Padma Lakshmi took the stage in a striking white dress as she attended a literature session on Day 1 of the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival. The audience — gathered for the HDFC Home Loans literature event held at the David Sassoon Library Gardens — were excited to hear about her culinary adventures.
The model, author and TV host began by reading an excerpt from her book, Love, Loss and What We Ate, which was launched in India at Saturday’s session. Connecting kumquat chutney to her childhood, Lakshmi recalled how the fruit’s citrusy fragrance reminded her of her mother.
“I was sitting in a hotel room, amid piles of boxes that carried all my belongings. It was right after I had separated from Salman [Rushdie, author]. The kumquat reminded me of my childhood, and how my mother would comfort me when I was upset,” she read.
A memoir, the book reminiscences about experiments with food from all over the world. “This is my first global book tour and I’m so happy to associate with the Kala Ghoda Festival and reach out to an audience that will connect with the experiences I’ve shared,” she said.
Though she grew up in the United States, Lakshmi says she visited India every year, and has fond memories of Mumbai’s bhel puri, particularly the kind she once ate at Juhu stall. “I can eat off the back of a truck, really. I love India’s street food,” she said.
“I’m a foodie and Padma’s approach to food and health has inspired me,” said Ritika Ray, 22, a social media marketing executive from Andheri.
“I’ve been a fan since 2008, when she first appeared in [reality TV show] Top Chef. I’m happy to have heard her in person today,” she said.
The session was a pleasant surprise for Aadi Vaidya, 25, an entrepreneur from Andheri who walked in expecting the talk to focus mainly on recipes. “I loved how personal and honest Padma was,” she said. “Though I’m a foodie, I’m looking forward to reading about her life, rather than her experiments with food.”