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Style & Living Top Chef

Padma Lakshmi Explains the Problem with Turning Top Chef into a Blind Judging Contest

Bravo's Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi is open to blind judging — but says it wouldn't work on the show.

By Alesandra Dubin
‘Top Chef’ Clubhouse Quickfire with Padma Lakshmi and Tom Colicchio!

Bravo's Top Chef's hotly anticipated Season 16 is underway in Kentucky — and its host, Padma Lakshmi, has been sharing some juicy behind-the-scenes details. For one thing, she recently revealed which part (yes, just one part) of the show is scripted. But that's not the only show secret she's spilling.

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The Feast caught up with Padma at Kellogg’s Holiday Baking Challenge in NYC where she also revealed her thoughts on a topic fans have been discussing online already this season: the idea of blind judging, and whether it would be a good fit for Top Chef.

"I mean, you can blindfold me and not tell me who made a dish but... I would know anyway," Padma told us. "Because everyone has a cooking style and I’m with these chefs all the time. So I’m tasting their recipes for quickfire [challenges and] for the main challenge."

Beyond that logistical obstacle to pulling off a blind judging format, Padma doesn't really think it's necessary for Top Chef — but she'd be open to it nevertheless. "If people think that that would make judging more fair, I’m happy to do it," she told The Feast. "A lot of times they just give us four dishes because we want to eat the food while it’s hot. I go ahead and I taste them as soon as I can... but you know Tom and I can tell who made something."

Padma continued, "Of course the show gets edited down, but there are hours and hours and hours of footage on the editing floor that will tell you — we really talk about every bit of detail."

—Reporting by Laura Rosenfeld

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