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Padma Lakshmi to leave "Top Chef" after 17 years

Padma Lakshmi on turning pain into power
Padma Lakshmi on turning pain into power 07:52

Padma Lakshmi announced Friday that she will leave "Top Chef" after 17 years and 19 seasons as the show's host. 

Lakshmi, an activist and author who also served as an executive producer on the show, announced the news in an Instagram post

"After much soul searching, I have made the difficult decision to leave Top Chef," Lakshmi wrote. "Having completed a glorious 20th season as host and executive producer, 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." 

Lakshmi joined the show as a host in its second season, which aired in 2006. While on "Top Chef," Lakshmi was nominated for four Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Host for a Reality or Reality-Competition Program. In 2020, she won three Critic's Choice Awards for the show.

Lakshmi said that she was stepping away from the show to focus on her Hulu series "Taste the Nation," which she is the creator and host of. She is also an executive producer on the series, which focuses on food and culture in different regions and cities in the United States. 

Lakshmi said she would also work on books and "other creative pursuits." She is the author of two cookbooks, a memoir, an encyclopedia, and a children's book. 

Lakshmi said she would miss her "Top Chef" collaborators. 

"After 17 years, many of the cast and crew are like family to me and I will miss working alongside them dearly," she wrote.

The finale of the cooking show's 20th season, and Lakshmi's final episode, will air on June 8. 

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