The One Thing Top Chef's Padma Lakshmi Really Wants for the Holidays Is the Hardest to Get

The host of Bravo's Top Chef has an elusive holiday wish.

Bravo's Top Chef's Season 16 is underway in Kentucky, and the show's host Padma Lakshmi has a lot on her plate — so much so, in fact, that she experienced some post-Thanksgiving blues (before eventually finding that holiday spirit with her little girl — in the kitchen, of course).

So what Padma really wants this holiday season is something not material, but rather delightfully intangible. (With due respect to Tom Colicchio's new cookware line, which indeed makes a killer gift of the material variety.)

The Feast caught up with Padma at Kellogg’s Holiday Baking Challenge in New York City, where she shared her dream holiday gift. "Ah, some peace and quiet," she said. "I would love that wrapped in a box." And who can't relate to that?

She told us, "I don’t really need anything — I honestly don’t. Around my birthday, I always tell people just to make a donation to this organization called Shanti Bahavan Children's Project. They give [children] boarding, education, music, and sports, from pre-k all the way to high school. And they’re building a separate school. So, for my birthday this year, I got a cafeteria for the kids, which was really nice. I’ve been to this school and having a relationship with these kids for like seven years now, and I’ve seen some of them that were like in junior high now are graduating and are already getting jobs."

As a parent, Padma feels especially warm about redirecting any gifts to the charity that would have been potentially directed her way instead. "It's wonderful to — you know, I only have one child. I'm really lucky to have her, but in a way I kind of feel like I have 268 other children [through this org]. So I don’t really need anything. I don’t."
Of course, she added one more time for good measure, "I just need more time. Maybe somebody can find peace and quiet and time [to give me] — that would be very helpful!"

—Reporting by Laura Rosenfeld

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