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The Daily Dish Top Chef

Padma Lakshmi Is Leaving Top Chef: Read Her Emotional Goodbye

The Top Chef host and executive producer’s departure comes after a 17-year stint on the show.

By Allison Crist

Bravo’s Top Chef host and executive producer Padma Lakshmi is departing the show, she announced in a statement shared on Instagram on Friday, June 2.

Padma Lakshmi’s Statement About Her Top Chef Departure

How to Watch

Watch Top Chef on Bravo and next day on Peacock.

“After much soul searching, I have made the difficult decision to leave Top Chef,” the statement began. “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 and of the impact it has had in the worlds of television and food.”

“After 17 years, many of the cast and crew are like family to me and I will miss working alongside them dearly,” Padma continued. “I feel it’s time to move on.”

She then noted that she plans to “make space” for other projects, including “my books and other creative pursuits,” before concluding the statement by expressing her gratitude: “I am deeply thankful to all of you for so many years of love and support.”

Padma Lakshmi Season 20 Top Chef press portrait.

Reactions to Padma Lakshmi Leaving Top Chef

An NBCUniversal spokesperson issued the following statement: “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.”

Gail Simmons said in a statement: “Padma and I worked together for 17 years. I’m so grateful for all the knowledge she shared and for the friendship that saw us through countless milestones both on and off camera. I could not have asked for a better host and partner in the job. I’ll always admire her work ethic and how she paved the way for so many women and people of color across the many industries she touches. She is an important person not just in my career, but in my personal life, and will remain so. There’s no denying her impact on our show and she will be missed in our future Top Chef adventures.”

Tom Colicchio said in a statement: "For 17 years and 19 seasons, what an incredible run together.  The places we have been, the people we have met, the countless dishes we have judged.  It’s memories for a lifetime.  I wish you well and all the best success in the future."

Andy Cohen also responded to Padma’s announcement, commenting on her Instagram post, “End of an era and an incredible run. You were such an amazing partner and a BRILLIANT host. I have such great memories of our [Top Chef] days.”

The Future of Top Chef

Padma’s announcement comes ahead of the Top Chef Season 20 finale, set to air on June 8, as part of the show’s World All-Stars season in London.

Bravo previously announced in May that Top Chef will return for Season 21

Padma Lakshmi’s Top Chef Legacy

Padma joined Bravo’s Top Chef as a judge and host for Season 2 in 2006. Over the years, her hosting stint has garnered her a flurry of awards and nominations, including four Emmy nominations for Outstanding Host for a Reality or Competition Program. She also received an additional 10 Emmy nominations for Outstanding Competition Program for her work as a producer on the show.

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