Imagine Kids+Family has cut a deal for rights to the children’s book and digital franchise “Kalamata’s Kitchen.”
The property was born in 2018 as a series of self-published books by co-creators Sarah Thomas and Derek Wallace. The pair have since inked a book deal with Random House Children’s Books for more titles to come in 2021.
“Kalamata’s Kitchen” revolves around an adventurous Indian girl who is eager to try a range of different foods from around the world. The goal is to introduce pint-sized eaters to new cultures through food. Imagine’s kidvid unit aims to develop an animated series for pre-schoolers, among other media ventures.
Stephanie Sperber, who is president of the kidvid arm of Imagine Entertainment, said the property is akin to a kid-friendly version of Anthony Bourdain’s foodie travelogues.
” ‘Kalamata’s Kitchen’ is like ‘Parts Unknown’ with a dash of magic for kids and parents,” Sperber said. “We love that Kalamata, a young adventurous eater with South Indian roots, and her stuffed alligator pal Al Dente, experience different cultures and make different memories all involving the universal act of cooking and eating together. This is a show that brings generations, cultures and tastes together in a way that will get kids wanting to try new foods and new adventures.”
The Kalamata character abides by the Taste Bud Pledge — “I promise to keep my mind open and my fork ready, to try each new food at least two times, and share what’s on my plate when someone doesn’t have enough” — and the franchise includes the “Taste Bud Travel Guide” featuring kid-friendly restaurants offering distinct unusual food experiences.
“Derek and I have always envisioned a partnership that would allow us to bring the mission and movement behind Kalamata and Al Dente to kids and families everywhere,” said Thomas, who is co-founder and “chief imaginator” of Kalamata’s Kitchen. “With Imagine, we have a dream scenario: the talent, passion and true understanding of the impact Kalamata and her Taste Buds can have on the world.”
The property was supported initially by a Kickstarter campaign. It has attracted the support of notable food world personalities including Chrissy Teigen, Padma Lakshmi and Eric Ripert. CAA repped the company in the pact with Imagine.