Padma Lakshmi Just Announced She's Leaving Top Chef

Padma Lakshmi took to Twitter and Instagram on June 2 to announce that she's leaving "Top Chef" after 17 years as a judge, host, and executive producer. In other words, she's ready to pack her knives and go. "I am extremely proud to have been part of building such a successful show and of the impact it has had in the worlds of television and food," she wrote, thanking fans for their support. 

Having just wrapped the 20th season of the cooking competition show (whose finale airs Thursday, June 8, on Bravo), she plans to "make space" for her cookbooks and other creative projects.

Lakshmi has received 13 Primetime Emmy Awards nominations since joining "Top Chef" in 2006, when it was in its second season. Since then, she's established herself not only as a singular presence in the food-entertainment industry, but also as an active voice for reproductive rights and other social justice causes. 

She's still on TV

Viewers are unanimously sad to see Padma Lakshmi leave "Top Chef," but they're also excited to see what she does next. "End of an era and an incredible run," wrote late-night Bravo host Andy Cohen on Instagram. 

As fans are already well aware, Lakshmi is not done with television altogether. Her Hulu show "Taste The Nation," which earned her a Critics' Choice Real TV Award for "Best Show Host" in 2022, is currently in its second season. In it, she explores "the rich and diverse food culture of various immigrant groups, seeking out the people who have so heavily shaped what American food is today." The new episodes spotlight Afghan-American food in D.C., Nigerian food in Houston, Cambodian food in Massachusetts, and beyond.

When she's not filming "Taste The Nation," Lakshmi is staying plenty busy. She was recently featured in Time's list of the "100 Most Influential People of 2023."