Attention, foodies! There’s a contestant who specializes in Indian food on the current season of The Next Food Network Star (Sundays 9p/8c.)
Aarti Sequeira is a Los Angeles-based food blogger and the host of Aarti Paarti, her own Internet cooking show. After working as a journalist for a few years, 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 about Sequeira’s journalism career: 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. 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.”
It gets a bit emotional at 1:48 as Sequeira describes what winning would mean to her parents, who live in India:
I am very curious to see the kinds of recipes Sequeira will 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 she used here.