Chef Aarti Sequeira Tells All About Halloween Wars - Exclusive

Chef Aarti Sequeira is no stranger to television. From an early career as a CNN producer, to hosting her popular cooking videos on YouTube, and winning the show "Food Network Star" in 2010, she knows her way around the industry on-camera and behind the scenes (via Food Network). But Sequeira had never been involved with any program quite like "Halloween Wars."

During an exclusive interview with Mashed, the chef dished on everything from fellow judges Eddie Jackson and Shinmin Li to the unbelievable skill of the bakers.

"The set itself is incredible," Sequeira said. "It really sets the mood and the tone of the whole thing. There are tons of little crannies and little details, the gravestones, the cobwebs. [You should] see this photo of me sitting on a bench next to a skeleton that's laughing and I'm sitting there laughing next to it! Those are the things they don't get enough time on the show. But the set is a character in and of itself." And it's a good thing that she loved being on that set because she and her fellow judges were there for hours and hours at a time.

"Obviously, sort of messing around with Eddie and Shinmin was also fun. It's a long day," Sequeira added. "You really have to like the people that you're going to hang out with because the bake is seven hours. So we come in a few hours before that because we're getting ready, and then we come out, we issue the challenge, and then we're checking in over the course of those seven hours. But really it's really up to the bakers. And so those were definitely some long, long days."

The baking skills amazed Aarti Sequeira

At the heart of the show, of course, is the baking itself. And the creations the bakers on "Halloween Wars" crafted blew Sequeira and the other judges away, time after time. "I felt like I was just walking into a museum or some sort of art show constantly and [I was] just cheering for them and just being in awe of what they were capable of doing," Sequeira said. 

"There's such a small number of people that can do what these guys do in the country, maybe in the world," she explained. "And so, they're all fans of each other and I think they're all learning from each other. The cool little tricks with the corn silk or dipping pasta in specific substances to make it look a certain way. All these little tricks, they were all watching each other and wondering, 'How did you do that? How did you do that?' They probably don't get that many opportunities to do that." As a "Food Network Star" alum, Sequeira is familiar with the bonds that can come from going through a unique, high-pressure experience together. "You're standing there and people are judging you and they're either lifting you up or crushing you. It's very specific and it's very bonding," she said.

No wonder the program has now been going for a decade and remains a huge hit every Halloween season.

Catch Aarti Sequeira and the gang on Season 11 of "Halloween Wars" on Food Network.