Recently crowned “Top Chef” winner Buddha Lo has nothing but admiration for Padma Lakshmi, who last week announced that she was departing the Bravo cooking competition after 17 years and 19 seasons.
“I wish her all the best,” Lo told TheWrap one day after being crowned “Top Chef: World All Stars” champion.
“I look at some of my cooks or some of my mentors who saw me leave,” Lo continued. “You know, [Michelin-star chef] Clare Smyth was extremely upset when I handed my resignation because I wanted to move to a different kitchen and learn more. And then you just have to realize you’ve got to go off and try and do better. And the same thing with Padma, she’s on fire right now.”
In addition to “Top Chef,” Lakshmi is the host and executive producer of “Taste the Nation,” a food and travel show on Hulu, and has authored multiple cookbooks.
“After much soul searching, I have made the difficult decision to leave ‘Top Chef,’” Lakshmi wrote on social media last week. “I feel it’s time to move on and need to make space for ‘Taste the Nation,’ my books and other creative pursuits.”
She also was recently featured as a model in the latest Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue.
“She’s achieved things that I probably couldn’t achieve in my lifetime,” Lo said. “I don’t think I don’t see myself being in Sports Illustrated anytime soon, especially at 50,” he added jokingly.
As for Lo’s favorite memory with Lakshmi?
“Well, I would say the the two favorite memories are that she’s said my name twice, and both times not to send me home. So I’m extremely fortunate to be able to say that,” the back-to-back winner said of Seasons 19 and 20.
Lakshmi left one parting message on Lo’s Instagram, posting “Congratulations dear [two heart emojis] so well deserved!!”
All episodes of “Top Chef: World All-Stars” are streaming now on Peacock.