Aarti’s After Party: It All Comes Down to You

by in Food Network Star, July 16, 2012

Final Four - Season 8 Food Network StarAarti 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.

Deep breath.

I imagine there are a lot of deep breaths happening in the homes of four particular people this week. As I type, four separate hearts are probably beating wildly. Four minds may be letting their imaginations run wild. Four souls might be praying for four particular outcomes.

An outcome that depends on a click of your index finger.

Oh, the drama of it all!

Sure, we’ve all seen our fair share of reality competition shows, so perhaps the novelty has worn off, perhaps we’ve grown jaded. But having had my own future held in the hands of others, I’d just like to remind you of what you have the power to do right now.

When I was given this treasure of a job, my life completely changed. There I was, the granddaughter of a rice farmer in a small Indian town, catapulted into the living rooms of people across the United States of America, sharing the food that brings me joy. It was the climax of not just my dream but the dream of my grandmother, an amazing cook, who had died before I was even a twinkle in my father’s eye. Just like that, I was given the opportunity to do a job that I had played at doing when I was just a toddler, arranging my cooking set just so. Little did I know that the Play-Doh chapatis I’d rolled out before my pretend camera would be great practice for the real ones I’d be rolling out before six real cameras and millions of eyes 30 years later!

Aarti's Winning Moment

In just one moment, my purpose on earth emerged from the mist that had hidden it from view for so many difficult years, forcing me to believe the lie that since I was purposeless, I was useless. As the sheet fell and revealed my face on the wall next to Giada’s and Rachael’s photos, it dealt a crushing blow to that cursed self-doubt that had plagued me my entire life.

It had all the makings of a fairy tale. Except this is real.

See? This isn’t just a small decision you hold in your hands. This is a big deal. You get to change someone’s life — for good! You get to be the fairy godmother to these four Cinderellas ! So consider this carefully. If you don’t agree with the winner, but you didn’t vote, then you don’t get to gripe about it.

Final Four

Whether it’s a vote for the quirky rebel with a trademark pompadour and rebellious cuisine whose show promises to fill the gap left by a certain Mr. Brown; or a vote for the chatty Southern belle who has dreamed of this job ever since she decided that she would throw her own parties rather than not be invited to any; or a vote for the chef from New England whose passion for that cuisine oozes out of her skin and whose cooking chops promise to teach us a good deal about good cooking in general; or a vote for the charming Venezuelan whose family stories and clever cooking tips might help us all bring our families (natural or chosen!) around the table every night, it’s up to you.

Choose wisely, America! This is your fairy godmother moment. I can’t wait to see what you decide.

Vote online up to 10 times per day until 5pm on Tuesday!

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Comments (671)

  1. mainegirl says:

    Eric, Eric, Eric! He was the most talented chef of the group and why he was whisked off so quickly is not something I've understood. Perhaps he's already running a kitchen in one of Bobby Flay's restaurants! Marty - continues to be dull as dishwater. Michelle - Nothing remotely New England about her and her voice is unbearable to listen to. Yvan - warm and delightful but not enough cooking chops to carry a show. Justin - If they spend the time and money to produce his show well, he would have the most fabulous, innovative offering in years! (oh, it appeared Ippy was also wearing the lipstick by the last few shows.....just sayin). We'll see I guess.

  2. Judy says:

    It really didn't occur to me that 5pm Tuesday would apparently be Eastern time thus eliminating last minute California votes (like mine)! Having said that I think that this has been a much better season than the prior ones and I think that any of the four finalists have a much better POV than last year's winner (I mean sandwiches every week? give me a break)! Each of the four have much to offer. While I like Martie, I agree with some of the comments that her show would be similar to ones that are already on the network. I actually think Justin would prove to be most interesting as he tries so many different techniques and ingredients. However, the vote comes out, I hope that we will hear from all four of these talented individuals in the future.

