Hawaii-born sisters rock the kitchen
Isabella and Olivia Gerasole have turned their James Beard-awarded Web stardom into "The Spatulatta Cookbook," and have just been signed for a PBS TV show.
When the girls were born at Castle Medical Center 12 and 9 years ago, neither their mother, Heidi Umbhau, (also born at Castle), nor their father Vince Gerasole, then anchor-reporters for KHNL, could have predicted the family industry that would sprout up around their daughters. The family lives in Chicago now.
"I would love to be able to tell you that this is all highly organized," Umbhau chuckled.
The cookbook released last month is an outgrowth of the girls' online cooking show, or Webcast, at Spatulatta.com. It was the idea of a neighbor, documentary producer Gaylon Emerzian.
The Webcast won a James Beard Award in 2006, the first year the category was added to the luminary culinary awards, making them the youngest-ever James Beard honorees.
Dad Vince was also nominated that year as a features and food reporter for CBS-owned-and-operated WBBM-TV. He didn't win, but was so stoked for his daughters, "it was a great feeling," Umbhau said.
Within three months of the award, five book offers poured in. They chose Scholastic because it is a well-known, kid-focused brand and "they have been awesome," she said. Besides, what parent hasn't looked through Scholastic circulars the kids bring home?
The Webcast was nominated again for 2007 and didn't win, but the girls got to present an award at this year's James Beard gala.
The Webcast, award and book netted Belle and Liv a 13-week commitment for "The Spatulatta TV Show," its working title. WTTW-TV will produce the half-hour show that will be distributed to PBS affiliates, Umbhau said.
Not yet in the pipeline, it's too early to say if the show will air locally, said PBS Hawaii CEO Leslie Wilcox.
Spatulatta TV "will still be a cooking show, still done on our 'set' ... our kitchen, but some of it is going to be out in the field," to show how food gets to the table, said Umbhau.
Viewers will see the Gerasole girls with the six Holm girls of Eau Claire, Wis., working their dairy farm. Guest chefs will appear and the show will feature other kids and their abilities, she said.
Incidentally, Liv wants to be a veterinarian and Belle is practicing to be a playwright.
Umbhau can shepherd her girls through this pre-career career because she is a media trainer who serves PR firms as an independent contractor a handful of times a month.
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