Skip Nav
Food Reviews
The Best New Grocery Store Snacks of 2016
Holiday Entertainment
40+ Homemade Candies That'd Make Willy Wonka Jealous
Duff Goldman
Duff Goldman's Baking Hack Is Just as Charming as His Cakes

Interview With Tom Colicchio and Padma Lakshmi from Top Chef

Talking Top Chef With Padma and Tom

As you probably know, the next season of Top Chef starts this Wednesday, Mar. 12. The contestants look — if I can borrow a word from Project Runway — fierce and the competition should be exciting.

We recently had the opportunity — along with a large group of other folks — to sit down and chat with Padma and Chef Tom. They talked about the talent during this season, their interaction with past contestants, the producers, and their food pet peeves. To find out what they had to say,


On why they come back each year:

Padma: Well I’ve been doing it for three seasons, but I just love food. You know again, we’re surrounded by people talking shop and, you know, I’m the kind of girl that talks about dinner as I’m finishing up lunch.

So it’s the perfect job for me.

Tom: You know, for me the show is — sort of means something in the industry now. And what really keeps me going is I kind of treat the contestants as if they were working for me in my kitchen. And sometimes I’m harsh because I’m harsh on the cooks in my kitchen. And there are other times that I’m very encouraging. . . And so, you know, part of being a chef is teaching. And so I get a lot of gratitude out of, you know, meeting these young chefs who I probably wouldn’t know and seeing what they’re doing.

On keeping in touch with the contestants:

Padma: I run into Ilan and I run into Sam because they’re in New York. So once in awhile I’ll see them and, you know, it’s always nice to see them.

Tom: Well I run into — you know, Sam, I actually brought him down to Florida to do something. It was — we were cooking for the Naples Wine and Food Auction, and I brought him down to be one of the feature chefs down there. Actually, Harold was on that trip, too along with two other chefs that are friends of mine.

On their food pet peeves:

Padma: Tom doesn’t like skins on bell pepper.

Tom: But I’ll eat that. I will not eat okra. I hate it. That and grated mountain yams for the same reason — slimy.

Padma: It’s not slimy when I make okra. I fry okra.

Tom: I don’t care who makes it. You can fry it. You can do whatever you want with it. You can keep it. All the okra lovers out there, there’s just more for them because I don’t want it.

Padma: Yeah. I don’t like raw onions. It’s too pungent for me. I don’t mind, you know, little tiny bit of something but I really am not into raw onions — not on my burger, not on my salads, not on anything.

On the Top Chef producers:

Tom: You know, the one great thing I think about, at least I think for the integrity of the show is — and I know there’s a little disclaimer on the credits, but the producers so far — and I don’t expect they will — have never got involved with who stays or who goes.

They’re there when we’re deliberating because they have to be. They’re shooting it. They also need to know because they have to set cameras and stuff like that when we, you know, announce the winner or loser.

But they, at times, have said are you sure that’s the right person? And we’re like yes, and we’re sure it’s the right person. But they have never influenced our decision.

And most people will not accept that at all. They’ll just say no, this is all predetermined, someone figures it out and that’s it. And it’s not the case.

So there you have it. Be sure to tune in on Wednesday for the season premiere!

Photos courtesy of Bravo.

Around The Web
Join The Conversation
I like Tom b/c he tells it like it is and I like Padma b/c she put a little spunk into the show.
catou07 catou07 8 years
I adore the show and the guest judges (excellent chefs in their own right) - I just wish there were more episodes and more interesting food preparation challenges. I like all the judges, but especially Anthony Bourdain, he is priceless!!
Leolina Leolina 8 years
Padma is really beautiful and she can cook too! :) Now thats a winner in my book! I've seen her show on BBC...
orangek8 orangek8 8 years
YAY!!!!! I can't wait for this to start.
katie_c katie_c 8 years
i love this show.
mannylove mannylove 8 years
I agree...I love Gail Simmons, I think she is great, very personable & a good judge. Katie Joel put me to sleep in Season 1! Padma is a much better host, shows more personality...
pattilup pattilup 8 years
how could anyone not LOVE gail? she's my hubby's favorite. padma is fine. way better than that awful katie joel. i'm sure katie is a lovely person and maybe even knows her food stuff, but she was too wooden to be a TV personality.
MrsSchmitt MrsSchmitt 8 years
Woohoo! Love Tom and Padma!
femmefatale femmefatale 8 years
i cannot wait!! Season pass ordered.
wren1 wren1 8 years
Yay! So excited for the return of one of my favorite shows--so fun!! :)
MonaNomura MonaNomura 8 years
AmberHoney AmberHoney 8 years
Anything to do with food is a winner for me. I'm making burgers with apples, onions and bleu cheese from the Food Network Recipe challenge for TGIF's. It didn't win but I'm still gonna give it a try.
fuzzles fuzzles 8 years
Loooooooooove this show! *hopping up and down*
caligirl101 caligirl101 8 years
Yeah new season!!!
karisaamy karisaamy 8 years
My butt will be on the couch Wednesday watching
mswender mswender 8 years
I love Top Chef! So excited for the new season! I think Gail is Brilliant an Padma is great. I love them all. Only had a problem with a guest judge from the Gotham Grill who didn't know his grammar all that well. How embarrassing for him!
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
i'm actually very excited for the new season to start. i think that each year they get great chefs some who are really trained and some who have cooking background but aren't as precise and it's great to see how far they get. i don't know why thye make such a big deal about where they are (chicago vs. miami etc) since a kitchen is a kitchen, but oh well. can't wait til wednesday - i'm going to Tivo it if i'm not home!
Food Food 8 years
j2d1n9 — really? you don't like gail? I think she's fantastic. We had a chance to talk to her last year, and she really knows her stuff. I like what she has to say and think it's great that she's done so well in her field. I don't know katie joel's background, but as a host she seemed too robotic to me.
cvandoorn cvandoorn 8 years
I'm not really a fan of anybody who's too skinny on a food show.
j2e1n9 j2e1n9 8 years
Ugh, why did they bring back that idiot Gail Simmons? I liked Katie Joel or whatever her name was. Gail sucks!
Stacey-Cakes Stacey-Cakes 8 years
So excited for the new season!
Chef Lorena Garcia Facts
Padma Lakshmi Fun Facts
Beet and Apple Salad With Mustard Dressing
Padma Lakshmi's Favorite Restaurant in New Orleans
Top Chef Contestants Interview 2013 | Video
Gail Simmons on Cronuts
Kristen Kish's Cooking Advice

POPSUGAR, the #1 independent media and technology company for women. Where more than 75 million women go for original, inspirational content that feeds their passions and interests.

From Our Partners
Latest Food
All the Latest From Ryan Reynolds