Ding, ding! When you visit the website Spatulatta: Cooking 4 Kids Online, a cheery bell signals that the fun is about to begin: Isabella and Olivia Gerasole of Chicago, Illinois, use the power of video to teach kids how to prepare tasty recipes.
The cool thing is, the sisters are kids themselves. When they won a James Beard Foundation award last year for their website, these grade-schoolers became the youngest cooks ever to receive recognition from the group. (James Beard was a world-famous chef.)
The idea for the website came from their neighbor, film producer Gaylon Emerzian. Isabella, 11, says when Emerzian asked the sisters if they'd like to help with a cooking website for kids, they knew right away that it would be fun.
"We could do a website ourselves at home and reach kids all around the world," Isabella says. "We get recipes and fan mail from lots of different countries."
The sisters film new segments every two weeks. They set aside four or five hours to work, often while the neighborhood kids are outside playing, and have learned a lot about lighting, filming, and editing.
The sacrifice is worth it, says Isabella: "Sometimes it is hard to fit in, but when you see your finished work on the website, it is the greatest feeling!"
Olivia, 9, has this advice: "If you mess up, it is just fine. I mess up all the time!" She says she's short and often can't reach bowls to stir properly.
She's learned to use a stool and keep trying: "Mess-ups can be frustrating, but you'll get it some time!"
Since winning the award, the girls have been interviewed by television, radio, and newspaper reporters. They've learned that hard work can not only turn out to be fun, but can lead to surprising results.
Isabella and Olivia have also learned that one good idea can lead to another: Their new cookbook will roll off the presses this fall.