    • Food Fan says:

      Ya know, I'm really curious. Imagine next season.
      What on earth will the contestants possibly do?
      If they cook Mexican, people will say we already have Marcella (and I like her).
      If they cook Italian, people will say we already have Giada.
      If they make southern food, people will call 'em a Paula Deen wannabe.
      If they do family meals on a budget, people will say we already have Melissa. If they offer restaurant secrets, people will say we already have Anne Burrell.
      So whats a poor contestant to do?? Be weird n freaky beyond imagination? I hope not. This is another reason why this whole point of view thing, just ends up being over-emphasized, limiting and confining. Good food is good food. Whatever the view. If the view is already being done, again good food is good food---and that, we can never have too much of.

      • Stinky says:

        They still haven't had a show cover how to cook up roadkill...although Justin will probably try that.

      • Smoke_alarm says:

        Vegetarian, vegan, raw food, gluten-free are shows I'd like to see. I'd also like more pastry shows.
        But I agree that the POV requirements are too restricting.

    • BeeGee says:

      The "Sandwich King" makes so much more than sandwiches. It would be worth giving his show a try.

  3. Rainbowofroses says:

    Ippy, Ippy, Ippy!!!!! I loved Ippy and was sad to see he did not make it. Ippy should have a show filmed on a tropical beach and I would watch it. I thought he was great! I would love to learn more about tropical cooking and that is one category that is missing on the Food Network channel. Of the four finalists I will not watch any of them unfortunately. Of the four I would be interested in learning New England cooking and I did like MIchelle's personality and her approach to cooking, etc., however, I would not watch her show because of the nose ring. I cannot stand body piercings or tatoos. Sorry, it is a personal thing with me. I do wish her luck! Hopefully, the Food Network Channel will wise up and bring Ippy back.

  4. Katy says:

    I am glad they gave both members of Team Alton a chance. It made great television. I yelled at the tv when they cut to the commercial. Cliffhanger! Yes, Bob & Susie did the right thing by letting Justin and Martie shoot a pilot. They are such polar opposites, and it was nice to see the bond they formed despite going for the same prize.

  5. Michael says:

    Unless I missed it, there was no indication that each mentor would get a contestant at the end. If so, then they should I have been competing against their team, not the other teams.

    I suspect they did this because they wanted to move both Martie and Justin to the end, but didn't want to leave a mentor out. If they wanted all 3 mentors to have a player, that should have been the rule from the beginning.

    If Justin wins I will watch every week just to see what he comes up with. The other 3 don't seem ready to me, and I won't tune in if one wins.

  6. Michael says:

    Unless I missed it, there was no indication that each mentor would get a contestant at the end. If so, then they should I have been competing against their team, not the other teams.

  7. KiKi says:

    I don't get it either. I think Michele is adorable & interesting. But I also don't get why people like some of the other FN shows/hosts that I don't much care for. Food Matters to us, I guess that's the difference.

  8. Whining FN fan says:


  9. Nu_Chef says:

    Working to Keep America Safe..

  10. Nu_Chef says:

    I use to DVR Guys Big Bites, until he went mostly Vegan on me. Triple D is American's Fav Eats Love every show. Every home cook, cooks Family Style already. Sorry New England, you can keep the mussels/clams. With my own pool & Q, I am already an expert on the Party Grill. $10 dinners are not Good Eats. (Good Eats - I own a great deal of his DVD's). It's interesting only half the time for The Sandwich King. Sorry Aarti, your shows don't appeal to me--at all. Now Big Daddy ~ is pretty good. BUT 1 my favorites include nearly all of ~~ Sandra Lee. I thought the Hawaiian P.O.V. was good. Grab some of that FS talent and produce some shows on Canning. Cooking Game, or Home Raised Stock. IE: Rabbits, Hens, Backyard Fish, Hunting Favorites. Move beyond Cooking, and show some from Home Greenhouse to Kitchen. My compost grows worms for both feed and sale. Backyard Micro Farming, is HOT. You found the talent, Food Network. Evolve around it. My choice for the next network star was Ippy -(Hawaiian). Oops...... so my second choice would be the P.O.V. featuring a different twist on recipes. So, that would be Justin the Rebel. But Martie has the best personality. Now, by the time I got off work-(3 days on 3 days off)- I was unable to vote before the close of the open polls. So Sunday will be another DVR event. Working to Keep America Safe..