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. Shannon says:

    Kudos to all 4 of them, they all did a good job.

    I hope Ivan gets a show, I know I will watch it, I got a new idea just from his pilot, this is what I am looking for in the daytime programming.

    Justin, good idea for a show, possibly during evening programing. Not for the daytime slot, his food is entertaining and his play off Alton is entertaining..however I will get no recipes from him.

    Michelle, not my cup of tea.

    Martie, understand the concept, but would rather watch Sandra Lee and Paula. Big problem..the dish she made did not seem "easy entertaining". It appeared to be a cocktail party on the show, serve a big messy bowl of shrimp you have to fish around in (pun intended) to serve yourself???? She missed the mark for me.

    • 1Dishy says:

      I disagree. I don't think Ivan has much to offer in the way of good food tips. I know I would never watch him if he had a show. Come on please. Mac and cheese with canned creamed corn? Perhaps you have a large family to feed. Sorry, I don't. And by the way, Sandra Lee? Really? What about Ina Gartner? Alex Guarnachelli? Anne Burell? Do you watch their shows? What about Giada's show? They don't cook food from a can. Even Rachael Ray makes 30-minute meals without using canned goods. I want to learn real cooking tips, thank you. Not short cuts. I think Justin is just brilliant! And what a blessing that he was teamed up with Alton! I hope Justin wins; he has a lot to offer.

      • Shannon says:

        If you had read my musing, I stated I would rather watch Sandra Lee than Martie, their concept is identical..food for entertaining, cocktails and decorating. I do not like Martie, her dish was not good for entertaining at a cocktail party, come on! Ivan, he has a lot to offer, he can cook. I have seen him on other shows and public appearances, he is also a part of Michelle Obama's initiative, trust me he can make budget friendly healthy food for a family. As far as your reference to other Hosts on the network, sure I watch them- however I did not mention them because I was not using any of them as a comparison. But since you did, I have seen jarred/canned veggies aswell as other canned products from Ina, Giada and Rachel. As a matter of fact I have seen Rachel use canned products a lot. I also want to learn cooking tips, as well as pairings and new cooking techniques along with time saving tips you may call short cuts. Ivan posted his recipe on here, take a look he uses canned cream corn for a cream base but adds fresh corn as well. Only those who have Never used a canned good in their life should condemn, and lets be honest we all have used them.

        • guest45 says:

          Sandra Lee doesn't cook; she just opens a bunch of boxes and gets drunk while doing so. She's an insult to cooks/chefs. Martie is equally unimaginative and insufferable. Actually, the stocks many of the FN cooks use is packaged, rather than canned. Canned veggies do contain too much sodium in a way canned beans and tomatoes do not. I remain unimpressed by Yvan, who uses too many packaged foods. He didn't even make mac/cheese from scratch. Serving mac/cheese with creamed corn is not healthy, since that's much too carb heavy for one meal.

          • cherrycooks says:

            LMAO!!! I totally agree about the lush, Sandra Lee, for whom "cocktail time" begins with Breakfast.

          • Catherine says:

            Yvan did say this was coming from his childhood. Now if you heard correctly, he didn't have a lot of money when he came to the united states, so his mother would get cans from a local church. That doesn't necessarily mean that he's going to use cans all the time. Stop hating because he has a different culture. I'd love to see Venezuelan and central American dishes from him.

          • 1Dishy says:

            I would also LOVE to see more ethnic dishes coming from Yvan. If he did more Central American "home cooking" recipes, I just might watch his show. Still hope that Justin gets his own show, though.

          • Shannon says:

            guest45, I totally agree about Sandra Lees cooking style or lack there of. I am not a proponent of her recipes. I simply said I would prefer to watch her over Martie..so since we are all in agreement of Sandra Lees recipes (snicker) I guess you get my point of how much I would not watch Martie's version of a party.

          • 1Dishy says:

            The only thing that Sandra Lee does to impress me are her "table scapes." Although I don't really entertain any more, and if I did, wouldn't bother to decorate the table to excess the way she does. I'm much more into the food preparation and food quality and prefer a simple table setup similar to the way Ina might decorate a table with a few flowers or a bowl/basket of lemons.

      • stee says:

        sorry 1Dishy, I see Ina and Giada and Rachael using canned goods all the time. Canned beans, canned tomatoes, canned broth.

        • 1Dishy says:

          Let me please narrow that down to canned vegetables (which are full of sodium). Canned beans, tomatoes and broth are absolutely fine to use in cooking.

      • Good_grief21 says:

        I completely agree

      • Catherine says:

        Well, I don't know if you heard correctly, but Yvan said something about this past that his mother would get cans from a local church. And that's why he decided to make that. I mean seriously stop hating him because he has a different culture. My vote is for Yvan. Sorry.

