Waz and Lenny


    Warren Murray and Leanne White, hosts of a cooking podcast called "Crash Test Kitchen," at work in their home in Queensland, Australia.

    To watch Warren Murray, 34, and Leanne White, 32, make sponge cake is to hear the silent screams of Julia Child's dear, departed spirit. About 45 seconds in, they add two tablespoons of butter instead of two teaspoons, and it just goes downhill from there. Waz (as Warren is known) and Lenny (that's Leanne—it can be difficult to keep husband and wife straight) aren't professional chefs. They're copy editors at the Guardian newspaper in London. But their ham-fistedness in the kitchen is exactly what makes them great hosts.

    Their show isn't a conventional cooking show. It's a video podcast called Crash Test Kitchen , and it's their sheer fallibility, their humanity, that makes the thing work. Waz and Lenny don't have the wizardly air of a Mario Batali or a Martha Stewart. "We have always tried to steer clear of the temptation to make it a Web version of a TV cooking show, with the old here's-one-we-prepared-earlier fakery and everything always turning out right," Waz says. Lenny says, "We try to be honest in our portrayal of cooking, so ordinary people feel brave enough to have a go at it." The sponge-cake episode is "probably the unintentionally funniest episode we've ever done," Waz says. "The thing was like trying to eat a sofa cushion." The episode ends with Waz furtively eating the ruined cake out of the trash. Even culinary daredevil Anthony Bourdain might have been scared to try that.

    They don't sugarcoat the stresses of the marital kitchen, either. "The bickering and disputes between Lenny and me seem to be part of the appeal," Waz says, "so we mostly leave that stuff in." The Web is a two-way medium, and their fans offer both culinary advice and unsolicited marriage counseling. One viewer called Lenny a "nagging housewife." ("I took it waaaay too seriously and was really cut up," she says.) Some viewers are even more assertive. "There have been some not-so-subtle come-ons towards Lenny," Waz says, "and we've been asked whether we will be filming future episodes in the nude."


    —Reported by Jeremy Caplan and Kathleen Kingsbury/New York, Susan Jakes/Beijing, Jeffrey Ressner/Los Angeles, Grant Rosenberg/Paris and Bryan Walsh/Seoul