"Top Chef" executioner has a heart, really
The Miami Herald
Ice princess probably isn't the right term for Padma Lakshmi. Even though the Top Chef judge dispenses all her exiting cheftestants flatly with her signature "Please pack your knives and go," the 38-year-old former model from Kerala, India, really, really has a heart.
"I always feel bad because Top Chef is much harder to compete in than it even looks on TV," says Lakshmi, who appears on the cover of this month's Ocean Drive. "I'm with these chefs day and night and I can see how much heart and soul they put into their work. Telling a chef to go home is the single most difficult thing about my job."
The former Mrs. Salman Rushdie opened up about other, better parts of
the gig and what she's up to off the set:
You filmed Top Chef: Miami down here in '07. What did you think of the
"I love the food in Miami. I especially loved all the citrus and seafood. The confluence of Latin flavors and Southern cooking traditions as well as Caribbean cooking all make for a great culinary scene. Some of my favorite spots are Table 8, Michael's Genuine, or just getting tacos at Lime."
You're super thin — how do you do it? Have any guilty pleasures?
"I do try not to overeat, especially when dining out. But it's always hard — starting from when you first get to the table and that big, fat bread basket is eyeing you. My best guilty pleasure is watching old sitcoms and eating grilled cheese and tomato soup in bed."
Are you a fan of reality TV in general?
"I must say I'm not. In fact, as my life becomes busier, I find that I don't have time to turn the TV on enough, but when I do, I'm more drawn to shows like Flight of the Conchords and Mad Men. I have a weakness for old black and white videos of Julia Child's cooking show and documentaries. I've stayed up till 3 a.m. watching things like the history of paint!"
We hear you have launched a fine jewelry collection inspired by your
"The line of [cuffs, necklaces and rings] is 10K and 14K gold with semi and precious stones. I wanted to do a line that women could wear with jeans as well as with cocktail dresses. I wasn't able to find anything on the market that really suited all my needs."
If you weren't a chef/host/author what would you be?
"I have really been fortunate to make a professional life out of what genuinely interests me. I love food, film and fashion and my work is in these areas. But I suppose trapeze artist would be interesting."