Wonderland Sweets & Things owner/Robinbite Intern Aimme Chen
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Inside the Fridge welcomes bakery owner and nutrition student (what?) Aimme Chen

Aimme is the newest member of the Robinsbite team! She started her internship with us a few weeks ago and one of her very first assignments was to-you guessed it-give us a peek inside her fridge.

Aimme,  a dietetics student at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, VA.,  uses her knowledge and passion of nutrition to help others incorporate healthy diets and small indulgences into their everyday life.   Currently, Aimme owns and operates Wonderland Sweets & Things, a bakery that focuses on catering and creating one-of-a-kind treats for special occasions.   Aside from whipping up delicious desserts, Aimme enjoys playing the piano, pilates, and watching movies. Follow her on Facebook and Instagram!

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Where do you shop for food?

When I’m at school, I shop at the nearby supermarkets such as Walmart or Martin’s. There is a local farmers’ market on the weekends and it’s located downtown, which I love going to. Unfortunately, since I don’t have a car, I don’t get to go to the farmers’ market as often as I’d like, but I still try to maintain freshness and variety in my diet regardless!

At home, I love Whole Foods wholeheartedly.

Do you love food shopping or dread it?

As a dietetics student and someone who has always had a passion for food, grocery shopping is one of those things that is very calming and therapeutic to me. When I’m stressed during finals, I will make a trip to the supermarket and wonder along the aisles. Once, I went to Walmart with a fellow Dietetics major friend just to “get a few fresh fruits for the week” and we ended up spending several hours store hopping, looking for new products, nutritious foods, and comparing labels. So I love food shopping, especially to pick up small indulgent snacks or ingredients to make a new recipe.

What is the single most important thing on your mind when you are shopping for food?

At this stage in my life, budget is definitely a big factor! But in general, I would say high nutrient content (as well as freshness!).

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What is your weekly food budget? 

I try to keep it under $50 when I’m at school, since I have a limited meal plan and I like cooking my own food, as well as bringing lunches. At home, I usually buy “specialty items” or things I need for my baking projects, which I set a budget of $20-30 for.

What convenience product can you not live without?

I love my Fire Roasted Tomato and Olive Oil Triscuits! They’re so versatile and I can pair them with hummus, salsa, sardines… Oh sardines, that is another staple I adore.

 

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What cooking utensil/piece of equipment/appliance do you live for?

I have grown to appreciate the Kitchenaid mixer my dad bought me for Christmas a few years ago so much. Initially I barely used it because I was too lazy to clean it, but now as my baking skills have become more advanced, I can’t imagine making macarons or whisking a meringue without my mixer!

When you hear the word “homemade” what is the first thing that comes to mind?

“Homemade” conjures up images of a freshly baked pie coming out of the oven! Something about pie seems like home to me, especially with a homemade crust and the aroma of delicious berries.

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What food/s are important when recalling food memories?

Because I grew up in Beijing with my grandparents, a lot of the foods I remember fondly as a child were traditional Chinese dishes. Dumplings, spring rolls, authentic stir-fries, and the big cake with real butter and cream I would get every year for my birthday. Roasted duck is also an emblem of Chinese cuisine and I would eat it as a special treat with the rest of my family on celebratory occasions (although now I am vegetarian!).

What are your go-to food/nutrition/culinary/cooking website/s, book or cookbook?

I really like Deb Perelman, the foodie extraordinaire behind Smitten Kitchen! I also follow David Lebovitz and the French Pastry School. For baking inspiration and other nutrition sources, I tend to jump around all over the Internet, but a constant favorite has been Amanda Rettke from i am baker.

 What was the last meal you cooked from scratch?

I was inspired by a recipe I saw in the Food section of the Washington Post! I made farfalle with green pea and feta pesto. I pureed green peas, scallions, a little bit of chopped garlic, and feta in a food processor to make the pesto. It was delicious topped with some roasted walnuts, plus a little bit of salt and pepper.

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If one person could cook for you tonight, who would it be?

I would love for Jacquy Pfeiffer (famous French pastry chef and co-owner of the French Pastry School), to create a buffet of desserts for me… plus a few savory items on the side. Chef Pfeiffer’s recently published book, The Art of French Pastry, offers great tips for beginners and advanced bakers alike in the journey of creating delectable French pastries.

What are you working on these days that you’d like to tell us about?

I have devoted myself to baking a summer of pies and perfecting my skills at making a homemade crust from scratch! I also recently began an apprenticeship at Amphora Bakery to learn a variety of tricks in the baking world and I am starting to co-write a novel with one of my close friends.

If you would like to be on Inside the Fridge, please contact Aimme – aimme@robinplotkin.com

 

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