        • 1Dishy says:

          Catherine, I don't think anyone is hating Yvan: Just his cooking (well, specifically, his creamed corn mac and cheese). And certainly no one is hating him because of his culture! Where did you read that one? I for one never said it! I only said I would never put canned cream corn in my mac and cheese. If I wanted corn in my mac and cheese, I would use fresh corn (or frozen corn in the winter). Better yet, I would probably add cut up califlower to my cream sauce for the mac and cheese to add some more nutrients. This would probably be a good way to introduce healthy vegetables into the diets of children without them realizing it. (I don't have young children, but I wouldn't mind adding the fresh vegetables to my mac and cheese if I were to make mac and cheese some time in the future.) So, none of us were hating on Yvan--and certainly none of the comments had ANYTHING to do with his culture. All the negative comments that I read regarding his recipe took offense with the canned cream corn that he used, which is high in sodium and starch. Ok, it is understood that, when his family first came to America they were poor and had to get some food from the local food pantry and thus were "forced" to use canned goods, but now a days not everyone is in a position to have to do this. And his show--should he have one--is going to be titled "Family Style," which doesn't necessarily mean "poor." Not all families are poor hun. And fresh or frozen vegetables are not all that expensive. In fact, there are often good buys on frozen vegetables when you can get several bags of vegetables for a dollar or two. Perhaps Yvan just chose the wrong recipe for him demo.

    • Tammy says:

      I felt that way about Marty's dish too. It didn't look like party food and she seemed really meek when she got up to the party and put it on the table.

      • Mona says:

        My thoughts exactly! She looked like she was scared to death to walk up to that table and put the food on it......a real party host would be confident in any setting!

    • Diamond Chef says:

      Sandra Lee makes prison food, and Paula is just an annoying hypocrite with diabetes selling butter. Mart is not a very good cook at all either.

  2. Pat D. says:

    I'll have to do my voting tonight at home via phone, as I don't have a FB account, but I wanted to cheer on all finalists and their mentors, and tell Food Network this was THE BEST NFNS/FNS EVER! Thanks to everyone!

  3. Danny Herrera says:

    I am a big fan of Justin and would watch his show. Thank you to FN for giving the viewers a say in who they would watch I almost did not watch this season of FNS and I did not watch last season because I was not interested by the competitors and eventual winners (sorry Aartie but I did watch your show for a couple of episodes). I also must say my opinion of Alton Brown has completely changed; watching him on shows before I was not really impressed, but he has proven to be a true mentor to his team and a caring person.

  4. shirelan says:

    Since I gave up cable for the summer, I have missed the last 2 episodes. But I am sad to hear that Ippy isn't in the final 4. Martie, Justin, Ippy and Yvan would have not only represented 4 different kinds of cusine, but they were the ones who were consistantly good cooks the whole way through.

    • FN fan says:

      I agree and I am very disappointed Ippy didn't make the final group. I hope they find a place for him. I like Martie or Justin. I am voting via phone. I don't have a FB account.

    • MeWagner says:

      I really liked Ippy and his laid back personality as well; but I also like personality.. Ippy Kinda reminds me of Roger Mooking, and I enjoy his shows. However in MPOV they (the network) have totally gone to far with the Baron Ambrosia series.. It so turns me off, that I would rather watch the news, and I bitch every time I hear a teaser/commercial.. I do not think that it takes "tons" of personality, laughing and "acting" to produce the kind of show that ppl really enjoy watching and learning from. Just a "trust me and try this" kind of knowledge and integrity with just a bit of fun....

      • 1Dishy says:

        Really? I think Roger is a riot! He has such a great personality! More so than Ippy. I met Roger in person last year in Atlantic City. He is like a little teddy bear with this great big laugh! He was a joy to chat with. Not sure Ippy is quite as out going as Roger is yet. But he can work on it.

    • melfaun says:

      Yes, I too was sad to see Ippy leave. His food just seemed amazing. I'd like to see Aloha Soul as a show

    • lisa says:

      yes go ippy maybe he can get a show on P.B.S. or travel channel. of course people like ippy that we really want to see, will never make it through as long as they continue to let bob judge. who did he get eliminated for ?grill girl nikki, who no-one liked, and who got sent into shock by an unplugged blender.

    • guest45 says:

      I'm sorry, but linking the ignorant Martie to "cuisine" seems like an oxymoron. She wouldn't recognize a cuisine if it came up and bit her.

    • Diamond Chef says:

      Marti cooks about as well as the average school lunch lady.

  5. Viennavegan says:

    I was so touched by the support and friendship between Martie and Justin - and also the support that Alton gave them. They seem to be the most genuinely caring of each other as a team and mentor. The last comment that Justin made, about having someone who supported and believed in him - knowing that he lost his dad at an early age... It just seems to me that the perfect combination for a show would be Justin as a star and Alton as producer.

    • Kimmy says:

      Feel the same way. Was very touched by Alton's reaction. Always liked the man & always was so impressed with his intelligence. But seeing him in this kind of way has made me like me even more if that is possible. Great team with great support!!!!

