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Girl Who Began Helping Her Mom in the Kitchen at 15 Months Old, Is Now a 3-Year-Old ‘Chef’ Making Delicious Dishes

Girl Who Began Helping Her Mom in the Kitchen at 15 Months Old, Is Now a 3-Year-Old ‘Chef’ Making Delicious Dishes

(Courtesy of @chefpennykay)

Deborah George

Deborah George

5/31/2024

Updated: 6/1/2024

0

A 3-year-old girl with a gregarious and charismatic personality has been making waves on the internet as she dons her chef hat and whips up delicious dishes.
With help from her parents, San Diego-based couple Melody and David, Penelope Kay began her adventures in the kitchen when she was 15 months old.
Penelope Kay with her parents. (Courtesy of <a href="https://www.instagram.com/chefpennykay/">@chefpennykay</a>)

Penelope Kay with her parents. (Courtesy of <a href="https://www.instagram.com/chefpennykay/">@chefpennykay</a>)

One evening as her mother was busy cooking dinner, Penelope insisted that she play with her instead. Unable to take a break, Melody came up with an idea.
“Our compromise was that she could ‘help’ me in the kitchen,” Melody, 34, told The Epoch Times.
Penelope must have liked this because just a week later, she was in the kitchen again, and the mother-daughter team filmed their first video, making pork chops and potatoes.
Penelope trying her hand in the kitchen when she was 15 months old. (Courtesy of <a href="https://www.instagram.com/chefpennykay/">@chefpennykay</a>)

Penelope trying her hand in the kitchen when she was 15 months old. (Courtesy of <a href="https://www.instagram.com/chefpennykay/">@chefpennykay</a>)

Almost two years later, Penelope’s interest in cooking has not waned, and she spends quite some time in the kitchen.
“However, now that she has more ‘experience’ cooking, she likes to add her own twist to things,” her mom said. “Sometimes that means negating a specific seasoning, adding sprinkles, or measuring spices with her heart.”
The experimental chef has even come up with her own innovative version of a grilled cheese sandwich, incorporating blueberries and goat cheese into it.
(Courtesy of <a href="https://www.instagram.com/chefpennykay/">@chefpennykay</a>)

(Courtesy of <a href="https://www.instagram.com/chefpennykay/">@chefpennykay</a>)

“Seeing her confidence, and knowing I cultivated that by allowing her to make choices and test out her own ideas and experiments brings me so much joy,” Melody said.
Penelope’s latest favorite dish is gnocchi—she loves to make it in endless ways.
“[She] loves any recipe that involves tasting the ingredients first,” her mom said. “She gets a lot of freedom when it comes to what ingredients we add.”
Penelope’s current list of favorite ingredients includes asparagus, ribeye steak, red onions, and all forms of cheese.
(Courtesy of <a href="https://www.instagram.com/chefpennykay/">@chefpennykay</a>)

(Courtesy of <a href="https://www.instagram.com/chefpennykay/">@chefpennykay</a>)

Although Melody has been encouraging Penelope’s cooking adventures, she also stresses the importance of kitchen safety.
“As long as she is being safe, I try to allow her to have a little creative freedom when it comes to the recipe itself,“ she said. ”We talk about bacteria, raw foods, hand washing, and good cooking hygiene.”
(Courtesy of <a href="https://www.instagram.com/chefpennykay/">@chefpennykay</a>)

(Courtesy of <a href="https://www.instagram.com/chefpennykay/">@chefpennykay</a>)

Penelope is also taught to use kitchen tools with a healthy dose of respect instead of being afraid of them.
“She also knows she can never utilize the kitchen without an adult, and we only use kid-safe knives—just to be extra cautious,” Melody said.
Additionally, her mom uses a leaning tower while cooking with her, so Penelope can safely access the countertop.
(Courtesy of <a href="https://www.instagram.com/chefpennykay/">@chefpennykay</a>)

(Courtesy of <a href="https://www.instagram.com/chefpennykay/">@chefpennykay</a>)

Sharing the Joy on Social Media

Since Penelope began to cook, her mother has been chronicling the toddler’s journey on social media. Not long after starting, Penelope became an Instagram sensation, reaching hundreds of thousands of users with her delightful recipes.
Her recent videos of cooking chicken Milanese, chocolate-chip caramel cookies, and ginger-pear upside-down cake have gone viral, amassing lots of comments.
(Courtesy of <a href="https://www.instagram.com/chefpennykay/">@chefpennykay</a>)

(Courtesy of <a href="https://www.instagram.com/chefpennykay/">@chefpennykay</a>)

“This little human is going places,” said one social media user. “I love these videos.”
“I’d rather watch kids cooking, learning, and spending time with their parents than watch another ‘famous’ chef cook any day,” another said.
For the talented toddler’s parents, these comments mean the world.
“We love when someone comments that their kids enjoy Penny’s videos, or when a mom says she is inspired to let her kiddo help out in the kitchen,” Melody said. “Allowing others to experience the joy and happiness we have every day makes it all worthwhile.”

Penelope’s Personality: ‘A Firecracker’

Beyond the kitchen shenanigans, Melody describes her little girl as a “firecracker.”
Despite being petite, Melody and her husband treat her as an adult because of the maturity she displays.
“Quite often people will comment about her being someone’s reincarnated nana, and I would definitely have to agree,” the proud mom said. “She is so wise and has this personality all of her own.”
She has often surprised people with her amusing behavior.
Narrating a recent incident at a restaurant, Melody said that when a waitress asked young Penelope what she would like to order, the little girl “confidently asked for the broccolini.”
“The waitress told me she probably wouldn’t like it because it was charred with sesame oil and feta cheese. But that’s what Penny insisted she wanted—so I respected her decision and we put in the order,“ she said. ”And guess what—she loved it!”
(Courtesy of <a href="https://www.instagram.com/chefpennykay/">@chefpennykay</a>)

(Courtesy of <a href="https://www.instagram.com/chefpennykay/">@chefpennykay</a>)

‘Worth Every Minute’

Melody is grateful for the “bonding experience” that cooking has provided the family.
“I’ve learned a lot about patience, but I’ve also learned a lot about Penny at the same time,” she said.
For those parents who are interested in cooking with their children at a young age, she advised being patient.
“Yes, your kitchen will be a disaster, but your child isn’t going to remember that,“ she said. ”Your child is going to remember that they got to spend time with you, that they helped you, that they accomplished something.
“Cooking with your child is admittedly more work, but it’s worth it. I promise.”
(Courtesy of <a href="https://www.instagram.com/chefpennykay/">@chefpennykay</a>)

(Courtesy of <a href="https://www.instagram.com/chefpennykay/">@chefpennykay</a>)

Since Penelope is only 3, her cooking adventures are just a fun after-school activity.
“Whether or not she becomes a Michelin Star chef one day, the experiences and memories we are making are worth every minute,” Melody said.

Watch the video:

(Courtesy of @chefpennykay)
Share your stories with us at emg.inspired@epochtimes.nyc, and continue to get your daily dose of inspiration by signing up for the Inspired newsletter at TheEpochTimes.com/newsletter
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Deborah George

Deborah George

Author

Deborah is a writer from the Midwest. In addition to writing for The Epoch Times, she also writes for Human Defense Initiative.

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