Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi is more than just a pretty face. The model, actress, author and culinary expert is the very definition of poise. Read on to find out how many languages she can speak, and other unique and interesting facts.
Also Known As "Angelique"
In her memoir Love, Loss and What We Ate, Padma revealed when she moved to America from India, she felt the need to “Americanize” herself, so she went by the name Angelique. It wasn’t until college she decided to use her birth name.
She Speaks Five Languages
Due to her multicultural background, Padma is fluent in English, Hindi, Tamil, Spanish and Italian. Speaking the latter helped her land a gig on an Italian murder mystery movie!
She Wasn't the Original Top Chef Host
Padma isn’t O.G.! She joined the long-running competition show in season two, replacing Katie Lee, who went on to co-host The Kitchen.
She is Powerless Around Pizza
To stay in shape (after all, she is a model!) Padma follows a clean diet: no meats, no sweets, no alcohol, no cheese, no fried food and no wheat. If there’s one thing she can’t resist it’s pizza. “If I’m going out for pizza, I’m literally going to take down a whole large pie by myself!” she tells Fitness Magazine.
She Has a Daughter Named Krishna
In 2011, when Padma was dating Adam Dell, (brother of Dell Computer founder Michael Dell) she discovered she was pregnant with her first child. She gave her daughter a classically Indian Sanskrit name, Krishna, which means “dark one.”
She Co-Founded the Endometriosis Foundation of America
Endometriosis is an inflammatory disease that affects a woman’s fertility and physical health. It’s something Padma has been suffering from since the age of 13, but wasn’t diagnosed until 36. She told Women’s Health she started the organization: “I didn’t want the next generation of women to go through what I went through, to feel betrayed by their own bodies or to feel alone.”
She Majored in Theatre
Padma graduated from Clark University in 1992 with an Honors degree in Theatre Arts. During her time in school, she chose to study abroad in Madrid, which is where her modeling career began.
She Drinks a Lot of Cranberry Juice - A Lot!
Padma reveals each season of Top Chef she gains 10-15 pounds from eating all the contestants’ dishes. She gets back into shape by running stairs and drinking a homemade cleanse of two ounces of pure cranberry juice, six ounces of either green tea or plain water, one Emergen-C Vitamin C packet, and a teaspoon of fibre powder three times a day.
She Was Once Married to Salman Rushdie
In 1999, Padma met world renowned writer Salman Rushdie, and they married in 2004. She reveals gritty details of their marriage — and divorce in 2007 — in her memoir.
She Has Published Four Books and Counting
Throughout her career, Padma has written two cookbooks, a memoir and, her most recent work, an A-to-Z compendium of spices, herbs, salts, peppers and blends, The Encyclopedia of Spices & Herbs.