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  • Writer's pictureStuart Benson

Pint-sized podcasters interview PM's head chef

By Stuart Benson

When life gave them self-isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic, Wakefield sisters nine-year-old Scout and seven-year-old Beatrix started their own ‘Banana Phone’ podcast to keep in touch with old friends and learn something from new ones.

With help from their creative producer, editor, director and mother Ilka de Laat, and their technical producer and father Joe Wenkoff, both of whom have spent most of their careers in television and production, the girls have already released four episodes of their podcast on Spotify.

“My husband and I have worked in television mostly for our careers but this is our first time podcasting,” said de Laat. “The majority of my husband's career has been in post-production for television and commercials, so we have a background in audiovisual.”

De Laat said they already had most of the equipment from working with local bands to produce music videos and were already subscribed to Adobe, which meant all that was left to do was transform their garage into a podcast studio for Scout and Beatrix.

The garage also helped the girls and De Laat come up with the name for the new podcast, taking inspiration from one of the photographs Wenkoff had taken in New York City in his days as a professional photo-journalist.

“Our dad took a picture of a guy in New York City holding a banana up to his ear,” Scout explained.

“In the beginning, we wanted to bring people to the garage for the interviews but because of COVID we had to change it to a call-in show so it's also a reference to that as well,” De Laat added.

In the four episodes the girls have released so far, Scout and Beatrix have interviewed local children’s band Butterfingers, their teenage cousins who live in Hamilton, and some of their friends who have travelled the world as well as their dad about all of the places his career has taken him.

Executive Chef Che Chartrand
Executive Chef Che Chartrand

Their latest episode is a food-themed episode, with an interview with their friends Annabella and Camila about Ecuadorian food, as well as the feature interview with the Prime Minister’s executive chef Che Chartrand. Their latest episode even featured the girls’ first ad-read for local business

“We come up with a general list of questions and go over them beforehand but they also have the freedom to ask questions on the fly,” said De Laat. “Scout usually comes up with those.”

De Laat isn’t just biased because Scout and Beatrix are her daughters’ either, the two are very entertaining interviewers, including when Scout manages to work in a request to see if Chartrand will ask Justin Trudeau to listen to their podcast.

Scout and Beatrix already have their next two episodes planned, including one on sports like horse riding and gymnastics and another on animals and pets-which the two are excited for most as they can talk about their own pets: a frog, a lizard, a guinea pig, an eight-week-old kitten and 19 fish.

You can listen to all four of the Banana Phone podcast’s last four episodes at, as well as on Spotify. They also have a Facebook page at where you can find a recipe for Ecuadorian Rice from episode four.


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