For almost 10 years Padma Lakshmi has been a prominent face on culinary television. Off the small screen, the single mom is at the helm of her rapidly-expanding food empire. We spoke to the TV star about her career and the journey so far.
Did you think your career would be about food?
I’m as surprised as anyone. I always loved cooking. I would love to rule the world with a wooden spoon. But if you had told me 10 years ago that I would have this career (a food company, a table top company that manufactures plates and dishware) I don’t think I’d have believed it. I picked up cooking from the women in my family. In my grandmom’s house in Chennai, most of the action was in the kitchen. Being Indian really helped, I understood how to mix spices, and various things about food. Because of my modelling career I also got to travel a lot and lived in France, Italy and Spain. It was there that I really understood world cuisine. My ethnic background propelled me into this career.
How do you manage to stay fit when you eat for a living?
Eating as a job is not easy at all. I have to work out at least an hour every day. I have to really watch what I eat. I don’t eat sugar, butter or fried food. It takes a lot of will power and as I become older it gets harder. My daughter (Krishna) wants to eat all these juicy things and I want her to have all the yummy food that a young child needs to grow. Her eating habits are not conducive to my weight goals at the moment. I don’t eat like I eat on Top Chef. I eat very light and exercise a lot in order to compensate.
What are the food trends that you are looking to explore in this season of Top Chef?
The new season is shot in one of my favourite locations in New Orleans, USA. New Orleans has a great culture and a unique cuisine. There’s a wonderful blend of French and Carribean. We will be looking at fusion food and a mix of cultures.
Watch Padma Lakshmi cook with Ellen here