Deadline reports that Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi is leaving the show after 17 years and 19 seasons! The news comes as a total shock to Top Chef-heads like myself, who assumed Padma would be cooly judging Quickfires while serving effortless FASHUN until her dying day. But at least fans can breathe a big sigh of relief that it wasn’t Tom Colicchio. I truly don’t know what we’d do if we lost sexy, sexy Tom.
52-year-old Padma shared the big news in a statement shared on social media. She writes:
After much soul searching, I have made the difficult decision to leave Top Chef. 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.
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. I am deeply thankful to all of you for so many years of love and support.
Here’s the post:
A spokesperson from NBCUniversal said. via Deadline:
“Padma Lakshmi leaves behind an incredible legacy on Bravo’s Top Chef,” and NBCUniversal spokesperson said. “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.”
Padma actually wasn’t the original host of Top Chef. She was hired in Season 2. Season 1’s host was Katie Lee, then Katie Lee Joel, third ex-wife of Billy Joel. Katie wasn’t exactly a fan favorite. Padma, on the other hand… fans on the Top Chef subreddit are in mourning. Comments include, “This is the worst news I’ve ever heard,” “I don’t want her to pack her knives and go,” and, “I’m in hell.”
No news on who might replace Padma. Fans are mentioning judge Gail Simmons and former contestant-turned-judge Kristen Kish. Either way, I hope they keep it in the Top Chef family. Might I suggest my most recent favorite contestant, Gabriel Rodriguez? Sweet, talented Gabi is one of the top 3 contestants in Top Chef: World All-Stars (the season finale airs next week) and the winner of the second season of Top Chef Mexico Season 2. It’s a long shot, but if anybody from NBCUniversal is reading this… maybe chew on it?
So, bad news for Top Chef fans, but good news for Padma’s poor stomach. Padma has repeatedly claimed she eats 8,000 to 9,000 calories a day while filming Top Chef. That’s hard enough for a regular human’s stomach, but factor in Padma’s model genes. Her organs just aren’t built for that kind of stress!
Pic: Roger Wong/INSTARimages