Actor-model turned author Padma Lakshmi, who has been the host of Emmy-winning US reality TV show Top Chef, is on her way to penning another cookbook, and says Indian cuisine was never this big abroad. “I’m taking my time because I tend not to write unless I really have something to say. I just go to my computer and start typing or go to the kitchen to experiment. We’ll see what comes out organically,” says the 40-year-old.
In the wake of Mumbai-born Floyd Cardoz winning Top Chef Masters (a spin-off of her show) with his recipe of upma, Padma reaffirms the popularity of Indian cuisine in the West. “It’s one of the trendy cuisines here, and people like Floyd are part of the reason why. There’s a lot more awareness about spices. Also, with so many people turning vegetarian, Indian food caters very well to their palate,” she says.
Lakshmi credits her home country for her interest in food. Recalling her most impactful brush with Indian khaana, she says, “When I was young, I would spend a lot of time in the kitchen with my grandmother. Everything she did — the way she made her masalas, mixed her pickles — it really created an impression on me.”