Top Chef has lost one of its favorites. Host Padma Lakshmi (above, left) has departed the cooking competition series after 17 years on the job. The model and actor will not be seen in season 21 of the series, which Bravo picked up in May. Lakshmi’s last appearance on the Bravo reality series was in the Top Chef World All-Stars season, which ended last week.
This is not the last viewers will see of Lakshmi, however. She currently hosts Hulu’s Taste the Nation. a show she also created and executive produces. That series returned for its second season in May. While the streaming service has not officially announced a third season renewal yet, the program will likely continue.
Lakshmi revealed the following about her decision to leave Top Chef in an interview with the Los Angeles Times:
“There were a whole lot of complex factors that went into this decision. The biggest one is Taste the Nation, which consumes me in the best way, intellectually, spiritually, creatively, and I just want to keep making it. Other than writing my memoir and editing the anthology [of travel essays], it has been the most gratifying work of my life. I love both shows for very different reasons, and I’m very, very lucky to have two hit shows on TV at the same time. That’s like lightning in a bottle — I felt like, how could I give that up? You know, because Hollywood likes to keep you nice and scared.
Last year, my grandmother died. She practically raised me. A week after, I had to go and film Taste the Nation, which was honestly the best thing because it kept my mind occupied. It’s OK because it’s one week out on the road and then one week off, where I’m working to set up the next week but at least I get to sleep at home with my kid. We went away for a week for spring break; we had two weeks away in August. And then, bang, I was on the set of Top Chef from mid-August until October. So I was on the road from February to October. And I was exhausted. I just want to enjoy my life a little bit.
That’s not to say I don’t want to do more projects. But I also don’t want to eat like I do on Top Chef anymore. I’m the only one on the show that eats every single thing. I did it for a long time, and I don’t think that is sustainable for me.”
Bravo will announce a premiere date for Top Chef season 21 later. A new host has yet to be announced.
What do you think? Are you surprised by Lakshmi’s exit from Top Chef? Will you continue to watch the series without her?
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