Whatever Happened To Aida Mollenkamp?

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Aida Mollenkamp is a chef and television personality, best known for hosting the Food Network show "Ask Aida." In this show, which ran for three seasons, the Cordon Bleu trained chef would cook delicious dishes while answering viewers' common culinary questions. The interactive show attempted to make cooking more accessible; the same goal that Mollenkamp has pursued throughout her career as a chef. Since the series ended in 2009, however, Mollenkamp has been largely out of the spotlight. She hosted and appeared on other television shows here and there, but for the most part, she has been focusing on her own culinary endeavors.

So, what exactly has Aida Mollenkamp been up to in the years since "Ask Aida" ended? From writing a cookbook, to founding multiple companies, the chef and entertainer has been very busy. Here are all the details about Mollenkamp's professional life, starting at the end of her Food Network show.

She wrote a cookbook

One of Aida Mollenkamp's first projects after finishing her show on the Food Network was to write her very own cookbook. The book, titled "Keys to the Kitchen: The Essential Reference for Becoming a More Accomplished, Adventurous Cook," aimed to make the kitchen more accessible to its readers. That is why she includes plenty of recipes that are catered to the beginner cook. Mollenkamp didn't want to make things too easy for her readers, however.

While the book is aimed at people who "don't know how to cook but want to," as per the description on Amazon, Mollenkamp also made sure to include a few aspirational recipes so that her readers would always be on their toes. "I wanted something ... I didn't want this book to only be for 101 cooks, I wanted it to grow with you as you matured," she told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The cookbook, which was published in 2012, features a whopping 305 recipes, including brioche bread and slow rise waffles. For a similar recipe, check out Mashed's own buttery brioche recipe.

She founded a food-based travel company

Aida Mollenkamp has also founded her own boutique travel company called Salt and Wind Travel. It intends to bridge food and travel together into one food-oriented experience for the customer. The ethos behind this company is that great food experiences abroad make for more enriching travel adventures, which is why this trip planning service helps with food tours, restaurant reservations, cooking classes, and beyond. In an interview with Hayo Magazine, Mollenkamp said, "The most exciting thing is that we've grown into a community of people across the globe."

In order to do research for Salt and Wind, as well as exploring a variety of other endeavors, Mollenkamp has been doing plenty of her own traveling. She splits her time between California, Hawai'i, Mexico, France, Italy, Spain, and Portugal. She has written a number of travel guides, including tips for traveling to places like Capri, Palermo, and Sorrento. Focused on sustainable travel, she also does plenty of touring around her home state of California, working on guides for places like Mammoth Lakes in central California.

She has had other cooking shows

While Aida Mollenkamp's time on the Food Network ended in 2009 when her show "Ask Aida" finished airing, the chef has done plenty of television appearances since. Most notably, she starred in "FoodCrafters" from 2010 to 2011, a show on the Cooking Channel that showed the behind-the-scenes of many different food entrepreneurs. Mollenkamp also made several appearances on other Food Network shows, such as "Food Network Challenge" in 2010, which is quite different now from what it once was, and "The Best Thing I Ever Ate" in 2009 to 2010.

In 2018, Mollenkamp hosted "Off-Menu," a show created by Tastemade and streaming on Amazon. In this limited series, which lasted for six episodes, Mollenkamp looked for the secret menu items as she traveled; from unmarked restaurants to off-menu specialties, she tried to dine like a local everywhere she went. These locations included faraway places like Paris and Amsterdam, as well as more local stops like L.A. and New York. Suffice to say, Mollenkamp has been very busy, and she is definitely not done with the world of television.

She has been working on her recipe development

Recipe development is probably one of the most important aspects of any chef's career. Luckily for Mollenkamp, she spends a lot of time working on this skill. In fact, she does professional recipe development, not just for her own brand, but for many others as well. She has worked on recipes for brands like Bob's Red Mill (which has a fascinating history), Absolut Vodka, and KitchenAid, in addition to ones for her cookbook, "Keys to the Kitchen," and her travel company, Salt and Wind Travel.

Mollenkamp spends her days recipe testing; in an interview with Grub Street, she gave the example of cooking a number of cherry recipes, including a cherry sangria. "Day drinking isn't really my thing but when it's in the name of recipe development, I don't hesitate," she told Grub Street. Mollenkamp also shared that whether she is testing her recipes or writing, there is always music on. The tunes, however, depend on the activity; she listens to jazz or classical music when she is writing, and always something more upbeat when she is cooking.

She has been honing her wine expertise

In addition to being a professional chef and working on her culinary skills, Aida Mollenkamp is also a huge fan of wine. As a lover of wine and food, she has spent a good portion of her time over the last several years working on her wine certification. According to Mollenkamp, she has earned a WSET level three certification in wine. According to WSET (Wine and Spirit Education Trust), a level three certification is for advanced wine connoisseurs working in the industry and avid wine aficionados.

With a talent for food and a good understanding of wine comes an exciting opportunity; creating food and wine pairings. This is something that Mollenkamp has taken full advantage of through her travel company and beyond. For example, she teamed up with another chef to create a list of wine pairings for California Grown, heralding ingredients harvested locally in California. These included roasted sweet potato chips with whipped goat cheese paired with rosé or sparkling wine, and roasted garlic pumpkin hummus paired with rosé, sauvignon blanc, or chardonnay.

She started a video production company

So far, Aida Mollenkamp has her own food blog and her own travel company. She has written a cookbook, develops recipes professionally, studies wine, and has made appearances on multiple cooking shows. As if all that wasn't enough, the chef and entrepreneur has her own video production company, called Border Free Media. Through this company, Mollenkamp has created content for brands like Visit California, Discover California Wines, and Four Seasons Hotels.

The company was founded by Mollenkamp's business partner, Kristen Kellogg, in 2011, and over the last decade has proven to be a success. Mollenkamp and Kellogg own the company together. Border Free Media is not just a video production company, either; it is also an advertising agency, bringing content marketing and storytelling strategies to their clients. While this might seem like a divergence from Mollenkamp's specialty, it makes sense; to be a star in food media, Mollenkamp has needed expertise in both food and media. This company showcases the duality of her passions.

She has been entertaining guests, and loving it

Perhaps one of the greatest joys of being a great chef is being able to host amazing dinner parties. At least, that is true for Aida Mollenkamp, who spends her time entertaining and helping others to be a great host. Saying that her mantra is "make every day delicious," (via Parade) Mollenkamp loves sharing tips and tricks with her fans and readers for how to make the best of every entertainment opportunity.

For example, she has dozens of blog posts through her travel company, Salt and Wind Travel, that aim to help party-planners out. Some of these include essential food and wine pairing tips. Others provide recipe ideas, while more still give tips on decor and other aspects of dinner party-planning. The chef has also taken to writing articles in publications such as Parade, where she gave her advice and provided some recipe ideas for summer entertaining. "I like to serve an assortment of simple but superb bite-sized recipes so I can please everyone without the commitment of a full-sized meal," she suggested.