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Padma Lakshmi's Salacious Carl's Jr. Ad

The 'Top Chef' host’s commercial spiced things up for the fast food joint.

Every Thursday, celebrate #TBT with us as we open the vault to share photos and videos of Bravolebrities before they were famous—or revisit memorable moments from our shows. This week, we’re throwing it back to Padma Lakshmi’s intimate moment with a Carl’s Jr. Western Bacon burger.

Having featured some of the world’s most famous chefs and foodies over the years, Top Chef has earned its respective seat at the elite culinary world’s table. And since 2006, Bravo viewers have come to know Padma as the nice—but no-nonsense—host of the Emmy Award-winning competition show.

So in 2009 when Padma turned up in a racy TV ad for Carl’s Jr., it naturally raised a few eyebrows. Even revered Madison Ave trade publication, Ad Week, heralded the commercial as “redefining food porn.” Here's an extended version of the sexy ad that pushes the savory envelope.

But the question remains, would Padma ever really eat a Carl’s Jr. burger? Turns out the answer is yes. “I love food way too much to starve myself just to look good. I will put in the work at the gym so I can enjoy what I eat,” she has said.

And for the model-turned-host, this gig wasn’t simply about hawking a product. In her second cookbook, Tangy, Tart, Hot and Sweet, Padma actually credits Carl’s Jr. for bringing her away from her vegetarian upbringing during her teenage years. "The sublimely pleasurable taste of bacon...was further enhanced by its mingling with the barbeque sauce, greedily licked off as it dripped down my teenage fingers," she wrote.

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