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The Next Food Network Star Episode 8: Humble, But Grand

The final 5 in the kitchen for Episode 8 (Photo courtesy The Food Network/Used with permission)
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For its sixth season, The Next Food Network Star was shot in Los Angeles, and among the 12 finalists vying for their very own Food Network show are 3 locals, including food blogger and LAist alum Aarti Sequeira. Each week, Aarti will give us her take on the episode, from her unique insider's perspective. Will she be named The Next Food Network Star? We won't know until the finale. Last week the competitors hosted an underground supper club dinner for some of the city's most well-know food folk; here's how Episode 8 looked from inside the kitchen...

I’ve never considered my food “elegant” or “fancy.”

So when I saw Todd English standing before, a restaurant rock star, who told us we’d be cooking for him and for his Beso restaurant partner, Eva Longoria, I panicked. What could I make that was fancy enough for them?

Oh, and we had a budget of $200. I’ve never spent that much on ingredients.

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It’s starting to occur to me that in both instances of my being in the bottom, it was during challenges where the grandeur overwhelmed me: Frank Sinatra’s estate in Palm Springs, and now the dramatic Beso.