Aarti’s After Party: Go Bold or Go Home

by in Food Network Star, May 27, 2012

Aarti Sequeira won Food Network Star season 6 and expanded her popular blog into a cooking show, Aarti Party (catch it on Food Network, Sundays at 7:30am/6:30c). As a Star veteran watching from her couch at home, Aarti shares her insider’s take on what went down each week.

When I asked you guys what you thought of this new format a couple of weeks ago, some of you opined that it allowed the “weaker” contestants to hide behind the “stronger” ones. Well, this was the week for you.

For the first time, instead of competing as teams, it was every man for him (or her) self. And judging by the contestants’ performance this week, this paradigm shift did a number on them. Until now, these folks were teammates, brothers-in-arms if you will, cheering each other across the finish line, consoling one another when a fellow soldier didn’t think he or she could make it. In a blink of any eye, the brothers-in-arms were forced to opposite sides of the battlefield.

No wonder so many faltered. I was shocked at the ripple of insecurity toppling many of the Goliaths in this pack: Martita’s characteristic fieriness diminished to a very polite flicker. Emily’s Zooey Deschanel-like quirkiness lacked pop. And Martie? Oh how my heart broke for her, as we watched her insecurities threaten to drown her Southern charm.

Ah, but the intrigue! Others, whose quiet presence I had perhaps mistaken for weakness, took long strides to the front of the pack, making me wonder how I had overlooked them in the first place. Linkie positively shone, with a one-two punch of pitch-perfect delivery and food. Eric, whose resolve to make practically everything from scratch has left me both awe-inspired and nursing an ulcer as the clock ticks away, was elegance personified, both in presentation and on the plate. Hey, when Alex Guarnaschelli tells you she wants to lick your plate clean, that is high praise indeed.

I tried to remember what it is like three weeks into the competition. The novelty of it all is starting to wear off. You’re tired. You are really starting to miss your family. But you’re also starting to forget what “normal” life is like; I mean, the only reason you wake up in the morning is to compete in yet another challenge or face a heart-pounding evaluation. You don’t know how long your day is going to go or what it’s going to consist of. Your emotions are all over the place (not to mention your digestive system!), and you have very little idea what’s going on outside of this Food Network world because you’re quarantined from the Internet, TV and newspapers. What or who is important starts to shift without you even knowing it. Living under a microscope starts to take its toll — paralysis by self-analysis. No wonder your confidence feels wobbly.

Having dealt with confidence issues all the way through Food Network Star, I get it. When Bob told Yvan that, rather than give in to being overwhelmed by the panel of culinary greats seated before him (Scott Conant, Alex, Marc Murphy, the mentors and the Network), he had to feel like he was equal to them, I smiled. He had said the same thing to me. It felt like an impossible switch to make in my mind, or at least impossible in the few weeks we had ahead of us.

Some of you may not relate to Martie’s insecurity about her age, but don’t we all have something we’re insecure about? That one thing that we think, well, if I just had that taken care of, then I’d be all set and I’d really soar? When our head is on straight, we know it isn’t true. But after three weeks of competing, taking harsh judgment and feeling your emotions tugged in all sorts of directions? Those insecurities suddenly seem to have a much larger hold on you. I think this is something we can all relate to, whether you’re competing on one of the biggest cooking competitions on American television or slugging away at your career, your college degree, raising your children, living your life, chasing your dreams, whatever.

So what’s the answer? Ultimately, the very thing that Susie and Bob were asking of the contestants: Be bold. When you start to quiver in your boots, you’re saying, "Hey, I don’t think this is a good idea, either." I believe in destiny, in my Maker having written the plan already. So even when I feel like I have everything to lose, I have to remind myself that there’s nothing I can do to change the outcome; I just have to catch up to it. So why not be bold and roar? You have everything to gain, so go bold or go home – even if you have to fake it. It worked for me!

What did you all think?

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Comments (268)

  1. Food Fan says:

    Just a quickie side-note.
    Nothing wrong with it at all....but I wonder why so many keep posting here when there are now 2 newer threads. Oh well, I enjoy reading al the comments anyway, wherever they are. :)

    • Newbie says:

      Some of us may be older and new to computer skills-
      ok, busted- where are the new "threads"- how do you get there? Does LOL mean laugh out loud-?

  2. Ellen says:

    Okay, so people don't like drama that much. To each his own. My personal opinion is just that it makes the show more interesting for me.

  3. Lauren says:

    Sorry JLF. Justin does a good job cooking, but does he have the personality chops to make it on camera. He needs to cook well AND have a good personality on camera.

