Local mom-daughter duo’s popular Cooking with Kyssara series wins awards and a third season

Shooting in locations around Alberta and BC, they include well-known guests and reading selections from 11-year-old Kyssara who hosts the show

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When a local mom took to the kitchen with her kids as a pandemic pastime, she soon realized it was the perfect recipe for a children’s TV show. What she didn’t expect was that the show would become a darling on the independent awards circuit as well.

Cooking with Kyssara stars 11-year-old Kyssara Mueller and is written and directed by her mom, Anne Mueller. The show just wrapped its third season which is set to air on Telus Optik TV and the STORYHIVE YouTube channel next summer.

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The show stresses the importance of food in every culture and exposes its viewers to an array of recipes from different countries.

“Food is one of those special things that no matter what culture, everyone can break bread,” said Anne Mueller. “Everyone can share food and share stories together. It’s a common denominator.”

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While Mueller has experience acting and directing theatrical productions, as well as a degree in education and dramatic arts from the University of Alberta, the show was the first time that she found herself behind the camera.

“I am so grateful that it has worked out really well,” Mueller said. “It has been such an amazing experience because I have learned so much.”

Anne Mueller created Cooking with Kyssara, an award-winning series featuring her daughter.
Anne Mueller created Cooking with Kyssara, an award-winning series featuring her daughter. Photo by Candace Woods /supplied

The show has won multiple awards for children’s programming, including Best Children’s Short Film at the Golden Leaf International Film Festival and Best TV Series and Best Young Actress from the Vegas Movie Awards.

In addition to easy recipes kids can make with a little help from a parent, the show features a significant literature element with Kyssara reading for her viewers from a hand-chosen storybook or piece of poetry. Sometimes an award-winning author shares their own food story, such as children’s author Kobi Yamada.

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Filmed in various locations across Alberta and BC, the show also has an adventure segment that sees Kyssara making friends with some pretty heavy hitters in their local culinary scenes including Edmonton’s own Robyn Lockhart of Rockin’ Robyn’s Diner and Gloria Bednarz of The Art of Cake.

Mueller said it’s important the guests showcased on the show are chosen for their “diverse talents and backgrounds”.

Mueller, who grew up in Toronto and settled in Edmonton after graduation, had a career as a child actor with roles in the Canadian TV series Ready or Not and Le Femme Nikita, and still gets to occasionally flex her acting skills in commercials while also playing the role of dutiful parent on the set with Kyssara.

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“I was always involved in the theater and on set,” Mueller said. “I got into drama classes around the age of 13 and I was hooked immediately. I learned best when I was up on my feet. But I have been acting for quite a long time.”

Mueller is using her own acting experience to ensure Kyssara maintains a healthy balance between work, school and other activities.

“(Kyssara) has a lot of lines and the days are long,” Mueller said of her daughter’s time on set. “I make sure she gets a lot of breaks. She has a lot to manage between school and activities but she’s passionate about it.”

Although Kyssara is enjoying her time in the spotlight she admits she wants to be a veterinarian when she grows up. Mueller, on the other hand, is looking forward to making more seasons of the show but is also hoping to make a documentary about some of the chefs she’s met while filming the show.

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Kyssara also shares a similar sentiment to her mom about what her viewers stand to gain from watching the show.

“I hope that they will learn to make a few recipes,” said Kyssara. “I really hope that they will enjoy the readings and poems and I just really hope they enjoy watching it.”

The show was made possible through a grant provided by Telus STORYHIVE that offers independent content creators funds to jumpstart their project, as well as mentorship and a place for their work to be featured.

Mueller is grateful for the opportunity to create a show that reflects her own family values.

“[Eating together] is a really important to do, especially at this time when life seems really fast-paced and busy for everyone. For my family, no matter how busy we are, we always make time to sit together and eat. It’s a time that we actually get to connect.”

Cooking with Kyssara seasons one and two are currently streaming on Telus Optik TV and the STORYHIVE YouTube channel.

yegarts@postmedia.com

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