NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MARCH 13: Padma Lakshmi attends Planned Parenthood's New York Spring Benefit Gala at The Glasshouse on March 13, 2023 in New York City. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)
Padma Lakshmi On Why Top Chef Produces The Most Famous Chefs
By Lorien Crow
Padma Lakshmi has been a host and judge on “Top Chef” for 19 of the show’s 20 seasons and is the best person to ask why the show produces many famous chefs.
On the March 18 episode of “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” Lakshmi told Fallon that “no show produces genuine captains of their industry” like “Top Chef” can.
She emphasized how challenging it is to compete on the show, saying, “You have to be insane to do it,” and added that she would never compete on it.
Early seasons of the show featured home cooks, personal chefs, and caterers, but as the show evolved, so did the barometer of talent.
These days contestants are often James Beard award nominees who have worked at the world’s best Michelin Starred restaurants, as well as restaurant owners and executive chefs.
However, despite the high level of competition on the show, it’s common to see both winners and losers being brought back as mentors and judges.
The show’s family atmosphere, along with fierce, fast-paced competition and drool-worthy dishes, seems to be the ingredients that produce famous top chefs.