In case the New York Times’ “Cooking with Dexter” column isn’t twee enough for you, we now have “Twin Chefs.” Sooner or later, the lucrative world of food media (I say that ironically and unironically) was bound to crash head-on into the creepy netherworld of “Toddlers and Tiaras.” I’m only surprised it didn’t happen sooner. After all, living out your parents’ dreams for stardom, what could possibly go wrong?
“Twin Chefs” stars Lilly and Audrey (@lillyaudrey), two “identical twin culinary explorers” (i.e. 8-year-olds) from Northern California, in a DIY online cooking show. They “cook” very distinctly non-kiddie food: an apple tart, butternut squash stew, polenta. It’s great to see kids eating things that aren’t dinosaur-shaped or enhanced with Red Dye No. 5. And it’s not like Lilly and Audrey aren’t adorable. They are.
Something Ain’t Right
It’s just that between the slick website, the parents standing off-camera prompting them with cues, the recipes that were (I suspect) largely prepared by adults and the ultra-creepy “About” page obviously written in first-person by an adult pretending to be a child (“Since then our passion has grown for all things in the culinary world”), the whole thing reeks of a desperate attempt for fame. (In fact, we debated whether to write about “Twin Chefs,” because we worried that even by critiquing it, we give it a certain legitimacy.)
We all want our precious little snowflakes to blossom and grow and follow their dreams. This, however, seems less like an authentic outgrowth of these girls’ love for food and more like a calculated attempt by pushy stage parents (Hollywood movies have taught us: Are there any other kind?) to groom their children for Food Network stardom.
Aside from the creepy-ness of the whole endeavor, I have to wonder: Who’s the target audience for this show? Other children? Adults? Grandma and Grandpa? “Twin Chefs” is the online equivalent of a stranger shoving their baby pictures in your face. Sure, the kids are cute. Who cares?
I’m happy to see kids excited about food. I’m happy to see anyone promoting fun, healthy eating for kids. But “Twin Chefs” just makes my skin crawl.