      • Jennifer says:

        I have always liked Alton, and like him even more now. He seemed to genuinely care about his people, unlike Bobby & Giada. Bobby seemed to lose interest after Eric left, and Giada just wanted to win to say she'd won. I feel like Alton tried very hard to mentor his team, using tough-love when needed (remember his "If you can't talk and cook at the same time, shut up and cook"? Love the man!

    • viennavegan says:

      I just want to add that I believe Justin genuinely has the most innovative ideas and onscreen charisma, so for those reasons, he has the qualities to justify winning; it's just that, it seems like a heartwarming "bonus" that he and Alton Brown could work together and continue the pseudo-father/son bond that they seem to have established.

  6. Ken Hinrichsen says:

    I really like Justin and plan on voting for him. Loved his take on Caesar Salad. I would watch his show in a heartbeat.

    • 1Dishy says:

      Yay! I love, love, love Justin and his quirky, brilliant culinary ideas. Already voted for him yesterday and today and hope he gets a show. Would watch it every day. His pilot came off without a hitch.

  7. TexasMama says:

    Ippy was my favorite. I loved his laid-back Hawaiin vibe and fabulous recipes. He was the REAL THING this year. I definitely would be voting for him if it were an option. Since it's not:

    Martie is out of the question for me. Sorry, she seems like a really nice lady and I do admire how comfortable she is around people. But there's nothing original and I lose interest quickly with all her rambling.

    Justin is fascinating, but would I ever actually make anything of his or would I just watch for the entertainment value?

    Michelle's "My New England" is interesting. I am unfamiliar with area and would love to learn more about the cuisine. But i don't know. So far, it's been a little boring to me and what she made on her pilot looked disgusting.

    I think Yvan should have stuck with the South American tapas. I'd be much more interested in that than what was showed in his pilot last night.

    Aarti, you were my favorite last year and I was so thrilled when you won. I'd like to see a lot more of YOU on the Food Network. (Hint, Hint)

    • TexasMama says:

      Correction: Not last year, sorry...

    • MoHub says:

      What's nice about Michele's POV is that there's the potential to combine a travelogue element with her cooking demos. She should also be able to demonstrate that there's more to New England cuisine than shellfish, including great international influences.

    • Food Fan says:

      I would have preferred Ippy or Emily.
      But its who we are left with...

    • stee says:

      I don't care for Michelle. Or for "her New England" seeing as she is a New Yorker and only lived in New England during college. But her little neck clam dish with the fresh corn looked amazing. Love that she added her own personal twist by putting corn in there. This time of year the RI corn is unbelievably good.

  8. saluki1 says:

    I'm very sorry that the only way to vote is to log into facebook.......I would have voted for Justin but I don't want to be forced to access facebook..... I don't necessarily feel that he's the best TV personality, and I doubt that I would make many of the recipes; ....... Never-the-less, I find his cooking exciting and I'm sure that many valuable nuggets could be gleaned from him, (Ala Alton).

    • Mary says:

      You can also vote by phone.

    • doctorsheryl says:

      If you've noticed, the Food Network website is all about advertising and money-making. Teaming up with Facebook was a financial venture.

      • Jerilee says:

        True. But none the less, I think it un-fair to force Facebook on those that choose not to have it in order to vote via Internet. Voting by phone is certainly another option. Be that as it may, I choose not to vote. My belief is fan voting is not realistic and therefore, my reason. I wish all four finalists well, will watch the finale, be content with the winner, and give his/her show a good old Yankee try. Good luck to all.

  9. Sue says:

    Very disappointed. THe only one that seemed to present something Different and original was IPPY. Michelle - too dykish and scary looking (loose the nose ring) POV limmited. Justin - Lips are too distracting he does not know how to make aspic - what he made was garbage. Martie - she is nice but already have Marti Parti - too much of the same thing. And the last guy - Mac & Cheese with creamed corm - cullinary genious NOT

    • Tiger gal says:

      Too right! What about a travel/cooking show with Ippy? He's so natural-a quality sorely missing on FN! Glad Ippy stayed true to himself: it will serve him well in the long run.

    • Lillian says:

      Totally agree........Michelle is just plain scary, hate the nose ring!!! Justin looks like the Joker's son, loose the red lipstick & blush!!! Marti rambles on, and on, and on...................

    • guest45 says:

      For someone who cannot even spell simple words such as lose or limited, Sue should keep her homophobic comments to herself. She might also want to study the proper use of personal pronouns.

    • Mardeen11 says:

      Too dykish? Nice. Move into the current world around you, please.

  10. random holly says:

    Justin is has and always will be the best, but i do enjoy yvan a lot, too. Marty is okay, and i really don't enjoy michele. If justin or yvan win i will be estatic!!

    • Lillian Taylor says:

      I am so sorry that Ippy is gone. I loved his food and his relaxed style and his beautiful smile.
      Justin's cooking is too original and I have a hard time watching him because I am distracted by the fact that he wears lipstick and I keep looking at his lips. I am voting, but my heart is not as happy about the results now that Ippy is gone.

    • Rachel says:

      Justin is interesting to watch, but me personally would prefer Yvan to win.