“Top Chef” host and cookbook author Padma Lakshmi just finished doing a
Reddit “Ask Me Anything” sessiontoday.
She fielded questions ranging from the upcoming New Orleans season of “Top Chef” to her own favourite recipes and go-to meals.
She even refused to tell one Redditor to ‘pack his knives and go,’ explaining that she “never tell[s] anyone to pack their knives and go outside of the Top Chef kitchen!”
See some of her best answers below:
Who was your favourite guest judge?
I feel like Top Chef is such a part of popular culture that it’s nice when we can incorporate other figures who are also in pop culture who are also in the zeitgeist at the moment. For instance, Pee-wee Herman (who had a TV show years and years ago before anyone had the idea to do a Top Chef) was — by the way — our single most popular celebrity guest judge. Even our crew was walking around like giggly teenage girls, and some of us even dressed like him in homage. For instance, my assistant Jason Duffy not only dressed himself in a white collar shirt with a red bowtie with slicked-back hair, he dressed my daughter like that too. Lucky for him, she was at an age where she didn’t have a choice in the matter.
What’s it like for you when contestants are eliminated?
I am the person who spends the most time with the chefs. I am in the kitchen with them every single day. And I know how hard they work, and I can see how passionate they are about being the best that they can be.
And to leave your family and friends and your work, and take that personal and professional battle on with cameras rolling and millions of people watching you is just plain hard sometimes. It’s as wonderful when you do well as it is awful when you don’t. And I physically feel that pain along with them. I can’t help it, I never had much of a poker face.
What was the best dish you’ve ever eaten on “Top Chef”?
Ilan Hall made the best dish I’ve ever had on Top Chef. It was in the last episode in California, we went to Santa Barbara with Eric Ripert. Ilan made a beautiful spanish dish with noodles and seafood called Sedillos Con Chorizo.
It was divine. It’s this beautiful baked bubbly dish with clams and spicy chorizo, and it was so good I finished my whole portion and half of Eric’s portion. I think that was the point where I got the nickname Padma ‘are you gonna eat that’ Lakshmi.
What’s your favourite curry to make at home?
That’s a hard one, but my simplest curry is really just made with mirepoix, some protein, and coconut milk. There’s a South Indian dish called Meean Moilee. Literally translated it means Fish for Molly. And it is a gentle version of an Indian curry that we believe was first made for an English woman during colonial times called Molly, who didn’t like spicy food. It’s basically a simple fish stew but the fiery curry powder is tempered by the addition of coconut milk. It’s a nice dish to make for the whole family. It’s a Keralan dish from the very deep South of India.
If you could only eat one food item for the rest of your life, what would it be?
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