Padma Lakshmi announces she is leaving Top Chef

TOP CHEF -- Episode 2001 -- Pictured: (l-r) Tom Colicchio, Padma Lakshmi, Gail Simmons -- (Photo by: David Moir/Bravo)
TOP CHEF -- Episode 2001 -- Pictured: (l-r) Tom Colicchio, Padma Lakshmi, Gail Simmons -- (Photo by: David Moir/Bravo) /

Top Chef fans will no longer hear Padma Lakshmi say, please pack your bags and go. Ahead of the World All-Stars finale airing on June 8, Lakshmi announced on social media that she would not be returning to the NBC Universal food television competition.

In a heartfelt statement, Lakshmi showed her appreciation for the food television show, the crew members, and others involved in the game changing culinary competition. She stated that her focus will be on her Hulu show, Taste the Nation, her books, and other creative pursuits.

Reaction was swift. From calling her a legend to saying that the show would not be the same without her, it seems that this decision will be a turning point for Top Chef. Lakshmi has been a focal point of the show. From Quickfire Challenges to Judges Table, many of the show’s iconic phrases and moments have come from Lakshmi.

Although she is stepping away from the Bravo show, it seems that the entrepreneur and activist will continue to be busy. Taste the Nation on Hulu has highlighted food and culture conversations. Even though each of those stories are unique, the commonalities create an appreciation for the connections that food offers. In a world where divisiveness often fills the conversation, it is imperative to discover the positive aspects.

Over the recent years, Lakshmi has been vocal on her desire to spark change. From women’s rights to cultural representation, she has never backed down from her beliefs. By stepping away from Top Chef, she might have even more opportunity to make meaningful impacts.

While there will be much speculation over her potential replacement, a new host will need to take a different approach to the position. There is only one person who can really deliver that “take your knives and go.”

Be sure to catch the final episode with Padma Lakshmi on Top Chef. Top Chef World All-Stars finale airs on Bravo Thursday, June 8 at 9 p.m. ET and streamed on Peacock the next day.