about this blog

Who is the Food Network Addict? He's the guy serving up the latest news and gossip on your favorite celebrity chefs. From Rachael Ray to Ina Garten, Paula Deen to Giada, he's got you covered. Stop by daily and feed your addiction.


blog advertising is good for you.

Friday, August 1

Food Network Addict Interview: Aida Mollenkamp

Aida Mollenkamp is the host of the new Food Network show Ask Aida. For the past several months, viewers have been able to upload videos to the Ask Aida site with their culinary questions. Viewers can also email and text their questions, and Aida will answer some of them on the show.

Aida obtained a Grand Diplôme from Le Cordon Bleu Paris and also serves as CHOW.com's food editor. I recently spoke with Aida by telephone.


How did you get involved with Food Network and this show?
I’d been working at CHOW for over three years doing all kinds of content, from writing recipes, to stories, and video tips. Food Network saw the videos and were interested in talking to me. They’d been kicking around the idea of Ask Aida for over a year and when we met we realized this interactive show fit with my personality.

You’re a trained chef and have done a lot cooking videos online for CHOW. Was this your first TV experience? How was the transition?
It was my first TV experience. I definitely was daunted by the whole thing, but I’ve been a ballerina and performer, so I was up for the whole thing. We teamed up with a fabulous producer, Irene Wong, who worked with Giada [De Laurentiis] in the past. She really worked with me, putting me through “hosting boot camp” if you will.

I watched a preview clip online and in it you got an email question, a text message and a phone call. Were these actual viewer questions?
We took the viewers' questions into account when creating the theme of each episode. Some questions didn’t require an entire cooking demo, like “what’s the difference between salted and unsalted butter,” so sometimes I'll just answer them while I'm cooking.

Your show isn't really "live." Think you'd ever have a show featuring live questions, ones you hadn't heard beforehand?
I'd definitely need to ease into something like that. Doing a show is such a big process—everything from creating your recipes to learning your lines and long, long hours. Everything you saw on Next food Network Star was what I went through, I just wasn’t filmed. I think Sara Moulton did a fabulous job on Cooking Live. To do something similar would be an honor, but huge, huge shoes to fill.

I don’t know if you watched the finale of The Next Food Network Star, but there's some buzz online about how Adam's show pilot incorporated the element of answering questions via the Internet. Would you mind setting the record straight about the similarity to your show?
People don’t always realize how long it takes to make a show; there are so many different elements that need to come together. We’ve been talking about [Ask Aida] since the end of Fall/early Winter last year. Ask Aida was well, well underway when Star was being filmed.

I saw you recently shot a national commercial with Sunny Anderson to promote both of your shows. How was that experience?
It was so much fun. I had heard such wonderful things about Sunny before I met her, so I had big expectations [laughs]. It was kinda "host love at first sight." The two of us just totally clicked. We were basically just playing around onset all day, and from what I’m told they were able to capture that. We’ll see very shortly how the campaign turns out. It was a lot of fun.


Noah Starr is your “tech guru” on the show who goes through the various questions and picks ones to ask you. How did he come onboard and how is it working with him?
It was kind of like a speed dating service. They set me up with a group of potential sidekicks and I spent about 5-10 minutes with each one. It got narrowed down very quickly. Noah and I had very similar senses of humor and personalities. It’s helpful to have him sorting through questions so I can cook, plus he'll just ask me questions off the top of his head, which I think adds a nice dimension to the show.

Did you shoot in New York at Food Network?
I couldn’t do them at Food Network because Iron Chef was being filmed [laughs]. It would have been nice, though. They have such beautiful facilities and kitchens.

You currently live in San Francisco. How has the commuting back and forth to New York been?
I’m a huge traveler, so I don’t usually mind the hours it takes to travel. Well, it really didn’t bother me until a few weeks ago when I was on the JFK tarmac for about 5 ½ hours, and I was like “this is not the most convenient thing.” CHOW has been great about it. It’s been a really nice interplay between the two [jobs], because they complement each other yet are so different.

Are there Food Network shows or hosts that you watch and/or admire?
I didn’t really have a TV until about a year ago, but I’ve always loved dorking out with Alton Brown since I’m a food geek myself. I love all his shows.

You’ve shot 13 episodes of Ask Aida. What’s the next step?
Pretty much just wait and see how it’s received, and in this age of interactivity we’ll find out pretty quickly. The experience was great. Everybody from the camera crew to the producers to the food stylists were all so talented. I’m really hoping that I can continue to work with them because it was a lot of fun.


