Author, producer and longtime host of Top Chef, Padma Lakshmi has announced that she will be exiting the show before its 21st season. She had hosted the cooking competition program Top Chef on Bravo continuously since season 2 in 2006 with judges Tom Colicchio and Gail Simmons. Lakshmi’s stint at Top Chef earned her Primetime Emmy nomination for Outstanding Reality Host in 2009 and 2020 through 2022.
Lakshmi announced the news on Twitter and Instagram on Friday, saying that she had made the decision “after much soul searching”.
“Having completed a glorious 20th season as host and executive producer, I am extremely proud to have been part of building such a successful show and of the impact it has had in the worlds of television and food,” the TV star, actor, model and philanthropist wrote.
“After 17 years, many of the cast and crew are like family to me and I will miss working alongside them dearly. I feel it’s time to move on and need to make space for Taste the Nation, my books and other creative pursuits,” Lakshmi added.
The reality show host said also added that she hoped to put more time into other projects, including her Hulu series Taste the Nation. The series chiefly features Lakshmi travelling around America to enjoy different regional cuisines. The second season was released on May 5.
“I feel it’s time to move on and need to make space for ‘Taste the Nation,’ my books and other creative pursuits,” the former host said in her recent post.
“I am deeply thankful to all of you for so many years of love and support.”
What the team says
“Padma Lakshmi leaves behind an incredible legacy on Bravo’s Top Chef,” an NBC Universal spokesperson said in a statement to USA TODAY Friday. “Her impact on the Emmy, James Beard and Critics’ Choice Award-winning series is undeniable. We are grateful to Padma for being a consummate host, judge and executive producer, and for bringing her ingenuity and exceptional palate to each episode where she ate every bite of food on the series for over 17 years and 19 seasons. She will always be part of the ‘Top Chef’ and the NBCUniversal family and has a seat at the judges’ table anytime.”
Lakshmi’s announcement was met with an outpouring of messages from fans, saying, “Please don’t pack your knives and go,” referring to the famous phrase from the show when chefs are eliminated from the competition.