Christopher Walken wasn’t the only high-profile celebrity cameo on this week’s “Saturday Night Live” — former “Top Chef” host and “culinary icon” Padma Lakshmi lent her expertise to a memorable cooking skit that nearly had Heidi Gardner breaking character.
Lakshmi appeared in the “Chef Showdown” skit “Two Chefs, One Cuisine, One Winner.” Cast members Punkie Johnson and Kenan Thompson starred in the skit as judges of a soul food competition — and Thompson was really locked in and hilarious, causing Gardner to visibly stifle a laugh while setting the stage for Lakshmi’s entrance.
Thompson and Johnson were Rev. Jeremiah Fields and Ms. Maddie Johnson, respectively. The pair are judging food cooked by Ego Nwodim’s and Nate Bargatze’s contestants, Kelly and Dougie. Much to the dismay of Fields and Johnson, Bargatze’s Dougie is the chef behind the plate of soul food they enjoyed so much, which Nwodim’s character made a dish that isn’t recognizable as such.
As Fields, Thompson attempts to try the second plate of food again because “maybe I missed something.” He looks at Johnson and says, “You know, now that I think about it, the sous vide catfish is pretty good” — before spitting out the bite and admitting, “No it is not! I’m lying! I hate this!”
He then jabbed his fork at Kelly and asked, “What did you do to this, girl?”
Kelly said, “It’s actually Impossible catfish. It’s made from soy protein,” to which Thompson flipped the plate off the table, which prompted Gardner’s reaction. Gardner, clearly caught up in the moment, smiled and chuckled, looking down at the table to attempt to reel in her laughter.
Lakshmi was then introduced to the contestants and told Dougie what he’s won: a spot on Johnson’s YouTube cooking show, “The Black Kitchen,” a trip to Essence Fest, and a letterman jacket from Howard University.
Watch the “SNL” skit in the video above.