Twin Chefs: The “Toddlers & Tiaras” of the Food Show World?

By on Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

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.

Written by Elina Shatkin

Elina Shatkin is West Coast editor for Toque as well as restaurant critic and staff writer for LA Weekly. Shatkin was a staff writer at the Los Angeles Times and has written for a variety of publications in print and online. She's the co-founder of the incipient food blog Guzzle & Nosh.

5 Comments

  1. Amy Zavatto says:

    Agreed. I think I grimaced the entire time I was watching this; and I felt compelled to call SAG. Or just wish for them a life full of non-scripted, spontaneous moments and parents who allow their kids to just be … kids. Yeesh.

  2. I actually feel the need to look up their local Child Protection agency rather then watch this again.

    Don’t we have enough fame- whore parents out there pimping out their kids? I guess not

  3. Sara says:

    “the whole thing reeks of a desperate attempt for fame”

    You got it.

    I was in shock looking at their website today. I actually found this post by googling because I wondered if anyone had called them out on it. It is SO obviously not written by children. None of it. I hope it doesn’t actually catch on and get an audience- pretty pathetic parenting.

  4. Patti says:

    My daughter was home from school yesterday and we watched them yesterday on Good Morning America and thought they were great. What is wrong with them???

  5. Had Lilly and Audrey been basket ball stars with supporting parents giving them the best coaching around we’d all hail them. Instead, two girls with a passion for cooking are ripped apart by a bunch of adults.

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