Ask Aida premieres tomorrow, Sat., Aug. 2, at 12:30pm ET on Food Network.

Images courtesy Food Network

Labels: , ,

 

30 Comments:

At 8/01/2008 1:45 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Since I didn't have Food Network back in the "Cooking Live" days, I found the premise for "Ask Aida" intriguing, and figured I'd give it a shot. And now that she admitted to "dorking out" with AB, she scored big points with this viewer!

 
At 8/01/2008 2:14 PM , Blogger Mark said...

She got a full season already? Mary Nolan only got 6!

 
At 8/01/2008 6:58 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

She's so BLAH and BORING.

 
At 8/01/2008 8:07 PM , Anonymous Erik H. said...

i'll give you 50 american dollars for her phone number!

 
At 8/01/2008 9:43 PM , Blogger Phillip said...

I'm sorry, a real question was actually "What's the difference between salted and unsalted butter?" REALLY? If the questions are as easy/dumb as that, even I have the culinary background to answer! What's next: "The recipe calls for ricotta cheese; could I substitute that with a pound of chicken instead?"

 
At 8/01/2008 9:54 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jacob: You missed the most obvious question: "Are your parents opera fans?" Don't see many people named Aida these days!

I for one am looking forward to this show and will give it a chance. Aida is qualified - you don't get her particular diploma from the Cordon Bleu by doing a couple of weekend stints - and her combined experience in Paris, Florence and San Francisco should give her an interesting "culinary point of view," as Susie Fogelson is fond of calling it.

As for why Mary Nolan only got six episodes, I am still struggling to understand why she got that many. My theory is that Amy Finley really did turn down FN's offer for a re-up, and the network brass pulled Mary's audition tape up in haste to plug in the gap.

 
At 8/01/2008 10:05 PM , Blogger jacob said...

Food Network has been giving new talent 6 episode deals lately. Sunny, Mary Nolan, and Anne Burrell all got 6 episodes and four days to shoot them at Food Network. Aida, on the other hand, did her show with a production company and shot at another studio in NYC not owned by Food Network.

I have a feeling the 6 episode deals to start are mostly due to lack of time and space at Food Network (they only have two studios and I'm pretty sure they only shoot regularly in the big one).

 
At 8/02/2008 2:52 PM , Blogger My Version of the Truth said...

Noah stole the show. Aida was pleasant enough, but I want more of Noah.

 
At 8/02/2008 4:40 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Basic. This is not a show I want to hang with.

 
At 8/02/2008 6:38 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would give the premiere episode a B+. Agree the food was basic but the overall approach was very informative, and the production was smooth and professional. I would definitely watch again.

The only thing that creeped me out slightly was the Noah factor, more precisely the dynamic between the two. Very reminiscent of the "Suze Orman Show," each session of which ends with Suze twirling out the latest Boy Toy floor manager and subtly, or not so subtly, humiliating him. Wonder what really happened to Jeff on that show....

 
At 8/02/2008 7:50 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Her side-kick is the one that deserves the show! He has much more personality. She didn't even answer the question about apple cider vinegar vs. white wine. Aida needs to prep before the show is aired.

 
At 8/02/2008 8:56 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was definitely suspicious of the timing of Aida's show, the commercials airing as Adam revealed his show idea on NFNS. I did hesitate to watch today, but I did. And after about 15 minutes, got VERY tired of hearing "that's a GOOD question!" Duh. My other suspicion came when I saw a new Bobby Flay show called "Restaurant Revamp". Hello??? Can we say "Kitchen Nightmares", boys and girls? And to top it off, is that Aaron in the Neelys set? What's up with all of this? Judging by the commercials, Aaron seems to have lost his "deer in the headlights" look, but I'm saving judgment until tomorrow.

 
At 8/03/2008 9:56 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amen to the above. I was pretty shocked at what a blatant rip-off the new Flay show is of "Kitchen Nightmares" He's no Fuckin Gordon Ramsay, that's for sure. I so hate that prick.

 
At 8/03/2008 1:32 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Those of us who came of age in the Sixties probably aren't as shocked by Ramsay's mouth. I have come to value his programs, more "Kitchen Nightmares" than "Hell's Kitchen" for what they teach me about restaurant management. I'm not in the profession, but it gives depth to my understanding of the field when I do eat out. Knowing what restaurants face just to stay alive, I've become more conscious about wanting to help my neighborhood bistro in the current era of economic distress.

 
At 8/03/2008 6:26 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think Bobby is FN's new Emeril/Rachael. Can you say "overexposure"?!

