Cameron University’s annual India Night to feature Food Network host Aarti Sequiera

Cameron University’s annual India Night celebration, set for Friday, March 9, will kick off with a ticketed banquet featuring Food Network host Aarti Sequiera, known for her expertise in adding Indian flavors to traditional American cuisine, followed by a free performance of Bollywood dance by Infused Performing Arts. The banquet, with authentic Indian cuisine provided by Himalayas Aroma of India, located in Moore, is slated for 6 p.m. in the McCasland Ballroom. Banquet tickets are $30 ($5 for CU students) and can be purchased in the Office of Events Management, located in CETES Room 202. At 8 p.m., Infused Performing Arts will present a dazzling performance of Indian culture in the Cameron University Theatre. The 8 p.m. performance is open to the public at no charge. For more information about India Night, call 581-2291.

Aarti SequeiraSequeira’s appetite began in the womb and shows no sign of abating! The cookbook author and host of Food Network’s “Aarti Party,” Sequeira won Season 6 of “Food Network Star” with her trademark food signature: American favorites with an Indian soul. Her show grew out of the popular blog and YouTube cooking-variety show, “Aarti Paarti,” a joint venture with her husband, actor-writer Brendan McNamara, which started in their tiny Los Angeles home kitchen. Food Network then became her broadcast home, where she went on host “Taste in Translation,” “Drop 5lbs with Good Housekeeping” and “Hidden Eats.” She also competed on – and won – “Chopped All Stars” and “Cutthroat Kitchen.” Sequeira is a frequent judge on “Guy’s Grocery Games” and “From Duff Til Dawn.” She has contributed to “Guilty Pleasures,” “Best Thing I Ever Ate,” “Best Thing I Ever Made,” “Unique Eats” and “Unique Sweets.”

Born in Bombay, India, brought up in the Middle East (Dubai, UAE) and educated in a British school, Sequeira grew up against a varied tapestry of food cultures, from her mother’s fish curry with green mangoes to the homemade pastas of her Italian best friend to the Arabian spit-roasted shawarmas her family would enjoy every Friday. 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.

During the first Gulf War, Sequeira decided to pursue a career in journalism, earning her bachelor’s degree at Northwestern’s prestigious Medill School of Journalism. She went on to work for CNN, covering everything from economic reports to the plight of firefighters after 9/11. She also produced “Sand and Sorrow,” the HBO documentary about the genocide in Darfur, narrated by George Clooney and directed by Peabody Award-winner Paul Freedman.

But she began to feel like something was still missing. Her husband gave her a gift certificate to a local cooking program, and it was there that her passion for cooking sparked into a great roaring fire. After earning her professional cooking certificate, she worked in the kitchen at Chef Suzanne Goin’s Lucques and then began blogging about the food she was creating in her own kitchen. That blog led to the YouTube show, which led to Food Network, which led to the publishing of her very first cookbook, “Aarti Paarti: An American Kitchen with an Indian Soul” in 2014.

Infused Performing Arts will present a bold and beautiful kaleidoscope of dances from Bollywood’s most popular movies, lighting up the stage with a brilliant perspective of the improbable, the implausible, and the irresistible world of Bollywood.

The troupe has performed and entertained thousands of audiences since its inception in 2009. Founders and choreographers Tina Bose-Kumar & Kiron Kumar started Infused Performing Arts out of their love and dedication to the arts and promoting the rich Indian culture to students and audiences around the country. The group, which is the only dance company in the world to infuse magic and Bollywood dance, has been selected to perform every year during the NBA’s Houston Rockets Halftime Show since 2012.

India Night is partially funded by the Ajay and Shireen Bhargava Endowed Lectureships in India Studies and International Studies and Cameron University.

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February 27, 2018