61 Facts About Aarti Sequeira


Aarti Lucica Sequeira was born on 19 August 1978 and is an Indian American cook and television personality, best known as the winner of the sixth season of Food Network's reality television show, The Next Food Network Star.


In 2010, after her victory, her show Aarti Party premiered on the network.


Aarti Sequeira had previously worked as a CNN news producer and in 2008 started the online cooking variety show Aarti Paarti.


Aarti Sequeira's family was originally from Mangalore in the state of Karnataka.


Aarti Sequeira had two sisters, and grew up in a traditional Indian Catholic home.


Sequaria was raised in there, Aarti Sequeira was educated in a primarily Indian-attended school in Dubai until age seven, when she was transferred to a British school, which was initially a challenge for her as she felt like an outsider.


Aarti Sequeira participated in music-related activities at school, including choir and playing piano.

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Aarti Sequeira said cooking was a large part of her family's identity, and she credits much of her culinary inspiration to her Indian cultural background and her mother's influence.


Aarti Sequeira's mother started keeping a recipe journal after her own mother died, which inspired Aarti Sequeira to start her own recipe journal starting at age 10.


Aarti Sequeira was exposed to cuisines of other countries, including homemade pastas in the home of her Italian best friend, and Arabian spit-roasted shawarmas her family ate every Friday.


Aarti Sequeira was inspired to pursue a career in journalism after watching CNN cable news coverage of the Gulf War as a child.


Aarti Sequeira aspired to work at CNN and pursue a career like that of journalist Christiane Amanpour.


Aarti Sequeira graduated from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism in 2000, with a degree in Broadcast Journalism, with an adjunct major in International Relations.


Aarti Sequeira worked at the school's student-run radio and television stations as a student, and spent a short time in Washington, DC covering the United States Congress for a local news station in Fargo, North Dakota.


Aarti Sequeira described Medill as a challenging school, but said it helped make her feel tougher, more prepared for challenges, and "like I had something to offer".


Two weeks after her graduation from Medill, Aarti Sequeira started worked as a production assistant for CNN in Chicago.


Aarti Sequeira produced stories about challenges firefighters faced after the attacks, as well as other topics like economic news.


Aarti Sequeira was eventually promoted to segment producer for CNNfn, producing shows for the network and packages for various networks and outlets in the company.


Aarti Sequeira worked for CNN until 2003, and in 2004 moved from New York City to Los Angeles, California, to be near her husband Brendon McNamara, who was pursuing an acting career.


Aarti Sequeira freelanced for CNN's Los Angeles bureau and other outlets, as well as other outlets in the city's entertainment industry, but otherwise had trouble finding work, and began to crave a different career path than journalism.


Aarti Sequeira called this a difficult realization because "it felt like my very identity had vanished", but that she found some solace in cooking.


Aarti Sequeira began working on the production of Sand and Sorrow, a documentary about the Darfur crisis.


Aarti Sequeira began as what she called a "Girl Friday" before becoming promoted to co-producer on the documentary, which was released in 2007 on HBO.


Aarti Sequeira began to develop an interest in cooking during this time, partially inspired by receiving the Joy of Cooking cookbook as a wedding gift, as well as a gift certificate her cousin gave her for a local 12-week cooking program.


Aarti Sequeira's husband enrolled her at the New School of Cooking in Culver City.

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Aarti Sequeira competed in both levels of its professional classes, and interned for chef and restaurateur Suzanne Goin at the West Hollywood restaurant Lucques, but after the experience felt she did not aspire to own or run a restaurant, which made her start to feel "lost" and without purpose.


Aarti Sequeira earned a professional certificate from the school in 2007.


Aarti Sequeira initially found the phrase too cheesy, but he suggested it as a title when she began her online show, and she found it was a good way to help people recognize and remember her name.


Aarti Sequeira felt comfortable working in front of the camera because she felt cooking segments were less pressure than some of the journalistic stories upon which she previously worked.


Aarti Sequeira said these skits helped attract viewers from different demographics to her show, including teenage boys.


Aarti Sequeira said she experienced imposter syndrome in her early years making cooking videos because she had not gone to culinary school or worked in restaurants for a long period of time.


Aarti Sequeira said she occasionally felt she was "not the best person for this job because I'm not your quintessential Indian", not having grown up in the country, an she described her early videos as "almost like doing an experiment; I was doing it because something in me was compelling me to do it".


