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Pre-Teens Win James Beard Web Award


This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel.


And I'm Michele Norris.

Rachael Ray, Jamie Oliver and even Emeril, they might want to watch their backs. That's because two Chicago sisters are on their way to celebrity chef stardom, at least on the internet. Last night, Isabella and Olivia Gerasole won a James Beard Foundation Award. These awards are considered the Oscars of the food industry and the sisters' website won in a new category for Best Webcast. It's big stuff and it's even all the more impressive because these two aren't even out of grade school.

OLIVIA GERASOLE: Today we're going to be making a Mother's Day scramblet, and the great thing about this is you only need permission to use the microwave and then you can make it without any adult supervision from others.

ISABELLA GERASOLE: First, we have our egg.

NORRIS: At, Isabella and Olivia teach kids how to cook. In their own kitchen, they run through several recipes for simple meals and explain basic techniques, such as microwaving eggs or measuring flour. And they get help from mom when sharp knives or hot stoves are involved.

Isabella and Olivia are in New York City today. They accepted their James Beard Award last night.

GERASOLE: Oh it was very exciting. We were just so excited to be there. We were very tired though.

NORRIS: Very tired. Now that was Olivia, right? You're 8, and Isabella, you're 10. I understand that both your grandmother and your mother told you both that they expected you to act like little ladies if you won. So, did you?

GERASOLE: Yes we did. We tried.

NORRIS: You tried.

GERASOLE: We were so excited. We couldn't help it. When we got back to the room, we screamed.

GERASOLE: Little ladies are allowed to scream, aren't they?

NORRIS: But you screamed at, back in your room. You didn't scream on stage?



NORRIS: When did you two start cooking?

GERASOLE: I think Belle started when she was about 2. She used to bake with her, I'm two years younger than her so I was very little. But I started -

GERASOLE: Christmas cookies.

GERASOLE: Yeah. I started to cook when I was three. See, it was our first year in Chicago and my dad was making pasta out of scratch -

GERASOLE: With the Pasta Queen.

GERASOLE: Yeah. And I said, oh could I help? And I really, really enjoyed it.

GERASOLE: Olivia is the better baker though.

GERASOLE: Yeah. Belle's a much better cook, but I like to bake. It's fun.

NORRIS: Sounds like you come from a family of good cooks.

GERASOLE: Yeah, we do. My dad got really interested in food, because his dad, our grandpa, used to take him to restaurants all over the place when he was growing up.

GERASOLE: He used to actually own a restaurant in Pittsburgh. And they're all Italian, so of course we love food.

NORRIS: You each have your own personality on the website. Isabella, I was watching one episode. You're fixing a special omelet. You're whisking the eggs and you make this interesting little sound. It's almost like a Count Dracula laugh.

GERASOLE: Well. That's me.

NORRIS: What was that about? You were just in the moment.

GERASOLE: In the moment, yes. We live in the moment. Our mom calls us ham and cheese.

GERASOLE: That's what we were actually — we brainstormed for -

GERASOLE: Yeah, we were thinking of what to call the website and our mom said, how about ham and cheese?


NORRIS: Are the two of you working on a cookbook now? What are your plans for the future?

GERASOLE: Our dad is talking about a cookbook. He's like -

NORRIS: I bet he is.

GERASOLE: Now, wait until we make our family cookbook.

GERASOLE: Right. And our grandmother, she wants to help us write the cookbook. So it'll be very exciting if we ever do publish it.

NORRIS: Well, Isabella and Olivia, it's been great talking to you. Congratulations.

GERASOLE: Thank you very much.

GERASOLE: Thank you so much. Great talking to you too.

NORRIS: Isabella and Olivia Gerasole are the stars of They're speaking to us about their James Beard Award. They're the youngest winners in the award's 16-year history. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.