A portrait of Padma Lakshmi with a designed treatment

Padma Lakshmi

Padma Lakshmi is an Emmy-nominated food expert, television host, producer and The New York Times best-selling author.


She is the creator, host, and executive producer of the critically acclaimed Hulu series Taste the Nation, which received a 2021 Critics Choice Real TV Award for Best Culinary Series and a 2021 Gotham Award for Breakthrough Series. The series has been greenlit for a second season.


Lakshmi also serves as host and executive producer of Bravo's two-time Emmy-winning series Top Chef, which has been nominated for 32 Emmys, including her two-time nomination for Outstanding Host for A Reality-Competition Program. Its new season will be premiering in spring 2021.


Lakshmi is co-founder of the Endometriosis Foundation of America (EFA) and an American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Artist Ambassador for immigrants' rights and women's rights. Lakshmi was also appointed a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).


Born in India, she grew up in the United States, graduating from Clark University with a Bachelor's Degree in Theatre Arts and American Literature. Known as India's first supermodel, she began her career as a fashion model and actress working in Europe and the United States.


Lakshmi established herself as a food expert early in her career hosting Padma's Passport, where she cooked diverse cuisine from around the world and Planet Food, a documentary series, both on the Food Network domestically and worldwide on the Discovery Channel. She also co-hosted Rai Television's Domenica In, Italy's highest-rated variety show.


She's a prolific author, writing the best-selling Easy Exotic, which won the "Best First Book" award at the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards. Lakshmi followed this with the publication of her second cookbook, Tangy, Tart, Hot & Sweet and her memoir The New York Times best-selling Love, Loss and What We Ate. She later published The Encyclopedia of Spices & Herbs. In August of 2021 she will publish her first children's book Tomatoes for Neela.


In addition to her food writing, Lakshmi has also contributed to Vogue, Gourmet, both British and American Harper's Bazaar, as well as penning a syndicated column on fashion and food for The New York Times.


Lakshmi created a fine jewelry line The Padma Collection, which sold at Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom. She also designed a home décor line under the same name featuring tabletop dishware, stemware and hand-blown glass décor pieces, was sold nationwide in Bloomingdale's. In addition, Lakshmi created Padma's Easy Exotic, a collection of culinary products ranging from frozen organic foods, fine teas, natural spice blends and home goods. In 2018, Lakshmi collaborated with MAC Cosmetics for a worldwide capsule collection called MAC Padma which quickly sold out in both India and the United States.


After unknowingly suffering from endometriosis for decades, in 2009 she co-founded the Endometriosis Foundation of America (EFA) alongside Advanced Gynecological Surgeon Tamer Seckin, MD. The EFA launched the first interdisciplinary research facility in the country for Gynepathology, as a joint project between Harvard Medical School and MIT and Lakshmi gave the keynote address at the Center's opening in December 2009.


Her efforts were recognized on the floor of the New York State Senate, where she succeeded in passing a bill related to teen health initiatives. The organization's ENPOWR program has currently educated over 32,000 students about endometriosis in high schools across the state of New York.


Lakshmi is a visiting scholar at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and has received the 2018 Karma Award from Variety, as well as the 2016 EIHS Ellis Island Medal of Honor.


She lives in New York with her daughter.

Indian Summer Masala
Rating: Unrated
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This spice blend is Padma Lakshmi's riff on an Indian street-food blend called chaat masala.
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This chicken dish from Padma Lakshmi's book Tangy Tart Hot and Sweet features a sweet cashew sauce. Serve the chicken with vegetables and your favorite whole grain to soak up the luscious sauce.
With so many cultural influences from around the globe, America just might be the most exciting place to eat. Guest editor, award-winning cookbook author and TV host Padma Lakshmi takes a look at the diverse and delicious food Americans are serving up.
If you're planning a trip to the Big Apple—and aren't sure where to start your food journey—check out this list curated by Padma Lakshmi, a NYC resident and frequent visitor of these establishments.
My family has dozens of variations on this dish, and they all signify love and care to me.
Beef shawarma is traditionally roasted on a spit and then sliced thin. This grilled version by Padma Lakshmi has similar vibes thanks to a highly seasoned marinade.
For all the flavor of a classic PB&J without the added sugar, just reach for the real deal—fresh fruit.
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Yogurt Rice
Rating: Unrated
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Savory, cool yogurt rice, or "curd rice," as it's referred to on the Indian subcontinent, is the ultimate comfort food.
Baharat Spiced Eggplant
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Baharat means "spices" in Arabic—and this Middle Eastern seasoning is loaded with them.