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The Daily Dish Top Chef

5 Things We Learned About Padma Lakshmi During Her Revealing Memoir Q&A

The #TopChef host opened up about her life while discussing new memoir Love, Loss, and What We Ate with fans.

By Jocelyn Vena

Padma Lakshmi wrote her memoir, Love, Loss and What We Ate, to share another side of herself with the world. In fact, when she sat down with Andy Cohen on Tuesday during a Q&A session about the release, she explained one of the most important things she wanted fans to learn from the book. "I'm not the cold bitch I appear to be on Top Chef all the time," she said.

How to Watch

Watch the Top Chef Season 21 premiere on Wednesday, March 20 at 9/8c on Bravo and next day on Peacock.

That's just one of the revelations Padma shared about herself during the sit-down, which featured questions from Andy as well as fans in attendance. The Daily Dish was on hand for the chat, which took place at Barnes & Noble in New York's Union Square. Here's the Cliffs Notes version of some of the tastiest tidbits we learned about the model/foodie/mom.

1. Nora Ephron Mentored Her

Yes, the book title is indeed a reference to Nora Ephron's Love, Loss, and What I Wore. The famed author helped Padma through the process of writing her memoir after they met at an Oscars party. "I kind of confessed that I was really struggling with this book and she very generously took me out to lunch, and she was very generous and became a mentor to me in the last year of her life," Padma told Andy. "When I was really struggling with the book and when it was still kind of supposed to be a healthy eating book... I kept struggling. I was lost in the forest of my own writing and she was tease me and say, 'Hey kiddo, how's Love, Loss and What We Ate?' She kept using that as a nickname for the book and it kind of stuck. And then after she died, I just thought it was a great title. She was a great friend to me."

2. She Once Had a Relationship with a Woman

Padma dished about a brief affair with a woman during her modeling days in Milan. "It was the first time I was far away from home and I was surrounded by the most beautiful women in the world," she recalled to the Watch What Happens Live host. "I'm not sorry. It was the first time I was an adult. I was experimenting with my sexuality. I never had had an emotional, romantic relationship with a woman. But I'm not sorry. It was a beautiful experience. It happened a few times and that's it."

3. Sometimes Bad Things Happen on Top Chef

During a more tense period with Adam Dell, the father of her daughter Krishna, Padma received the news that he was suing her for full custody while she was in the middle oftaping the show in the Bahamas. The news arrived via a call from her publicist. To make matters worse, Adam was visiting Padma and their daughter. "It was a very intense time," she said to Andy. "Highly tense and stressful. He was there to see Krishna. He was there to have his visitation... This is like dead-serious. This is like no-joke drama. I was shocked but I thank god for Top Chef. My work saved me because I had to stand on that 'X.'" But things are definitely better with Adam these days. "We certainly get the badge for Most Improved," Padma noted.

4. There's No One Journey in Life

Despite appearing poised and in control whenever we see her, there was a time in Padma's life when she didn't have everything planned out. In fact, around the time she was 30, she started to feel like she hadn't accomplished all that much. "Sometimes it takes longer to cook. I wanted to say I didn't know who I was for a long time," she told one audience member of her path to a successful life. "I'm really happy with who I am. And I'm even happy to have gone through a lot of the really hard parts of my life because they made me stronger."

5. Yes, She's Nervous About Krishna Reading Her Book

Considering the book goes into great detail about the love triangle she was in when she found out she was pregnant, there are aspects of the book that Padma does worry about her daughter reading someday. "I'm really proud of this book, but I'm nervous about everything my daughter reading it. I'm not gonna lie," she told the The Daily Dish. "You know the books came early and I was singing them for friends, and Krishna said, 'Oh I want one mommy.' And literally I felt nauseous. My stomach fell. But I think that in our house, if you came to my house, there are books all over. And my grandfather taught all of us the love of books. And so I do want her to love books. I think she'll probably read it much sooner than I want her to, but hopefully by the time she reads it she would have already had a lot of these things filtered down to her at every stage of life — by me, by her father, by her grandmother, by her aunts, by her uncles — in a way that's age appropriate. And what Krishna knows today is that 'Daddy and mommy weren't married. And that mommy really loved Poppy (former boyfriend Teddy Forstmann, who she initially thought may havebeen Krishna's father) and that all of them really love me.'"

It's a big week for Padma. In addition to the release of her memoir, Top Chef is gearing up for its two-part finale from Las Vegas this week. Check out a preview.

On Top of the World

Take a look Padma's pics from her modeling days, below. 

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