Padma, who serves as host, a judge, and an executive producer of Top Chef, recently told The Washington Post that she wants to see more people of color and women represented in the cast and among the guest judges of the culinary competition.
“I don’t and can’t have anything to do with casting the chef contestants who compete on ‘Top Chef,’ because it poses a direct conflict of interest with my position as one of the judges,” she said. “But as an executive producer, I have been calling for more diversity among the cast and among our guest judges, specifically with more African American and Latinx voices, as well as women, for a long time. I bring it up at the start of every season, and I think while we have a long way to go, we are doing better. I hope we will continue to do more.”
Padma, who was originally born in India and grew up in the United States, has long been a proponent of diversity in the kitchen, highlighting different culinary traditions in her hosting gigs and cookbooks prior to Top Chef. She continues to use her platform to speak out against racism and social injustice, as well as give voice to the immigrant and female experience in America.
She has also taken action, such as co-founding the Endometriosis Foundation of America in 2009, becoming a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Development Programme, and serving as an Artist Ambassador for immigrants' rights and women's rights for the American Civil Liberties Union.
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