Aarti Sequeira openly discussed her struggles with self-doubt on her blog, which she later said helped her grow her following.


In part due to encouragement from her husband Aarti Sequeira auditioned to be a contestant on The Next Food Network Star, a Food Network reality television series in which the winner is awarded his or her own culinary show on the network.


In 2010, Aarti Sequeira became a participant on the sixth season of the show, where she 12 contestants participated in cooking competitions and on-camera challenges.


Aarti Sequeira participated in 18 challenges over 10 weeks during her time on the show, and she ranked among the bottom contestants twice, but avoided elimination both times.


The first time she faced possible elimination, series judge and Food Network executive Bob Tuschman said, "You were a frontrunner," and Aarti Sequeira said his use of past tense made her realize she could not become complacent and had to work harder in future challenges.


Aarti Sequeira won several of the weekly challenges, including an Iron Chef-style cook-off competition in the penultimate episode, which drew her particularly strong praise from judges Cat Cora, Bobby Flay, Masaharu Morimoto, and Michael Symon.


In June 2022, six weeks before the finale aired, Aarti Sequeira's name was on a list of chefs on the Food Network website, leading to speculation that she would win and that the network had mistakenly listed her before her victory was made public.


Aarti Sequeira felt more confident about shooting the pilot compared to some of the other challenges, because there was no time limit and it did not involve cooking for celebrity judges.


Aarti Sequeira was selected as winner of The Next Food Network Star, defeating fellow finalists Tom Pizzica and Herb Mesa.


Aarti Sequeira had to conceive 40 recipes in the span of one month for the series, which she described as challenging but "great for your brain because you start thinking creatively much more quickly".


Aarti Sequeira was able to utilize recipes she had prepared and published on her blog prior to appearing on Food Network.


Aarti Sequeira had originally hoped the series would have variety show elements, like her online show, but that did not happen due to time restraints.


Aarti Sequeira Party was renewed for a second season, which debuted in December 2010, and then later received a third season, but was cancelled after about one year.

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In September 2012, Aarti Sequeira was a headliner at the Savor the cCentral Coast, a culinary festival in San Luis Obispo County, California.


Aarti Sequeira hosted the series Taste in Translation and was a co-host on Drop 5lbs with Good Housekeeping, both of which debuted in January 2013 on the Cooking Channel.


Aarti Sequeira hosted Hidden Eats, a Cooking Channel travel series, and was a contestant on the competitive cooking reality shows Cutthroat Kitchen All-Stars and Chopped All-Stars, winning on both.


Aarti Sequeira is a frequent judge on cooking game shows Guy's Grocery Games, hosted by Guy Fieri, and From Duff Til Dawn, hosted by Duff Goldman.


Aarti Sequeira has appeared on various other Food Network and Cooking Channel shows, including The Best Thing I Ever Ate, The Best Thing I Ever Made, Guilty Pleasures, Unique Eats, and Unique Sweets.


In November 2020, Aarti Sequeira appeared on a special Thanksgiving episode of the Selena Gomez-hosted HBO Max cooking show Selena + Chef.


Since 2021, Aarti Sequeira has appeared as a judge on the holiday-themed cooking reality shows Holiday Wars, and Halloween Wars.


Aarti Sequeira called the book an extension of both her Aarti Party show and the family recipe books her mother made in her youth, and said she hoped the book would be a "gateway drug to Indian food" for non-Indian readers.


Aarti Sequeira was working on a new cookbook as of August 2022.


Aarti Sequeira released a book My Family Recipe Journal: With Prayers and Scriptures, inspired by her recipe journals previously made by herself and her mother.


Aarti Sequeira intended for the book to allow others to document their own culinary traditions and flavors.


Aarti Sequeira has been married to actor Brendan "Bren" McNamara since 2003, The two met when they were both attending Northwestern University, where McNamara majored in theater studies.


Aarti Sequeira suffered from post-partum depression after giving birth to Eliyah, and the experience led her to become an advocate for women suffering from post-natal mood disorders.


Aarti Sequeira has been involved with the organization Postpartum Support International.


Aarti Sequeira enjoys music, Middle Eastern dance, and visiting art galleries.


Aarti Sequeira is active on the social media network Instagram.