Padma Lakshmi is quitting “Top Chef” after 20 seasons 2023

Padma Lakshmi, who has hosted “Top Chef” for 19 of its 20 seasons, announced her departure on Friday, calling it a “difficult decision” taken “after much soul-searching.”

“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,” Lakshmi, who also executive produces the show, said on social media.

“Many of the cast and crew are like family to me,” she said. “It’s time to move on and make room for ‘Taste the Nation,’ my books, and other creative pursuits. I am grateful for your love and support throughout the years.”

Lakshmi did not comment Friday. Lakshmi told The New York Times last year why she joined the show in the early days of reality TV. She enjoyed their meal seriously. “Catfights and lowest common denominator weren’t it.”

She thought “Top Chef” would at least introduce her to new book consumers. “We had no evidence this would be a huge pop culture phenomenon,” she added.

Padma Lakshmi will be departing the show.

Since 2006, the original “Top Chef” has filmed seasons in Boston, New Orleans, Kentucky, and Colorado. Each season, up-and-coming chefs battle to earn cash prizes and culinary industry fame and escape elimination and the dreaded “please pack your knives and go.”

“Top Chef” Season 20 concludes next week on Bravo. London-based “World All-Stars” included “Top Chef” champions, finalists, and famous contestants from across the world.

“Top Chef” co-star and judge Gail Simmons told The New York Times that she is “so grateful for all the knowledge she shared and for the friendship that saw us through countless milestones both on and off camera.”

Simmons said, “I could not have asked for a better host and partner in the job. “I’ll always admire her work ethic and how she paved the way for so many women and people of color across the many industries she touches.

She will always be crucial to me in my job and personal life. She left a mark on our program and will be missed in future “Top Chef” excursions.

Colicchio did not remark.

In remarks that hinted they might continue “Top Chef,” NBCUniversal and Magical Elves thanked and applauded Lakshmi.

“We will miss her on set at the judges’ table and as an executive producer, but we will remain forever grateful for her unwavering dedication to connecting with our cheftestants and Bravo’s viewers alike,” stated Magical Elves co-CEOs Casey Kriley and Jo Sharon.

The reality show’s face, 52-year-old Indian model, novelist, and campaigner Lakshmi, has been hailed for her elegance and humor.

Hulu broadcast Lakshmi’s second season of “Taste the Nation” last month. She traverses the US researching American cooking and eating.

She posed in a gold-coin bikini for Sports Illustrated last month. “This is me,” she stated accompanying an Instagram photo shoot video. “I wouldn’t go back to my 20s if you paid me everything.”

Her 1999 cookbook, “Easy Exotic,” was her debut. Since then, she has written “Tangy, Tart, Hot & Sweet,” a memoir, “Love, Loss and What We Ate,” a reference guide, “The Encyclopedia of Spices and Herbs,” and a children’s book, “Tomatoes for Neela.”

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