Aarti Sequeira Bio

Next Food Network Star Finalist Aarti Sequeira smiling while wearing a pink shirt with a black apron

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Season 6 Food Network Star winner Aarti Sequeira brings her beloved Indian flavors to everyday dishes each Sunday on Aarti Party.

Food Network Star Season 6 Winner!

In August 2010 Aarti Sequeira competed on and won Season 6 of Food Network's number-one series, Food Network Star, landing the ultimate dream culinary job: her very own Food Network show. A dedicated foodie all her life and a journalist by education and trade, Aarti successfully combines these passions in her entertaining blog and online cooking-variety show, Aarti Paarti. 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 this show she surprises viewers with unexpected flavors and techniques to expand their palates and culinary repertoire by imparting her knowledge of Indian cuisine and putting an approachable spin on all-American classics.

Born in Bombay, India, and raised in Dubai, UAE, Aarti's lifelong appreciation for food began at a young age and was inspired by her faith, her mother, her cultural background and her never-ending food experiments. Growing up in a traditional Indian Catholic family, Aarti spent Fridays dining on fish and Sundays at church. Her fondest food memories include her father's weekly trips to the market for fresh fish and produce, her mother's daily recipe creations, and Aarti's own pretending to host a cooking show — an unexpected glimpse into her future as a Food Network star.

After completing Dubai's British system of schooling, including many music-related activities like piano and choir, Aarti moved to Chicago in 1996 to attend Northwestern University. In 2000, she earned a Bachelor of Science in journalism at Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism with an adjunct major in International Relations. While pursuing her degree, Aarti gained valuable media experience working at the school's student-run radio and television stations and also spent a short time in Washington, D.C., covering Capitol Hill for a local Fargo, N.D., television station. Upon graduation Aarti worked for about a year at CNN as a production assistant in Chicago before moving to New York in 2001 to work as a CNN producer for two years. In 2003 she married her college sweetheart, Brendan, and moved from New York to Los Angeles to start their life together.

In addition to working several freelance gigs in the Los Angeles entertainment industry, Aarti assisted a Peabody award-winning director on Sand and Sorrow, a documentary about Darfur in 2004. Feeling like something was still missing, Aarti enrolled in The New School of Cooking in Culver City, Calif., where she earned her professional cooking certificate in 2007. To further explore her culinary calling, Aarti launched her blog and online cooking-variety show, Aarti Paarti in 2008.

In addition to cooking, Aarti enjoys improv theater, music, Middle Eastern dance and visiting art galleries. She currently resides in Los Angeles with her husband, Brendan, while her parents and youngest sister live in Bangalore, India, and her middle sister lives in Phoenix.

Aarti Sequeira's Behind the Scenes Journey to Stardom

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Food Network Star, Season 6: Aarti Sequeira

Born in India, raised in Dubai and now living in Los Angeles, Aarti Sequeria cooked comforting food with exotic flair and spice during the 2010 season: "I play around with Indian flavors and figure out how to add them to American classics, to add an element of surprise and freshness!"

Photo By: Peter Thron

Over Their Heads

Prep for this season's Food Network Star took several months and dozens of people. The shoot in Los Angeles added a layer of new sights and scenes, chef stunts and surprises.

Photo By: Peter Thron

Dancing Around the Competition

Becoming a star was no joke, but Aarti did find some time to have fun with Dzintra Dzenis in the studio kitchen.

Photo By: Peter Thron

It's Not Where You Start

After taking their places on the Star set in the premiere episode, the 12 finalists (Aarti, far right) anxiously awaited instructions for their first test of culinary skill. Aarti made a shaky debut with an under-cooked Roasted Chicken Breasts with Orange, Cardamom and Turmeric but impressed mentor Giada De Laurentiis with her presentation.

Focused on the Task at Hand

Aarti tended her skillet with determined concentration in Week 2's Santa Monica Pier Star Challenge.

Dishing It Up

Aarti's warmth came through as she prepared a plate and bantered with guests at the pier.

Bright Lights, Tinsel City

During the Week 3 Camera Challenge, clamoring paparazzi didn't faze Aarti as she made her red-carpet entrance at the Highlands in Hollywood.

Table Talk

Aarti took a moment to catch up with Aria Kagan and Dzintra Dzenis, while Brad Sorenson visited with a guest during the Week 3 "Grammy Party" Star Challenge.

Eye on the Prize

Aarti's head was in the game as she prepared a filet dish featuring serrano-papaya salsa in Week 4.

Aarti in a Jar

During Week 5 the finalists were asked to create a food product in a jar. Aarti made a Tandoori Marinade that impressed the judges.

Down Time

Aarti, Brianna Jenkins and Tom Pizzica enjoy a quiet moment before more culinary-challenge chaos kicks in.

Aarti Hits a Wall

In Week 7 the finalists competed at Frank Sinatra's estate in Palm Springs, where they had to serve a retro dish for a group of special guests. Aarti's curried deviled egg dish didn't go over well.

Turn of Events

At Palm Springs she found herself in the bottom three for the first time, but she survived the scare.

A Comeback Worthy of Sinatra

Aarti won the Camera Challenge in Week and here learns she'll be the team leader in the Star Challenge.

