookbook?
Cafe Boulud Cookbook by Daniel Boulud for learning how to refine traditional dishes into restaurant dishes; Cooking By Hand by Paul Bertolli for focusing on techniques and ingredients; Hot Sour Salty Sweet by Naomi Duguid and Jeffery Alford for reminding me that some of the best cooks in the world are not found in restaurants but in homes or on the streets.
What is your guilty pleasure food?
Really good ice cream.
What food did you think was over-rated until you tried it?
White truffles – confirmed to me that they are highly over-rated.
Favourite knife or kitchen tool?
A sharp knife
What restaurant dish seemed the most intimidating but is actually really easy to make?
The first restaurant dish I ever learned. Duck confit from a French bistro in Montreal.
Favourite ingredient you can’t get enough of right now?
Fresh tofu skin, also known as yuba.
What is a new technique/flavour you are experimenting with currently?
Thai flavours and ingredients.
Are there any recipes from SCS you still use?
Lemon tart from Rundles
What is your best SCS memory?
Cooking with Stephen Durfee, then pastry chef from The French Laundry and then 15 years later re-connecting with him when I was speaking at the CIA’s World of Flavours conference in Napa Valley and he was one of the instructors assisting the conference chefs. He’s still one of the best pastry instructors in North America. So humble and knowledgeable.
Check out Chef Cameron’s recipe for Young Jackfruit Salad (Goi mit Chay) on our blog!