Aarti Sequeira, BSJ00

Host of Cooking Variety Show "Aarti Party", Food Network

In August 2010 Aarti Sequeira competed on and win Food Network's  series, “Food Network Star,” resulting in her landing her very own Food Network show.

Now she takes her food knowledge, love for cooking, and enthusiasm for sharing information to the masses in her Food Network cooking series, “Aarti Party. “ On the show, Sequeira surprises viewers with unexpected flavors and techniques to expand their palates and culinary repertoire with her extensive knowledge of Indian cuisine and a spin on all-American classics.

With her husband, she has also created a blog and online cooking variety show called “Aarti Paarti. ”

Sequeira landed a job at CNN Chicago about two weeks after she graduated.

“It was my dream to work at CNN,” she recalls. “Having grown up in Dubai during the first Gulf War, CNN had been my first glimpse of what real journalism is all about -- until then, all I'd seen was the censored local coverage. I wanted to be the next Christiane Amanpour! A year later, I transferred to the New York bureau, only a few months before 9/11, which actually happened while the show I was producing was on the air. It was surreal. I worked my way up there, becoming a segment producer for CNNfn, producing shows for the network as well as packages for the CNN family. I moved to Los Angeles after I got married (Bren is an actor), freelanced for the L.A. bureau and some other outlets. But I was starting to feel that fire in my belly move in a different direction. I worked with Peabody Award-winning director Paul Freedman on ‘Sand and Sorrow,’ about the heartbreaking conflict in Darfur. I worked my way up, from girl Friday to co-producer; I felt so fulfilled! I was doing something that made me feel like I was contributing. George Clooney narrated, and HBO bought it -- it aired in 2008.”

Throughout the time she worked in news, Sequeira had started to take a real interest in cooking. She says her husband enrolled her in the New School of Cooking, where she completed both levels of their professional classes.

“I interned at Lucques, where James Beard Award-winner Suzanne Goin was executive chef,” she explains.  “I learned so much from her. But I realized that my heart wasn't in restaurants, so I left, kept working on the documentary and looking for my purpose. It was really hard for me -- all my fellow Medill grads were moving up the chain, and producing work that I really admired. But I felt lost. I didn't feel the drive they did.”

Then one day, she says she picked up the camera and shot her own cooking segment.

From there, she says, her husband volunteered to help her shoot the next one and the next one...it morphed into a cooking-variety show, a format she says she’s really proud of.

“Medill helped me feel like I had something to offer,” she says.  “All my professors I had the honor of learning from made me feel like I had a spark, I had something worth sharing. And they taught me how important it is to remain ethical. That is so important to me. Medill is a tough school, and I don't think I'll ever forget how heartbreaking my first Medill 'F' was...but I felt tougher and equipped for practically anything after leaving school!”

All my professors I had the honor of learning from made me feel like I had a spark, I had something worth sharing. And they taught me how important it is to remain ethical.