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The Daily Dish Top Chef

Padma Lakshmi Opens Up About What’s “Hard” About Being Away from Home for Filming

The Top Chef host got real about the emotional struggles of being a “single working mom” on the road.

By Brad Witter
Daily Dish Top Chef Padma Lakshmi

Even when globe-trotting in search of the best culinary delights, Bravo’s Top Chef’s Padma Lakshmi still craves the comforts of home. In a candid October 2 Instagram video, she shared a relatable look at the woes of being a “single working mom” to her daughter, Krishna, aka Little Hands, while filming Top Chef Season 20 in London.

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“This is the longest I’ve ever been away from [Little Hands],” Padma captioned the clip that she self-filmed in her hotel room’s bed. “I’m lucky to travel the world through my work on both Taste the Nation and Top Chef. But some days it’s hard. As a single working mom, finding a balance between all the moving parts of your life can be exhausting. I’m thankful to do what I love, but I’ve been on the road since my grandma died in February.”

She continued, “I’m road weary. And lonely. And I miss my little girl. One more stop before home, to hold her tight. The end seems so close and yet still so far.” Admitting that “today was hard,” the Top Chef host ended the caption by thanking her crew “for being my family away from home,” adding three red heart emojis.

Padma echoed those sentiments in her video, explaining that she’s “so full of food” as Top Chef heads into “the home stretch” of filming Season 20. “The chefs are cooking really well, but it’s just hard, and I miss my kid,” she said, adding that she just wants to sleep in her own bed.

The distance she feels from home isn’t just spatial either. “Every time I phone home, Krishna’s, like, pretty monosyllabic,” Padma shared. “I mean, not all the time, but most of the time. She does tell me stuff, but I just feel separated from her and kind of not part of her life.”

After Top Chef’s Karen Akunowicz and actress Mindy Kaling sent love in emoji form, another fellow mother, Drew Barrymore, offered a more verbose response. “Thank you for the real! Thank you for being you. Thank you for being an amazing mom. Thank you for showing all these people’s stories,” she wrote. “And I have a pizza salad waiting for you after you have had ample time with [Little Hands,] hurry home.”

Padma replied that she “can’t wait” for that future meetup, adding three red heart emojis.

A day earlier, the Top Chef mom had already admitted she was feeling a bit homesick. “Missing my girls,” she began her caption for the October 1 post that included several adorable mother-daughter photos. Padma encouraged her followers to swipe to the fourth slide “to see Divina giving me the death stare for being on the road so long.” Davina, of course, is her dog, and the aforementioned photo was a screenshot of them “talking” over FaceTime.


Though her travel finish line is “so close, but so far away,” their imminent family reunion will surely be sweeter than any dessert she’s sampled on Top Chef.

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