They’ve cooked on ‘Good Morning America’ and with Wolfgang Puck, but for the Twin Chefs there’s no place like Sonoma.
Story Emily Charrier
Photos Steven Krause
Lilly’s blond brow furrows as she taps a finger across her lips in deep concentration. “We’ve got to have polenta for me, that’s a great comfort food,” she says.
The question occupying her mind: What would your death-row meal be, if you could have anything? It’s an odd question for the 16-year-old—who is angelic in both appearance and behavior—but one she approaches with serious determination.
“The entire time I was in prison, that’s all I would be thinking about,” Lilly says. “I would go through so many draft menus. That’s all I would do.”
Her twin, Audrey, takes the opposite approach, immediately deciding that sushi and sashimi, preferably tuna and octopus, would serve as her final food on earth. Their responses reveal the main difference between these two identical sisters: Audrey follows her gut and is quick to act, while Lilly is pensive, more careful to consider her options.
Together, which is how you usually find them, they’re a well-balanced harmony. They share that uncanny bond that allows twins to speak to each other in half sentences and convey an entire conversation with a look. They’ve been debating about food since they were practically in diapers. In one of the Andrews family’s most well known stories, mom Tina Schultheiss had to break up the twin toddlers, who were fighting over whether their yogurt parfait was flavored with citrus extract or zest.
They began taking cooking classes when they still needed step stools to see over the counter. With the help of their parents, they launched twinchefs.com to showcase their recipes and share their love of food with kids around the world. These big personalities in adorable, pint-sized packaging caught the eye of several local media outlets, which eventually led to bigger platforms. By age 10, they had their first of two appearances on Good Morning America, where they cooked eggnog French toast, talked over each other like only twins can and bubbled with enthusiasm.
Their star power was undeniable.
The next year, they were cooking vegan panini with Ellen Degeneres in front of a live audience and millions of at-home viewers on Ellen. They served as “spokes-chefs” for Cuties California clementines and mandarins and cooked alongside celebrity chefs Wolfgang Puck, Michael Chiarello and Bob Blume. Fearless and funny, they have always been able to hold their own when meeting high-profile people.
“It was cool to meet all of these famous people and find out they’re so down to earth,” Lilly says.
Audrey adds, “The public speaking we did definitely helped us in the long run.”
Through all that speaking, they carried the same message: That food can be healthy and delicious. Their passion for tossing out the kid’s menu to help youth develop an adult palate and a taste for nutritious bites has been building since birth.
In 2014, that message resonated with Cooking Light, the monthly food and lifestyle magazine that tapped the then 12-year-old twins to publish We Heart Cooking. The 85-recipe cookbook earned write-ups in the Washington Post and People magazine, along with these words of praise from country star Trisha Yearwood, host of Trisha’s Southern Kitchen: “I ‘heart’ Lilly and Audrey! These young girls are an inspiration to anyone who wants to learn to cook, and they prove that you’re never too young to get started.”
Although they still have a variety of videos on YouTube, lately the twins have taken a step back from TV appearances.
The demands of their education proved too great to allow them time to take off from school to chase talk shows.
“We are still cooking a lot. People will say to us, ‘Oh I haven’t seen you on TV lately,’” Lilly says. “It doesn’t mean we’re not cooking.”
Not only do they write a monthly food column—“The Twins Take-Out Test”—for their high school newspaper, but they also provide monthly recipes in the Sonoma-Marin Farm News (keep an eye out for their May recipe, a phyllo flatbread with herbed ricotta, caramelized fennel and green onions).
And they’re enjoying exploring all of their myriad interests. Lilly has collected six pen pals across the country and practices Olympic-style weightlifting. Audrey keeps busy with AP chemistry, a growing succulent collection and the occasional shopping spree (as the fashionista of the two, she’s known for dressing Lilly, since the girls share one wardrobe).
They both love gardening, and have an expansive plot on their family’s Sonoma homestead where they grow herbs, tomatoes, peppers, beans and other ingredients to fuel their culinary creations. Currently both Audrey and Lilly are searching for summer jobs. They spent last summer working the line for caterer Nancy Nagel, who gave the girls their first professional shot cooking for high-end parties of up to 100.
“I loved it so much, it was so fast-paced,” Audrey beams. “I gained a lot more confidence in my cooking and plating.”
Despite their extensive résumés, they’re eager to work their way up from the bottom of the restaurant food chain. They’re applying for jobs as hostesses and servers, or pretty much anything.
“I honestly just want to work in a restaurant, even if I’m just washing dishes,” Lilly says.
That’s also their long-term goal, to work around food, and to work together. Audrey wants to own a restaurant or maybe a catering service. Lilly’s not quite sure, “but it’ll be food related.”
“We know a lot of people say it’s hard to have a family business,” Audrey says, “but we’re best friends and always will be.”
Getting back to the original question, the twins’ death-row meal reads like a foodie “Best Of” album. Audrey is sticking with sushi as an appetizer, followed by a bowl of Thai tom kha soup, a pulled pork sandwich with pickled onions, beef bourguignon over polenta, a salad of green and wax beans with pickled vegetables, followed by a classic bananas Foster for dessert.
Lilly, after much deliberation, settles on an hors d’oeuvres of raw oysters, an heirloom tomato salad with olive oil and flake salt, polenta with grilled vegetables (extra asparagus, please), with a brioche bun on the side and a dessert of flan and black coffee.