Week 8 Family Reunion

The five remaining finalists check out the Star set, outfitted with individual stations featuring signs with each hopeful's point of view. The surprise? Their families are waiting off-camera to bring them their least favorite ingredient to use in the next challenge!

Her Biggest Fan

Aarti takes a moment for some TLC with her husband, Brendan, before jumping back in the trenches for the next challenge.

Final Four Take Manhattan

Aria, Herb, Tom and Aarti take a breather in Central Park before battling it out.

Dueling Chefs

A hopeful quartet stands at the ready in Food Network's Iron Chef stadium at Chelsea Market.

Slow Goes the Flow

The judges worry that Aarti won't finish in time because of her cool and calm manner, but she prefers taking her time and thinking her dishes through.

Tortoise Wins the Race

Aarti's diligence paid off with three wow-worthy dishes. The Iron Chefs' praise elicited this reaction of surprise.

Finale: A Ray of Advice

Rachael Ray gives Aarti feedback on her ideas for the pilot dish and its presentation.

Calm Before the Storm

Aarti takes a moment to collect herself before a take.

Waiting Game

The three finalists watch as a focus group reviews their pilots. Though they can see the reactions, they're not allowed to hear any comments.

Judges Deliberate

Before the selection committee announces the winner, it's business as usual on the evaluation front.

Time to Party, Aarti

The Season 6 Food Network Star is Aarti Sequeira! Judge and Food Network general manager Bob Tuschman gives his next Food Star a congratulatory hug.

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Marc Murphy Bio

Ask Chef Marc Murphy where he grew up and he'll fire off a list of cosmopolitan destinations — Milan, Paris, Villefranche, Washington, D.C., Rome and Genoa — "and that's before I turned 12," he’ll explain. This dizzying list of hometowns served as an excellent education in French and Italian cuisine, though as a teenager this was not his first passion. When the reality hit that he didn't have the funds to become a professional racecar driver, Marc followed his brother to the Institute of Culinary Education. After graduation he apprenticed at restaurants in France and Italy before returning to New York, where he landed a job as a line cook at Terrance Brennan's Prix Fixe. He stayed there for almost two years, working his way through every station in the kitchen and forging a professional bond with Brennan’s Sous Chefs Joseph Fortunato and David Pasternak. Eager to return to Europe, Marc flew to Paris and landed a position at the one-star Le Miraville, where he stayed for one-and-a-half years. Afterward, he staged at the famed Louis XV in Monte Carlo, where Executive Chef Alain Ducasse was so impressed with Marc's skills that he personally made arrangements for him to work with Sylvain Portay at Le Cirque once he returned to the States. Marc still considers Portay to be his greatest teacher. "Sylvain was above all concerned with coaxing out the most-vibrant, interesting flavors any ingredient had to offer, yet he insisted on minimal manipulation," he recalls. Following Le Cirque, Fortunato tapped him to work as a sous chef at Layla, Drew Nieporent's Middle Eastern fantasy in Tribeca, where he met consultant Georges Masraff. When Masraff joined forces to open Cellar in the Sky at Windows on the World, he recruited Marc to serve as executive chef. After receiving critical acclaim, including a two-star review from The New York Times, Marc headed uptown to serve as executive chef of La Fourchette, where NYT critic Ruth Reichl awarded him another glowing two-star review, citing his "open desire to transform food [so that] in his hands, even a simple green salad ... looks like a ruffled hat in a painting by Renoir." In March 2004 Marc opened his first solo enterprise with Landmarc [Tribeca], which won rave reviews both for its eclectic French and Italian menu as well as its highly untraditional wine list. Following its success, Marc opened Ditch Plains in the West Village in 2006 serving casual, beach-style cuisine such as lobster rolls, fish tacos and the infamous ditch dog, as well as other comfort food favorites. In 2007 Marc was given the opportunity to open another Landmarc restaurant in the pres­tigious Time Warner Center, where he brought his bistro-style cuisine midtown. In October 2013 Marc opened Kingside at the Viceroy New York hotel on New York's iconic West 57th Street, serving his interpretation of New American cuisine. Marc's restaurants now fall under the Benchmarc Restaurants by Marc Murphy name, where he acts as executive chef and owner. In addition to the restaurants, Marc also heads up the company's catering division, Benchmarc Events by Marc Murphy, where his signature style of accessible contemporary cuisine transcends the boundaries of what is offered in his restaurant locations. Today Marc's involvement in the industry moves beyond the restaurants as well, with a regular role as a judge on Food Network's top-rated hit Chopped as well as appearances on other hit series such as Guy's Grocery Games, Beat Bobby Flay and Worst Cooks in America. Marc also appears on The Rachael Ray Show and The Today Show, among others. He is the president of the Manhattan chapter of the New York State Restaurant Association, a board member of City Harvest, Culintro and Passport NYC at the 92nd Street Y Culinary Camp, as well as a member of the Food + Finance High School's Industry Advisory Board, a member of the Leadership Council for Share our Strength's No Kid Hungry campaign and the national spokesperson for Share Our Strength's Dine Out For No Kid Hungry. In 2012 Marc joined the U.S. Department of State's Diplomatic Culinary Partnership, where he takes part in public diplomacy programs that engage foreign audiences abroad as well as those visiting the United States. Marc's debut cookbook, Season with Authority: Confident Home Cooking, was released by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in April 2015.


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