Crespo is a Los Angeles-based artist, cookbook author (The Secret Life of Food and Hey There, Cupcake!), founder of Treat Street secret bakery, and creator of Yummyfun Kooking, which comprises a DVD series and a subscription cooking club for kids and families. Yummyfun Kooking stars her alter ego, Yummyclare, a miniature, magical cook with a colorful cast of friends and recipes (Monster Head Potatoes, anyone?). Though ostensibly for children, the show also delights adults in the way shows like Pee-wee's Playhouse and Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood reached across demographics.One of the most impressive things about Yummyclare's kitchen is that it's built into Crespo's home garage. The whole enterprise is infused with DIY ingenuity and a lot of heart. When Crespo became frustrated by television networks who were interested in producing her show but threatened to dilute its spirit, she decided to take matters into her own hands and create and distribute the show herself. With the help of her husband James, a production designer, and friends from the art and production worlds, they built a set using reclaimed wood, painted cardboard, and vintage store finds. There are a lot of secret compartments and inventive design solutions inspired by James's experience living in a small New York apartment. We certainly envy Yummyclare's oven and range, which can slide in and out of the way as needed! It may be densely packed and over-the-top compared to "real" kitchens, but it's the ideal setting for Yummyclare's wacky adventures and food creations. Crespo says she is driven by the desire to encourage imagination and individuality, and we admire her own example. Interview with Yummyclare
- What's your cooking style?
Extremely kooky. Most of my recipes are really edible art projects.
- What inspires your kitchen?
Sid and Marty Krofft. Willy Wonka.
- What is your favorite kitchen tool or element?
- Best cooking advice or tip you ever received:
Chow mien noodles coated with melted marshmallows makes a very realistic bird's nest.
- Biggest challenge in your kitchen:
Being discovered by the human race.
- Biggest indulgence:
A living candy tree.
- Dream tool or splurge:
A magic wand.
- What cookbook has inspired you the most?
The Secret Life of Food by Clare Crespo.
- What's the most memorable meal you've ever cooked in this kitchen?
Monkey Pops (chocolate covered bananas with monkey faces). One escaped and went "rogue" in the yummyfun kitchen. Luckily, the mysterious primatologist, Safari Geoff, rescued the monkey pop and brought him safely back to his family.
Check out the Yummyfun website for video clips, product info, a blog, and all-around fun.
(Images: Emily Ho)