Bravo TV's Top Chef host and judge, Padma Lakshmi, built her culinary career on a passion for international cuisine. Culinary school students may not have Padma's jet-setting lifestyle, but they can easily become knowledgeable about foods from around the world.
Chef Padma Lakshmi's Cooking Goes Global
"You don't have to be a world traveler to have an eclectic palate," Padma wrote in her 2007 cookbook. "The world now comes to you, on every street corner and in every food court."
Born in 1970 in India, Padma spent her adolescence in New York and Los Angeles, speaks five languages, still works as an international fashion model, and has appeared in several movies. The unifying thread of her life, however, is good food. "I'm the kind of girl who thinks about what she's gonna cook for dinner when she's finishing her lunch," Padma once told a Vanity Fair interviewer.
Chef Lakshmi Wins Top Honors
Padma's first cookbook, Easy Exotic: Low-fat Recipes from Around the World, published in 1999, won the Best First Book Award at that year's World Cookbook Awards in Versailles, France. The award introduced Padma to the culinary community, and in 2000 she hosted episodes featuring Indian and Spanish food for Planet Food, a documentary series broadcast on the Food Network and the Discovery Channel. In 2001, she hosted Padma's Passport as part of the Food Network's Melting Pot show that highlights culinary arts and food from around the world.
Top Chef Lakshmi Takes Center Stage
In 2006, Padma was chosen to host and judge the second season of Top Chef--a position she still holds--and in 2007 she published her second cookbook: Tangy Tart Hot & Sweet: A World of Recipes for Every Day.
Sure, Padma Lakshmi can model, act, write, and host a television show, but can she cook? Chef Tom Colicchio, top judge of Top Chef, says yes. "She's very good. She has her own style," he told Vanity Fair. That style comes from embracing foods from around the globe--something any culinary school student, in any city, can do.