Padma Lakshmi Announces She’s Leaving ‘Top Chef’ After 17 Years: ‘Time to Move On’

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MAY 23: <span class="caas-xray-inline-tooltip"><span class="caas-xray-inline caas-xray-entity caas-xray-pill rapid-nonanchor-lt" data-entity-id="Padma_Lakshmi" data-ylk="cid:Padma_Lakshmi;pos:1;elmt:wiki;sec:pill-inline-entity;elm:pill-inline-text;itc:1;cat:MediaPersonality;" tabindex="0" aria-haspopup="dialog"><a href="" data-i13n="cid:Padma_Lakshmi;pos:1;elmt:wiki;sec:pill-inline-entity;elm:pill-inline-text;itc:1;cat:MediaPersonality;" tabindex="-1" data-ylk="slk:Padma Lakshmi;cid:Padma_Lakshmi;pos:1;elmt:wiki;sec:pill-inline-entity;elm:pill-inline-text;itc:1;cat:MediaPersonality;" class="link ">Padma Lakshmi</a></span></span> attends the Full Bloom: The 2023 Moth Ball Honoring Hasan Minhaj at Pier 60 on May 23, 2023 in New York City. (Photo by Roy Rochlin/Getty Images for The Moth)
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When Padma Lakshmi first appeared on Top Chef Season 2, her presence was received generally well. She knew her stuff and brought welcome and helpful advice to every contestant.

But what we didn’t realize at the time was just how much of a legend Padma would become. The woman is an Emmy-nominated personality and helped Top Chef as a show in its Emmy wins and nominations. She’s dipped her toes into acting, modeling, and of course, writing, with her cookbooks and memoirs.

So imagine the devastation when, off the back of Season 20, Episode 13, just before the finale airs, Padma announced that she’d be leaving Top Chef.

Why is Padma leaving Top Chef?

The superstar took to Twitter and Instagram to make the announcement. “After much soul searching, I have made the difficult decision to leave Top Chef,” she wrote. She expressed gratitude for being able to host and produce the show, and for what the program has done for culinary arts.

Her heartfelt statement continued, “After 17 years, many of the cast and crew are like family to me.” She explained her reason for leaving as simply wanting to work on other creative pursuits, including her books and her show, Taste the Nation.

A spokesperson from NBCUniversal shared a statement with People about Padma’s departure, saying, “Padma Lakshmi leaves behind an incredible legacy on Bravo’s Top Chef … We are grateful to Padma for being a consummate host, judge and executive producer, and for bringing her ingenuity and exceptional palate to each episode where she ate every bite of food on the series for over 17 years and 19 seasons.  She … has a seat at the judges’ table anytime.”

While we’ll miss Padma dishing about the contestants and food, we’re overjoyed to know that she has plenty to work on in the future. We’ll see her again. Her replacement has not yet been announced.

The Top Chef Season 20 finale airs Thursday, June 8 at 9/8c on Bravo.


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