After nearly two decades, Padma Lakshmi is hanging up her chef hat as she announces her departure from NBC’s “Top Chef”.
Lakshmi, who has been the iconic host and judge of the series for 17 years and 19 seasons, announced on her Twitter that she would exit from the Emmy-winning cooking competition show on Friday.
“After much soul searching, I have made the difficult decision to leave Top Chef,” the Bravo star shared. “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.”
— Padma Lakshmi (@PadmaLakshmi) June 2, 2023
“I feel it’s time to move on and make space for Taste the Nation, my books and other creative pursuits,” which is Lakshmi’s award-winning Hulu series which has entered its second season.
Since its second season in 2006, Lakshmi, 52, has been the shining star of “Top Chef”, hosting and judging the series with her culinary expertise and charismatic presence.
In a statement shared with ET, a NBCUniversal spokesperson emphasized Lakshmi’s impact on the show: “Padma Lakshmi leaves behind an incredible legacy on Bravo’s ‘Top Chef.’ Her impact on the Emmy, James Beard and Critics’ Choice Award-winning series is undeniable. 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 will always be part of the ‘Top Chef’ and the NBCUniversal family and has a seat at the judges’ table anytime.”
Lakshmi’s heartfelt post garnered a flood of support from her Bravo family, with notable figures like season 19 winner Buddha Lo and Andy Cohen leaving their comments.
“End of an era and an incredible run. You were such an amazing partner and a BRILLIANT host,” praised Cohen. “I have such great memories of our TC days.”
Lakshmi’s announcement arrives just days ahead of the highly anticipated “Top Chef” finale, scheduled to air on June 8 at 9 p.m. EST on Bravo.
Lakshmi’s replacement on “Top Chef” remains undisclosed.