Padma Lakshmi is leaving ‘Prime Chef’ after 17 years

Padma Lakshmi, the longtime host and govt producer of the favored kitchen competitors present “Prime Chef,” will pack her knives and go, to make use of the phrase she uttered numerous occasions to contestants who had been eradicated from Bravo’s cutthroat contest.

“I’m extraordinarily proud to have been a part of constructing such a profitable present and of the impression it has had within the worlds of tv and meals,” she wrote in an announcement that she posted on social media Friday. Lakshmi mentioned she got here to the choice after “a lot soul looking out” and mentioned she plans to spend extra time on her Hulu docuseries “Style the Nation,” her writing and different tasks.

Lakshmi joined “Prime Chef” for its second season in 2006, and she or he mentioned this season — its twentieth, whose season finale airs subsequent week — can be her final. Throughout her run, Lakshmi garnered 4 Emmy nominations for excellent actuality present host, and the present racked up a further 10 Emmy nominations for excellent competitors program throughout her tenure as govt producer.

Lakshmi, who has written a number of cookbooks in addition to a memoir and a kids’s ebook, was lauded for her on-screen presence and her culinary chops — and her means to ship criticism of “cheftestants” with a aspect serving to of compassion. In a 2021 interview with The Washington Submit, she spoke about eager to stretch creatively past the present that made her a family title. “Like anyone, I wish to preserve difficult myself, and I wish to continue to grow as somebody who’s a author,” she mentioned. “I’m actually a author first.”

Chef and restaurateur Tom Colicchio, who has been head decide of “Prime Chef” for the reason that starting, mentioned that Lakshmi’s means to strike the proper steadiness got here naturally. “We aren’t taking part in roles — that’s simply who she is,” he mentioned in an interview. “She’s robust when she must be robust, and when she must be empathetic, she is.”

Behind the scenes, Lakshmi impressed him along with her work ethic and willpower to be taught the technical elements {of professional} kitchens. When she first joined the present, he famous, she had an excellent palate however little expertise in eating places. “So she put within the time,” Colicchio mentioned. “She frolicked within the kitchen at Le Bernardin. Once we would do challenges, she would do the analysis. She actually put within the work — not for the cameras — and that was spectacular.”

“Finish of an period and an unimaginable run,” wrote Bravo host and producer Andy Cohen, who was a producer and erstwhile decide on the present, in a touch upon Lakshmi’s Instagram put up saying her information. “You have been such an incredible associate and a BRILLIANT host. I’ve such nice reminiscences of our [‘Top Chef’] days.”

NBCUniversal launched an announcement praising Lakshmi — in addition to her gastronomic fortitude — and holding out the chance that she would possibly make a future visitor look on the present she helmed. “We’re grateful to Padma for being a consummate host, decide, and govt producer, and for bringing her ingenuity and distinctive palate to every episode the place she ate each chew of meals on the sequence for over 17 years and 19 seasons,” the statement said. “She’s going to at all times be a part of the ‘Prime Chef’ and the NBCUniversal household and has a seat on the judges’ desk anytime.”

Colicchio mentioned he realized of the information just a few minutes earlier than Lakshmi introduced it and professed to not know who would possibly fill her sneakers. He mentioned that whoever steps in, the present’s focus gained’t change. “It’s not about us,” he mentioned. “It’s concerning the cooks.” And he’s not planning to pack his personal knives anytime quickly. “I like doing it due to what it means to our business and to our cooks — due to this platform, they discover that they will increase cash for his or her eating places, which is very vital for girls and minorities,” he mentioned. “That’s the legacy of the present.”

One former contestant whose profile obtained a lift from the present is Kwame Onwuachi, now an writer and a James Beard Award-winning chef who helms Tatiana, his new restaurant in Lincoln Heart. Onwuachi mentioned he admires Lakshmi’s ardour for her work on “Prime Chef” and “Style the Nation,” in addition to her philanthropy. “She’s used her platform to elevate individuals up,” Onwuachi, who was a fan favourite on the thirteenth season of “Prime Chef,” mentioned in an electronic mail. “She’s at all times been there to assist and be a useful resource, whether or not it’s for various plights or it’s only a private factor. I’ve positively watched and have been impressed by it.”

Off-screen, Lakshmi is thought for her activism — she has lengthy advocated for consciousness and funding for endometriosis — and for sharing frank takes on political and social points.

Lakshmi, 52, was named to the Instances 100 record this yr and in addition posed for Sports activities Illustrated’s annual swimsuit issue, on whose pages the previous mannequin spoke concerning the prospects of recent life chapters. “I would like everyone to see this pictorial and perceive that generally a complete new part that’s much more thrilling than something you’ve ever skilled earlier than can occur effectively over 40,” she informed the journal.

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