I first met Aida Mollenkamp at Pamper Me Fabulous Event at downtown LA and extremely enjoyed listening to her short talk about quick and easy meals for women-on-the-go. I have to say that more than her short yet informative seminar, I really liked her simple (and realistic) food suggestions and great sense of humour. She made me thought that my readers definitely need to know about her! She knows solutions for women (like me) who needs improvement in the kitchen and cooking department!”
So here my excusive interview with…
Chef, TV Host, Food Writer, Recipe Developer and Food Stylist
Me: Have you always dreamed or thought of being in food business or becoming a host of a TV show someday?
Aida: Looking back, it’s pretty natural that I ended up in food as our family life has always centered on it; however, I wasn’t focused on food as a career until I went to college. In fact, I was planning to become a dancer or doctor until a skiing accident put me out of commission and eventually led me to the kitchen. Once I decided to make a job out of cooking, I found myself drawn to the right-left brain combination that editorial work allowed and I started down the path to become a Food Editor. Becoming a TV host only really came to mind when I started doing videos for CHOW.com and they started getting noticed by the likes of executives at the Food Network.
Me: How did you become a host in Food Network? Can you please tell us a short story about that experience?
Aida: In 2006, we transitioned CHOW magazine from print from to online and we quickly started exploring all the “multi” in multimedia including photo galleries, podcasts, and, eventually, videos. Seeing as I was the Food Editor, I was in some instructional videos and, after a few months, someone from the Food Network approached me and that led to “Ask Aida.” Though I wasn’t explicitly planning to go into TV, I’m happy Food Network encouraged me to do so because I have a blast doing it and love helping people get more into food.
Me: How would you define your style of cooking?
Aida: My food has been coined modern mash-up because, like mash-up music, I combine flavors from all sorts of places and cuisines for new twists on classics. Growing up in Southern California influenced my food a lot because I was fortunate to be exposed to an array of flavors, cultures, and foods. Everything is rooted in European techniques and Mediterranean flavors (www.chow.com/recipes/13462-charmoula-roasted-pork-loin), but I may combine something North African with an Italian technique or Latinize something Asian, such as Indian burritos.
Me: What makes your show different from other cooking shows?
Aida: Ask Aida is really more culinary therapy than anything else because I help viewers find solutions to their cooking problems through show and tell recipes. On the other hand, foodCrafters shows the backstory of artisan producers and encourages people to learn more about what they’re eating. The goal is always the same: to help people learn where their food comes from and to become more adventurous with food.
Me: What is your most memorable experience in the show?
Aida: It’d have to be when I got to make pulled sugar candies at Papabubble for foodCrafters (http://www.cookingchanneltv.com/foodcrafters/treats/index.html). Making candy was one of my favorite things I learned in culinary school and it was fun tapping into those skills to make such beautiful treats!
Me: You mentioned in Pamper Me Fabulous event that you are coming u with a book. Could you please tell us about your book ?.
Aida: The working title for my book is “Keys to the Kitchen” and it is what I call a self-help manual to kitchen. The book is one part kitchen manual, one part cookbook, and one part inspirational as it helps you get out of your cooking comfort zone and conquer the kitchen.
Me: What are you excited about this book or what should we look forward to in your book?
Aida: I live by the belief that every time you eat is a chance for a food adventure and this book shows you ways to bring that adventure to everyday life. It has over 100 recipes as well as hundreds of ideas for how to get inspired in the kitchen and kick up your cooking creativity.
Me: When do you anticipate this book to be out?
Me: Where it will be available? Major stores? Online? On your website?
Aida: It will be distributed through Chronicle Books and available everywhere from their website to book stores and boutiques.
Preview for tomorrow… What are your recommended basic items in the pantry? (MUST-READ!) Favorite Restaurants/Places that you frequently go to in LA and NY? Is there any specific food that you often cook for friends or family and why? General Advice in Cooking or Preparing a Meal? and much more!!!