Attention, foodies! There’s a contestant who specializes in Indian food on the current season of The Next Food Network Star.
Aarti Sequeira is a Los Angeles-based food blogger and the host of Aarti Paarti, her own Internet cooking show. After beginning her career as a journalist, Sequeira’s life took a Julie and Julia-esque turn after her marriage:
A few years later, a freshly-married Aarti moved to Los Angeles, with no job prospects. Cooking dinner for her husband, actor Brendan McNamara (director and cameraman on Aarti Paarti, as well as fellow popcorn jig-er!) became the highlight of her day. She worked her way through both The Joy of Cooking and her mum’s carefully typed out recipes, each dish turning out just a little better than the last. She began to fantasize about each night’s dinner, usually as soon as she had finished her lunch, which she had fantasized about when she finished breakfast, which she’d fantasized about since going to bed the previous evening (seeing a pattern here?).
Here’s an interesting fact I found out about Sequeira’s journalism career while researching this post: she was the co-producer of Sand and Sorrow, the 2007 documentary about Darfur that was produced and narrated by George Clooney.
Watch a clip from the season premiere below. It gets a bit emotional at 1:48 as Sequeira describes what winning would mean for her and her parents, who live in India:
During her introductory package Sequeira said that her goal is to “simplify Indian cooking and make it easy for the average person. I cook rustic family meals with a lot of specific Indian spices. Garam masala, turmeric, cardamom pods.” Yum!
I am very curious to see the kinds of recipes she’ll come up with over the course of the season. The first dish she made on the show was a very simple rasam. You can find the recipe here.