“I realized that no matter what was happening in my life, when I was in the kitchen, that was my safe place.” – Aarti Sequeira
ISSUE: Winter 2010
STORY: Janice Jann
Time spent with Aarti Sequeira really is a party. The season six champ of Food Network’s number one series, The Next Food Network Star, is full of life, from her cascading waterfall of dark curls to her lyrical British accent.
Born in Bombay, India, Sequeira grew up in her mother’s kitchen. Though her mom’s flavorful Indian spices surrounded her childhood, Sequeira didn’t try her hand at cooking until she got married and moved to Los Angeles. For years, the 31-year-old had been working as a producer for CNN.
“I couldn’t work because I was waiting for my visa and I couldn’t drive because my husband had a stick shift, so I walked to the supermarket everyday and walked the 15 minutes back,” she says. “It became the highlight of my day.”
After taking some classes at a local cooking school, Sequeira knew she wanted to make food her career. “I realized that no matter what was happening in my life, when I was in the kitchen, that was my safe place,” she says. But how to go about it? Sequeira decided to combine her love of journalism and food by creating an online cooking variety show and blog called Aarti Paarti. This caught Food Network’s attention and the rest is history.
After winning the reality show, Aarti Party premiered this past August and has been renewed for a second season. From packing the perfect picnic to warming up a cold rainy day, Sequeira spices up American classics with a touch of India. But for next season, the cook is going to dig a little deeper into her roots.
“People are asking how to make these really traditional Indian dishes,” she says. “They weren’t asking for fusion. That was so encouraging. I was like, OK, god willing if I get season two, there’s an appetite out there.” And now that she has, keep an eye out for more Indian cuisine and more Aarti. — Janice Jann
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