Emily knows how – and shows how

November 25, 2022

Emily Webber takes over her mum’s kitchen with the confidence of a young woman who has worked at the bench many times before.

Today the Hutt Valley Year Six student is having fun in the holidays making guacamole and, like Jamie Oliver or Nadia Lim – the television chefs she loves, she is more than happy with an audience. “Tonight, I will make a vegetable dinner,” she says.

Emily, 11, has two YouTube channels – ‘Chef Emily NZ’ and ‘How to Emily NZ’ – filmed and edited by Susan Webber, her mother.

“She likes the fun, and she loves other people watching her videos,” Susan says. Susan takes a lot of care over the editing. “I want people to look at Emily and see her looking professional.”

Susan started making the videos to encourage Emily’s passion for cooking, to show other young people how to prepare food and tackle other life skills, and perhaps find a future career for Emily.

‘Chef Emily’ shows viewers how to make chocolate banana ice cream and chocolate banana waffles. The chocolate theme carries over into her cookie baking too. “I do lots of baking. Cookies,” Emily says.

But it’s not all baking and treats. “We are trying to eat healthy whole food – rather than cut things out,” Susan says.

Baking can be tricky if you are trying to avoid flour that contains gluten. “Because we are gluten-free, we are always experimenting. It’s also very expensive. That is why we try to make our own.”

Susan says Emily is learning about food safety at the same time. “We taste with a clean spoon,” Emily says. And she’s clear about dishwasher protocol. Emily knows that dirty dishes are packed, and clean dishes are unpacked, and she definitely knows who is responsible for each job. Emily’s older sister Bella, 13, packs the dishwasher and Emily’s job is to unpack it.

Susan says Emily has always liked helping her in the kitchen and she has been good at cutting things up since she was a small child. “She loves watching cooking shows. One day she decided she wanted to be a chef.”

“Not a café, a restaurant,” Emily says.

The ‘Chef Emily’ channel includes some visits from Science Emily. There is a video where Emily demonstrates how to make foam bubbles with liquid soap, baking soda and food colouring – first in a small container, then on a large-scale with multi-coloured foam swirling in a paddling pool.

Her second channel, ‘How to Emily’, shows viewers how to make toast, unpack the dishwasher and check books out from the library. Emily reads from a script and Susan says this makes the videos shorter and easier to edit than the cooking demonstrations.

More videos are on the way. Look out for Emily on IHC Media next year.

Caption: Chef Emily loves an audience. She connects with them on You Tube.


This story was published in Strong Voices. The magazine is posted free to all IHC members. Read the full issue of Strong Voices or view more articles.