 
At 8/03/2008 6:47 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

NO, I meant I hate Bobby Flay. HE'S the Prick! I love Ramsay and his show. his autobiography is pretty interesting. he had a horrible childhood.

 
At 8/04/2008 10:13 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Her side kick was the biggest dork I've ever seen on FN. Please get somebody new. How about a hot guy?

 
At 8/04/2008 10:31 AM , Blogger CarolynA said...

Her qualifications are impressive (and I find that I already have several of her CHOW recipes in my recipe collection). But if the point of her show is to combine cooking with answering questions, for goodness sake, ANSWER the questions. Substituting vinegars got a half-assed answer, and the woman asking about marinades vs rubs and types of meat got a "this is what a marinade is for" and "do meat longer than shrimp". From her original question, I'd guess she already knew that. So the premise of the show is, I guess, not answering the questions submitted but using them as a starting point for quick, superficial cooking basics.

To anonymouses above: that "new" Bobby Flay show is from 2005. I remember watching it before. His NEW show is the grilling/chilling one where he cooks with viewers. But doesn't Throwdown them.

 
At 8/04/2008 6:43 PM , Blogger LuckyLexi said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 8/04/2008 6:44 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I loved the show! It was cool and hip and a really cool format. I loved Aida's tech guru Noah, not only is he super funny but he's cute too...I think i have a bit of a crush!
Can't wait to ask a question!

 
At 8/07/2008 8:08 AM , Anonymous James S. said...

i gotta say, i normally wouldn't even check a website out for a TV show, but I had to check out more on this show. Besides Aida being totally easy on the eyes, I did like Noah. I'm hoping they let him open up the comedy on the show and bring him out of that little Tech Cove. Anyway, as a single 26 year old male who just needs a recipe every now and then to impress the ladies....I think this show's a great format. Everyone makes me feel like an old fart for watching the food netwok, but at least now I can defend my habits w/o saying "it's great, BAM!"

 
At 8/07/2008 10:45 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought this show was awful. Good concept, executed terribly. She's obviously attractive, but she seems very artificial. I did not like the popups of the pictures of the people who wrote/e-mailed/videod in. Distracting. I'm not watching to see grainy homemade videos of people in their home kitchens. Did I mention that I thought it was awful?

 
At 8/09/2008 12:43 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

AWFUL, NOPE, My gosh can we just have people with personalities and can cook well. I don't watch foodnetwork hardly at all now. Can't figure out what they are doing. Just go back to good people who can cook.

 
At 8/09/2008 6:38 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, but this show was an absolute bore. She is as well.

 
At 8/10/2008 9:04 AM , Anonymous James S. said...

Liked it even more the second time...

 
At 8/16/2008 12:28 PM , Blogger FNAddict said...

I was interested in why this show concept seemed the same as Adam's idea. Aida's response to this starts 'people don't realize...'. sounds defensive and disrespectful. I don't care what culinary degree she has, she is too young, too thin, and too condescending to be of interest to anyone who is serious enough about food to be watching this network. Susie is going to market to people who don't watch the network at the expense of those that are loyal viewers. Adam, at least would have been funny......

 
At 9/06/2008 1:34 PM , Blogger Hal said...

True, Aida is easy on the eyes, but I agree with fnaddict. From being condescending to the young, thin and everything else.

I won't try and secnd guess the controversy over who came up with the idea for the show first, but I do know this:

Even though Adam Gertner was not the winner of Next FN Star, I think it would be a mistake to let him get away. Lose Aida, bring in Adam. Tweak the show ever so slightly and let Gertner do his thing. He is the true star. I still like Aaron, too... so why not recognize them both as winners?

 
At 3/21/2009 2:25 AM , Anonymous mbarrycarlin said...

Yes, i agree she is a doll. I think she has a great deal to offer a network of reruns. I am 31 and have been in this business nearly half my life, I don't think you should judge unless you live the life! P.S. Aida your're great keep doing what you do.

 
At 9/02/2009 6:15 PM , Blogger Maverick in Paradise said...

Aida is awesome...she has easy, fresh delivery that camera loves her and a great sense of humor; just what you need to do an otherwise rudamentary food prep show. She's got a hell of a lot more personality than allot of the other on-screen talent with food shows on FN....
Hope she gets picked up for another season.

 
At 1/09/2012 1:36 PM , Anonymous posicionamiento web said...

Here, I do not actually think this is likely to have success.

 

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home

CrispAds Blog Ads

twitter


blog archive