A South Indian by heart
Though modelling and food may not always have space for congruence, Padma Lakshmi got them together. She made the world fall in love with one of our country’s iconic dish — a humble bowl of curd rice. And does not shy away from speaking up for the causes she believes in.
Emmy-nominated Top Chef host, food writer and super model, Padma Lakshmi, has been instrumental in bringing varied worlds together.
Ahead of her visit to Hyderabad, to speak about her recent books The Encyclopedia of Spices and Herbs and her memoir, Love Loss and What We Ate, Padma speaks about how her Tamilian roots could be held responsible for her love for food and her recent debut on an Indian ramp at the Lakme Fashion Week.
In touch with my roots
I feel connected to my South Indian roots. I don’t struggle with this or feel I have to reinforce it. I have so many fond memories of my life in India and it’s always a pleasure to come home. Also, my love for spices, and particularly chillies, come from being a Tamilian. From very early on, I remember making pickles and spice blends with the women in my family. Also, my comfort food always involves rice with some sort of lentils and vegetables coupled with yogurt. I’m pretty basic and simple with my daily cooking.
Juggling between many roles
For many years, as I was transitioning out of modelling, I was actively pursuing film and TV roles because I had studied theatre and it was always my intended destination. Then a decade ago, I was offered Top Chef and while I didn’t think at the time that I would be completely changing careers, I did feel it was a golden opportunity to make a profession out of what was already an interest and passion. However, I think there’s more of me in my books than anywhere else. Fashion and television are collaborative efforts and incredibly creative as well. But with writing, you have total control and the voice and sensibility is for better or worse only your own.
Debut on the Indian ramp
I’m extremely happy to walk the ramp for Tarun Tahiliani at LFW. While I’ve spent years doing well in Milan, Paris, and New York, I never really worked on the Indian soil because it was so far from the rest of my career. So I’m incredibly honoured that I’ve been given the chance to experience it now.
On Top Chef we strongly encourage creativity. However, often the best dishes wind up being the most excellent executions of classic dishes. Something as simple as a beautifully soufflé or a perfectly crisp and flaky pie with apples and cinnamon will win our attention for its simplicity and execution.