Supreme Court justice and and lifelong gender equality advocate Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away on Friday, September 18 “surrounded by her family at her home in Washington, D.C., due to complications of metastatic pancreas cancer,” NBC News reports. Bravo’s Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi shared a touching tribute afterward, reflecting on the connection she shared with Ginsburg.
In a September 19 Instagram post, Padma shared two photos of herself with Justice Ginsburg, including one in which her daughter was able to meet the iconic justice.
“I met Justice Ginsburg, or 'Ruth' as I grew to call her, last year while filming Taste the Nation. She was so kind, curious and lovely,” Padma said, and then included a note she wrote about the meeting at the time. “There are meals in your life you will never forget. Meals you will tell your grandkids about. Last night was one of them. I had dinner with someone I’ve admired for a long long time. And she did not disappoint. Witty and whip smart, she had a twinkle in her eye the whole night. We sipped champagne, savored our gazpacho and crab and talked of India in the ‘80s and so much more.”
Padma opened up about how Ginsburg kept in touch following their meeting, as well as how the justice had been a major influence throughout the Top Chef host’s career.
“Weeks after Ruth invited me and Littlehands to meet her in her chambers at the Supreme Court where she patiently explained the many cases she had to Littlehands. She sent us books in the mail, beautifully wrapped with handwritten notes. I went back to visit her at court when the ACLU had a case on immigration there,” wrote Padma. “I cannot tell you what a loss this is for me personally, for women everywhere and for our country. She started the women’s rights project at the ALCU many years ago and my work and the work of so many people would not be possible if she hadn’t paved the way for us. She was someone I have admired so much for so many years, someone I looked up to.”
“With so much going on in her life, she took the time to befriend me and Littlehands and I will never forget her,” Padma continued. “A tall tree has fallen in our forest…”
Top Chef alum Karen Akunowicz also weighed in, writing, “Her legacy lives on. We have lost a giant.”
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