Aida Mollenkamp

Her mission is to inspire creativity in the meals you craft, the gatherings you design, and the food adventures you embark upon.

Author of "Keys to the Kitchen"

Philosophy

With all my work, I aim to be a culinary curator for today's taste hunters, like you!

My goal is to help enrich your everyday and inspire moments of joy, be it via the meals you craft, the gatherings you design, and the food adventures you embark upon. I believe everyone has something to teach as well as something to learn, so I encourage you to create, explore, and share the ensuing adventures. To me, life becomes more fulfilling when I build meaningful relationships with my friends, neighbors, and community. When it comes to the kitchen, I operate on the belief that food tastes better when it's prepared by hand and made with healthy, whole ingredients. I value the rich artisanal culture and the effort and skill required to produce each element at the table. I believe a successful meal consists not only of good food, but also thoughtful design, artful presentation, and of course, fabulous company!

Background

I've been cooking, eating, and engaging in all things food for a long while. As a teen, I followed my passion and attended Cornell University's School of Hotel Administration. There I started dreaming about working for a food publication, so I moved to Paris to hone my kitchen skills at Le Cordon Bleu Paris. My time in Europe included an extended stay in Florence, where I learned to speak Italian, cook the food, and found a more balanced approach to life. I then came across a New York Times article by David Carr that spoke of a new style of food magazine named CHOW. A few months later, in January 2005, I joined the CHOW editorial team. During my five year tenure, I got my hands in everything from researching and writing to recipe development, food styling, and instructional videos, eventually becoming the magazine's Food Editor. Food Network came across my work and "Ask Aida" was created in August 2008. My second show, "FoodCrafters," first aired on the Cooking Channel in May 2010. In "FoodCrafters," I left the kitchen to discover handmade foods from around the nation. I'm currently living in California — splitting my time between San Francisco and my hometown of Los Angeles. My first cookbook, "Keys To The Kitchen," has just been published via Chronicle Books (October 2012). My cooking style is west coast eclectic as I combine fresh, seasonal, whole ingredients with the ethnic flavors of contemporary California. Though my food is rooted in European techniques and Mediterranean ingredients, I take artistic license to mix things up for recipes that are creative, reliable, easy, and healthy. I'm passionate about giving back to the community and work with nonprofits to help kids foster a healthy food relationship. I occupy my remaining free time trying new restaurants, building out my home bar, shopping for antiques, honing my photography skills, dancing, and, of course, cooking.

Aida Mollenkamp is compensated by the California Walnut Commission for her services.