Exclusive Interview With Next Food Network Star Winner Aarti Sequeira
Meet the host of her very own Food Network show, Aarti!
For the past two months as season six of Next Food Network Star has run its course, we were physically unable to peel our eyes away from the screen as culinary charmer Aarti Sequeira craftily infused curry flavors into pizza and many other everyday foods week after week. With a big tropical flower pinned in her hair and a contagious smile plastered across her face, Aarti’s lovability and cooking savvy was palpable from the start.
It’s no surprise that she took home the winning title and will continue to grace our televisions every Sunday afternoon with her new cooking show, Aarti Party.
What was your immediate reaction when you heard you had won?
I think I was in a slight state of disbelief. I was just so shocked. That very moment was sort of bittersweet because I was so happy that I had won, but I had also grown so close to the final two contestants Herb and Tom, and I was really sad because we all wanted it so badly. I know that something really good is going to happen for them both.
In most competition-based reality shows there’s usually a lot of backstabbing and animosity between contestants, but you all seemed so close. How was it really behind the scenes?
We really were very close. I was so blessed. This year everyone had each other’s backs. Even in winning I knew that they would be as happy for me as if they had won. And that’s what they told me when we went out for dinner afterwards. I said, “You guys, if you if you’re feeling sad you don’t have to put on a brave face for me.” And they said, “No. We’re so happy for you and you deserved to win.” That was just great.
What was the toughest challenge for you?
The challenge that really got to me was when we had to compete after I saw my husband. I was really torn up from seeing him earlier. I just realized I want to go home where it’s easy and I can take my time cooking. And in that state having to deal with “fear” was tough. I had to creatively and “culinarily” make a dish to represent the emotion “fear.” I was just so tired at that point. The great thing about the show is you can look back at things that you’ve done with an outside eye. I had no idea that when I’m scared it shows on my face. Not many people have the opportunity to learn about themselves the way I did. Plus, I’m a very visual learner so it’s been very powerful for me watching.
How do you manage to find such comfort in front of the camera?
There’s definitely some natural gifting there. I also went to school to be a journalist. I wanted to be a reporter, so I had to become comfortable in front of the camera very quickly. I practiced and practiced and had my own online cooking show for the past year that my husband and I did called Aarti Party. Every week for a year I was shooting a cooking show. I can see how much I’ve grown when I go and watch early videos. I am much more comfortable in front of the camera, which was very useful while shooting my new Food Network show!