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Aarti Sequeira

  • Indian chef
  • Born August 19, 1978

Aarti Lucica Sequeira (born 19 August 1978) is an Indian American chef and television personality, best known as the winner of the sixth season of Food Network's reality television show, The Next Food Network Star. As a result of that victory, her show Aarti Party premiered on the network on 22 August 2010. Following Aarti Party, she went on to host Taste in Translation on Cooking Channel, in which she seeks out the most popular dishes from around the world. She had previously worked as a CNN news producer and in 2008 started the online cooking variety show Aarti Paarti.


I'm going to scream this from the mountain top, there's no such thing as 'a curry.' There's six kazillion different kinds of curry. When someone asks how to make chicken curry, I have to ask 'Which one?'




It was improv that really helped me start coming up with recipes and just believe in my instincts. That's why the first recipe I made up was 'I Ain't Chicken Chicken' because I finally felt bold and fearless in the kitchen, which was an entirely new feeling for me.




I simplify the spices. I'm the same way as everybody else: if I look at a recipe and there's ten spices in it, I'm going to have to think long and hard about when I'm going to be able to make that... so I try to simplify the spices to three or four.




I started cooking seven years ago for real, and I started with pasta, and lasagna and roast chicken. Very normal American dishes. When I turned on Food Network, or any sort of cooking channel, that's what people were making. So that's where your education comes from.




Indian food has been huge in the UK forever and ever, but that's because it has a historical rooting. America, I think is really ripe for it. There's been so much interest in Indian culture.




So many of the recipes that I come up with have a story. I'm a blogger. It flowed very naturally out of me, but I also knew this was a way to set my recipes apart. A, they are always using interesting ingredients but B, there is always a story behind it.




I think there is a real misconception about Indian food being super spicy. And I know that's because when you go into an Indian restaurant, it is pretty spicy. But it doesn't have to be. In fact, my husband can't handle a lot of heat. I've had to temper my cooking so that he can eat with me.




Quinoa is great for lazy day cooking because it's packed with complete proteins, but it cooks in only 20 minutes. And, you can flavor it any way you wish! I make mine with onions, lots of ground ginger, turmeric and coriander, and then whatever dried fruit and nuts I have around.




I'm encouraged because you pick up any food magazine and there's two or three recipes involving Indian spices.




I've always wanted to be someone with credibility, and I want my food to speak for myself.




The food in south India is the food that I really love because it reminds me of home.




I'm more comfortable weaving Indian flavors into American classics.




I don't cook fancy every day. I don't think anybody can, nor would it be very good for you.



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