With a diverse culinary background, cooking expert Aida Mollenkamp has been engaging in all things food for more than a decade. Currently, she is host of the Food Network’s popular “Ask Aida”, where she shares her knowledge of food while dishing out culinary therapy. On May 31st, Aida will debut a second show, “Foodcrafters,” for the Food Network's new sister network, Cooking Channel. In “Foodcrafters,” Aida leaves the kitchen to uncover handmade food finds from around the nation. Growing up with an Italian-American mother and a French stepmother, Aida was fortunate enough to always be surrounded by good food. Eventually, she made her way into the kitchen and discovered her own passion for cooking. In the years since, Aida has worked everywhere from a gourmet deli and California Pizza Kitchen to the Hotel Bel Air and online food magazine CHOW.com.
Having studied Hospitality Management at Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration, Aida worked at Ernst & Young in Hotel and Restaurant Consulting before traveling to Europe to attend culinary school at the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu Paris. While studying in the City of Lights, she book-ended her time with stints in Florence, Italy, where she learned to speak Italian, to cook the food, and to enjoy life – something that has stuck with her ever since. In 2004, Aida graduated with a Grand Diplôme from Le Cordon Bleu Paris.
In January 2005, Aida joined San Francisco-based CHOW.com, a web site created for food and drink enthusiasts. As the Food Editor, Aida regularly appeared in instructional videos for the site, ran the test kitchen, worked as a lead food stylist and developed recipes and story ideas.
When not hunting out the hottest restaurants, searching for the newest artisanal products, or hosting her friends and family at laidback dinner parties, Aida can be found giving back to the community. She lives by the belief that good knife skills lead to good life skills and works with Share our Strength's Good Food Gardens program, helping kids to foster their relationship with food and, ultimately, boost their confidence.