Padma Lakshmi has announced her decision to leave Top Chef just ahead of the Season 20 finale.
“After much soul searching, I have made the difficult decision to leave Top Chef,” Lakshmi wrote in a statement. “Having completed a glorious 20th season as host and executive producer, I am extremely proud to have been part of building such a successful show and of the impact it has had in the worlds of television and food.”
She continued, “After 17 years, many of the cast and crew are like family to me and I will miss working alongside them dearly. I feel it’s time to move on and need to make space for Taste the Nation, my books, and other creative pursuits. I am deeply thankful to all of you for so many years of love and support. Sincerely, Padma.”
Lakshmi has hosted Top Chef since Season 2, when she took over from Katie Lee Joel. She has received a total of 13 Primetime Emmy nominations between her roles as host and executive producer — including four for Outstanding Host for a Reality or Competition Program — but has never taken home a trophy. Whoever steps into her shoes will join current judges Tom Colicchio and Gail Simmons.
As mentioned in her statement, Lakshmi is currently hosting a Hulu travel and food docuseries called Taste the Nation with Padma Lakshmi. Its second season was just released on the streamer in May.
— Padma Lakshmi (@PadmaLakshmi) June 2, 2023