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The Padma Lakshmi File

May 2008
The Padma Lakshmi File


2 Cookbooks she has published.

3 Big-screen movies she has acted in.

4 Television shows she has hosted.

5 Languages she speaks, including Hindi and Tamil.

7 Talk shows she has appeared on.

37 Her age (she was born Sept. 1, 1970, in Madras).

87 Her ranking on Maxim magazine’s Hot 100 of 2007 list.


"I write cookbooks and I'm an actress—two things that aren't always compatible, at least for the waistline." (

“I was the first Indian model to have a career in Paris, Milan and New York. I’m the first one to admit that I was a novelty.” (Evening Standard Magazine)

"I feel that I've been very lucky to make a living out of all my interests.” (Toronto Star)


Her parents divorced when she was 2 and she was raised by her mother Vijaya in New York, and by her grandparents in India. Her education includes a bachelor’s degree in theater arts from Clark University in Massachusetts.

She began modeling at age 20 and has worked for Ralph Lauren and other top designers. She has also appeared on the cover of a number of prominent magazines, including Newsweek, Cosmopolitan and Vogue.

Lakshmi, who was married for three years to Salman Rushdie, has acted in several TV series and a few movies, including The Mistress of Spices (2005) but is best known as a host of cooking shows.

She was host of the Food Network series, Padma's Passport, and since 2006 has hosted Top Chef, the popular TV cooking competition series on Bravo. Her two cookbooks are Easy Exotic (1999) and Tangy, Tart, Hot and Sweet (2007).


She has appeared in two Italian films: Caribbeans and The Darkness and the Light.

She was discovered by a modeling agent in Spain while sitting in a café.


Her official website

Lakshmi appears on Craig Ferguson’s show.

Lakshmi makes sautéed sweet potatoes and lima beans on the Today show.

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