Get to Know Guy's Grocery Games Judge Aarti Sequeira
As the winner of Season 6 of The Next Food Network Star, Aarti Sequeira made a name for herself with her unique and modern take on classic Indian recipes on her show Aarti Party, inspired by her blog, AartiPaarti.com. She went on to host Taste in Translation on Cooking Channel. And just last year she released her first cookbook, Aarti Paarti. Now you can find this Indian hostess with the mostess as a regular judge on Guy's Grocery Games. And in the current special All-Stars series, she even competes in the games.
Get to know this Triple G judge, and tune in to watch Aarti on Guy's Grocery Games on Sundays at 8|7c.
Do you prefer shopping in a small market or a supermarket?
Aarti Sequeira: A small market, because it is a natural edit for me. I think if I have too many choices, I like to think every single choice through, so it’s better for me to have some of the choice done for me.
Do you prefer self-checkout, online ordering or buying goods from a real person?
AS: Oh, self-checkout. Every time. I love it because, I mean, just when you were a kid, you'd play checkout lady, right? I hope everybody else did. I just love the joy of putting something over that red light and it goes "beep."
Is there one thing you can't leave a grocery store without?
AS: For some reason, every time I go to the supermarket I always buy ginger. So I literally have, like, 2 pounds of ginger in my fridge.
What's the one thing you love or hate most about grocery shopping?
AS: Well, I love supermarkets. My first date with my now husband was in a supermarket. We love going and looking at things and looking at new products and that kind of stuff. The only thing I don’t like is that in LA right now, you have to bring your bags (which I completely get), but then when you forget your bag, and just the humiliation of either walking out carrying all your stuff or having to pay 10 cents — it kills me!
AS: I think 5 Ingredients or Less is my favorite game because I tend to cook with a lot of ingredients, so it’s a good challenge for me to try to figure out what I would do and also then I learn from all of these chefs, like how to cook with the least number of ingredients possible, but to use technique and use them in a number of different ways to get the most out of them.
Give me five ingredients or less in coming up with your best dish. What would your dish be called?
AS: I think that anything I would make would probably involve ... ginger, garlic and tomatoes, and garam masala and turmeric, and I could make a bangin' sauce to go on anything. ... That would be my five. But then I would still beg you for a sixth and ask you for some cream. Please!
AS: This is funny because this was going to be the title of my first cookbook. My cookbook was going to be called A Fistful of Onions, because [my mum's] first food memory of me was me sitting on the counter while she was cooking and she looked away and I reached out and grabbed a fistful of red onion, and I just shoved it in my mouth and ate it. And I loved it and went in for another fist, which is really funny because I don't like onions now. ... But I think mine probably is [when] I was much older. It's my dad grilling tandoori chicken and we were living in Dubai, and, like, whatever little family that we had and family friends were all there. It was Friday afternoon (because Friday's the day off in Dubai), and the chicken's cooking and he's fanning it, has a beer in one hand, no shirt on ... and I remember just feeling like this was a good day. ... I love that memory.
AS: My guilty pleasure food is, like, Wonder Bread and peanut butter — crunchy peanut butter — like, Wonder Bread and Jif. Untoasted [bread]. Like, just so soft it melts as soon as it hits your lips. ... And you’re just like [makes lip-smacking sound]. And I hardly ever get to have it. [laughs]
AS: I think I would want something that is super-comforting, because the end is nigh. It would probably be, like, my mum’s dal, red lentils and not just white rice, [but] the red rice that we grew up with in India. It’s not red rice, actually, it’s still white rice, but it still has a little bit of a husk on it, so it has this nutty, like, nubby flavor and texture to it. So dal, rice and these green beans that my mum makes. They are cut into rounds and cooked with coconut, curry leaves and tomatoes, and it’s so good.
What's the most-surprising or oddest thing we'd find in your fridge, food or otherwise?
AS: Right now? Oh, you would reach in for a tub of yogurt, you would open it up and you would find this brown shake-y, Jell-O-y looking stuff. ... We slow-cooked these pork shoulders ... for, like, 12 hours, so the stock has so much gelatin in it that it’s this Jell-O.
Where do you see dining trends going? Do you have one you absolutely love or hate?
AS: I think we are going to see a return to traditional food. Sort of traditional French, traditional Italian. I think we've kind of swung so far this way I think we are going to kind of go back and have both, still, but I think there will be a renewed appreciation for the old-school way of doing things. ... But, even with that, I think food is going to continue going in that casual-dining direction.
Quickfire (Name the first thing that comes to mind):
Tune in to Guy's Grocery Games on Sundays at 8|7c.