    • JLF says:

      I don't know yet if he does or not. He was not interesting to me in the first episode, but his presentation on the tour bus got my attention (in a good way), and his Chopped performance continued the interest. He's not my top choice - that's Emily. But Justin is still on my radar.

  4. Aartie fan says:

    I hate to hear Aartie's show was canceled-she is awesome-warm and personable. Yet that wierd Jeffery guy WHO DID NOT EVEN WIN is all over the tube many times a day on that United tastes of America show. I DVR many food net & cooking channel shows except his. I find him to be akward ,overeager, and just not watchable- I don't know why he makes me cringe.. I think he only got the job because Bob Tuschman liked him and Jeffery reminded him of himself -wake up Tushman- that's no reason to keep the guy- Aartie deserves that kind of exposure MUCH MUCH more. The United tastes show was actually a good concept and a type of show I would watch all episodes of--- if it had a better host.

    • Makemyown says:

      I agree. I really like the United Tastes of America concept (I need help with trying new herbs and spices !) but I was never quite taken with Jeffrey. Too much ! And I really liked Artie but never knew when she was on. All over the place. Someone PLEASE explain to me Melissa D???? I'm sorry but I just don't get the attention she gets...FN Thanksgiving show ?!! 'Guest' judge/mentor/??? last season. I mean really.... she offers nothing new and is annoying !!

      • Food Fan says:

        I dont agree.
        Just exactly HOW is she annoying? You didnt say.
        To me, 17 tattoos would be a turn-off. But she isnt like that.
        I can understand her teaching.
        And she makes things I would actually eat.
        She's friendly and down to earth, and she helps people save money.
        And she does it all without needing an gimmick.

      • FanFare57 says:

        I completely agree with you about Melissa D- . I don't appreciate her concept nor do I like the sound of her voice. It's as grating as her personality. I honestly can't believe she won that year.

    • tarragon says:

      oh yes, I agree. I watch the cooking network frequently and scrambled for the mute button every time his stupid commercial came on for united tastes of america. "NOW I KNOW WHAT A CLOUD TASTES LIKE WHEN ITS COVERED IN SUGAR AND BAKED" **Ultra cheesy smile** they need some new commercials ASAP

  5. Ed Cote says:

    It was time for Josh to go, if not past time. I'm rooting for Emily, though I might watch Justin or Judson if they win. Eric's skills are impressive, I just don't know that he's really a star.

  6. SusieQSally says:

    I agree with some of the other commentators - why is Michelle on this competition at all? Wasn't she already on "Chopped?"
    Don't like Nikki - she seems plastic. And yes, Martie does go on and on about her age, come on, sister, you aren't THAT old.
    My favorite so far is Martita. She has so much personality, but I'm not sure about her cooking. And I love Eric, who insists on making everything from scratch. Not sure if it will work for him in the long run, but he sure is an original!

    • Makemyown says:

      Yes, I agree. Nikki does not appear real...and tooooo much makeup. Adds to her 'plastic' look. Would never watch her. Don't get the feelign that I could learn anything from her and she is not entertaining.

  7. FISCHER says:

    This is my first post this season. I gotta say the contestants this year are better than last years crop. New Format is a bit iffy to me... but whatever. Team Giada def. has the best team. Bobby has the weakest, this week, I was creeped out with the editing with Michelle. Making it look like she has a crush on Giada is bit weird. Glad Josh went home, didn't get him nor his multi-culture influences on his food. My favorite is Martini.
    ALSO, Aarti VERY sad to find your show is cancelled. The Foodnetwork does a crappy job promoting contestants/their shows. TILL NEXT WEEK BLOGGERS! BYE

    • Frank Demeo says:

      Yeah that was totally off-putting. My gag reflexes kicked in. What's with that hair and the way she dresses? It's hardly feminine if you ask me. Wardrobe dept. isn't doing their job....or is there no budget for stylists on the set?

  8. Alisia Nodal says:

    Yes, you are right friend, on a regular basis updating weblog is actually necessary for Search engine marketing. Nice argument keeps it up.

  9. Food Fan says:

    Does anyone know?
    How do we find the "Star-for-a-day" feature on here?
    Somehow, it popped up for two different people before. Hmm. But I cnt find where to click on to bring it for who's featured today. Thanks. :)
    PS--I'm really getting a kick out of watching all of the contestants audition videos! I highly recommend watching them.

  10. Ellen says:

    I have to agree with Cindy. I watched an episode of the Sandwich King. The only reason I did was because it had whoopie pies in it. He didn't have much personality. Plus, he sang a little bit. He had a TERRIBLE singing voice. Please, Jeff, if you're going to sing, make sure you know HOW to sing. Remember Serena? (in Aarti's season)