Cook of the Week: Mom and daughter sizzle in online cooking show
Jennifer Loiseau loves to cook with her daughter, Maria, whether it be ravioli or the 7-year-old's favorite, cookies.
This mom-daughter team are not only good cooks -- they're video stars.
Through their weekly online cooking show, "Amateur Kitchen"," this Lake in the Hills pair shares recipes for appetizers, dinners and desserts. Jennifer says they are amateur cooks who want to show how fun it can be to makes meals and make memories.
"You don't have to be a professional chef to cook or bake like one," Jennifer says, reiterating the message she wants viewers to take away from their online demonstrations.
Jennifer admits when she first started cooking, she would follow recipes exactly and wondered how TV chefs always came up with new ideas.
"What I came to enjoy the most was coming up with new recipes and experimenting with different vegetables," she says, adding one such recipe was for butternut squash ravioli with sage butter sauce.
Maria first joined her mom in the kitchen when she was 4 years old.
"I like to try all the yummy recipes and it's really fun hanging out with my mom in the kitchen," Maria says.
Jennifer says the idea for "Amateur Kitchen" started after friends complained they had trouble replicating recipes she had passed along. So she filmed herself to help them. After a month working solo, Maria joined her first video, making ravioli using won ton wrappers and marinara sauce.
"Once she was on there, the feedback exploded. (Viewers) loved seeing a kid get in the kitchen. They loved it. She loved it too, so I thought let's run with it," Jennifer says.
The mom-daughter team films new segments once a week alternating between side dishes, main dishes, desserts, appetizers and drinks.
The videos, which are shot with one camera, have improved with experience and embrace the "amateur" status with bloopers ranging from giggles to a battle with a food processor.
They also publish recipes each week at amateurkitchen.tv. Their archive includes summer bean salad and family heirloom recipes like her grandma's chicken noodle soup and zucchini cake. Maria has helped create kid-friendly dishes such as spaghetti and marinara sauce and peanut butter, chocolate and banana quesadillas.
The pair also explore ethnic cuisines with recipes such as Greek-style chicken with tzatziki sauce. Mom says allowing Maria to see the ingredients and make the dish has encouraged her to try new foods.
"We made a breakfast tart. I thought, 'Oh man I don't know if she'll like this one.' But because she saw bacon went in, she was sold. She ate the whole thing. If I would have sat it in front of her, she may not have tried it."
Maria said her favorite recipes are cookies, especially peanut butter blossoms and sugar cookies. But Maria also is excited to try what could be another kid favorite.
"I want to make homemade colored ketchup that I can dip into french fries," she said after learning a major food company once made colored ketchup.
While Jennifer does not see them jumping to Food Network soon, the pair plans to continue their cooking adventures and hopes more families will join them.
"I just love seeing this grow and getting a chance to create new recipes and sharing them with everyone," she says.