Padma Lakshmi Says She Left ‘Top Chef’ Because Digesting ‘That Much Food’ Was ‘Really Taking a Toll’

“I’m really proud of the legacy I helped build in all these countries around the world,” the former host says

"Top Chef" host Padma Lakshmi (Credit: Bravo)
Padma Lakshmi on "Top Chef" (Credit: Bravo)

Padma Lakshmi revealed that “Top Chef” challenged her metabolism, which is one of the reasons she left the cooking competition series.

“It was really taking a toll on me physically to digest that much food in a day,” she told Harper’s Bazaar in an interview published Thursday.

She also attributed the factor of perimenopause to the slowing of her metabolic rate.

“Nobody tells you that about perimenopause. Your t–s get huge,” she said. “I live in the f—king gym.”

But looking back on her 19-season run on the Bravo series, Lakshmi is satisfied.

“I’m really proud of the legacy I helped build in all these countries around the world and for two generations of young people,” Lakshmi said. “I didn’t know what an amuse-bouche was, and for that reason I will always root for ‘Top Chef.’ That’s my family; Krishna grew up on that set. I like to think that I had something to do with the success, but it was time to move on.”

Lakshmi announced that she was stepping down from hosting the hit reality competition series after 17 years in June 2023. 

The former fashion model-turned-TV host shared her favorite meal from the 19 seasons of the Bravo show with TheWrap last August. The meal came about in Season 9 in Texas with Charlize Theron as a celebrity judge.

“We gave the contestants this wonderful challenge, which was to pick a fairy tale and illustrate it in all its wonder, horror, beauty, joy and, of course, deliciousness on the plate,” she said. “It was really wonderful because it unleashed such a sense of imagination and creativity in all of our chefs and that’s really what you want to see.”

“I remember that Grayson gave us a black chicken and left the chicken foot on there and it looked so sinister. And it was delicious,” she recalled. “Paul Qui had a bloody handprint in the middle of his dish made of beet juice and all these delicate vegetables and flowers around,” she added. “He showed that murder can also be something that’s subtle and sophisticated; it doesn’t have to be this big bloody mess. That was a wonderful episode because it just showed you how creative you can be with food and how it stands up to any other creative art form.”

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