As far as reality TV guilty pleasures go, ‘Top Chef’ is one of the most entertaining dishes on the dial.
The Bravo show, now the anchor of the network (along with that even guiltier ‘Housewives’ franchise) since ‘Project Runway’ took flight to another network, has topped itself this season, cooking up new twists and serving up the highest caliber of chefs the show has ever seen.
But nothing sizzles more on this show than host Padma Lakshmi, who’s co-nominated for an Emmy this year along with ‘Top’ judge Tom Colicchio.
I had the chance to chat with the woman who drops the axe on the eliminated contestants each week, but even her delivery of the doomed line, “Please pack your knives and go,” still purrs out like a slice of heaven.
What was the stand out for you this season on ‘Top Chef’?
“What stood out for me, besides the enormously talented chefs we had this season, is we still manage to make the challenges feel new again. I think it’s a real testament to the talent of the producers to make these challenges up–it’s hard! We’ve been doing this for six seasons now, 15 episodes per season, that’s a hundred different challenges, and they really did a great job producing show.”
Did you do anything sinful while shooting this season in Sin City?
“I did not. I worked like 17 hours a day. Seven days a week. I never actually pulled down the arm of a slot machine. I played blackjack a little bit, but I’m not a big gambler. Gail [Simmons] won though…she won some big money.”
“There’s always a new prom queen.”
The show is at the top of its game right now. How do you feel about that?
“I think everything has an evolution and we are on the ascendancy right now, so it’s very enjoyable to have these Emmy nominations and be recognized, but you know, there’s always a new prom queen. And I’m sure there will be another one along soon. But for right now, I’m glad the show is doing so well.”
Is it hard to judge a reality show if you secretly develop a favorite contestant?
“No, it’s like every year you get a new class of students and you know there are a few stragglers that you know are never going to win, but you’re rooting for them to at least improve, but that doesn’t mean that influences my thinking. I know there are people in the show that are never going to make it, as well as some people that I like personally, but I really don’t get to know them, so I really don’t care. It’s an elimination show and I signed on to this job to send people home. I’m okay with that.”
Las Vegas has some fantastic restaurants, but it’s also known for its infamous buffets. Did you try one?
“I had a big buffet at work. The last thing I want to do after coming home from work is eating. I’m still trying to lose the weight I gained during this season.”
As someone who regularly makes all kinds of ‘Hot Lists,’ what is sexy to you?
“Food is sexy, very sexy!”
Best beauty tip?
“Eat well. If there’s a secret to good skin, that’s it.”
‘Top Chef’ airs Wednesday nights at 10 p.m. on Bravo.
Make sure to visit Fancast every Thursday for our LIVE CHATS with the previous night’s eliminated cheftestants!