Padma Lakshmi Bids Emotional Farewell to ‘Top Chef’

Padma Lakshmi on Top Chef
David Moir / Bravo / Courtesy Everett Collection

After 17 years and 19 seasons, Padma Lakshmi has ended her run as host and judge on Bravo‘s Top Chef, with her final episode airing on Thursday (June 8) night.

“That’s a wrap!” Lakshmi tweeted following the episode, which saw Brooklyn-based chef Buddha Lo crowned the winner of Season 20, earning him the title of Top Chef World All-Star champion and a $250,000 grand prize.

”A lot of us grew up on this show,” Lakshmi said in the episode as she toasted Lo’s victory (per Deadline). “It’s been a long ride. 20 Seasons is quite an accomplishment… Thank you very much.”

Lakshmi joined Top Chef in the second season, taking over hosting duties from Season 1 host Katie Lee, and eventually became an executive producer on the show. She received Emmy nominations for Outstanding Host for a Reality or Reality-Competition Program in 2009 and 2020 through 2022.

Earlier on Thursday, Lakshmi tweeted a video of her having her make-up done for the season finale. In the tweets, she opened up about her departure and thanked the fans for their support.

“What a ride. Tonight is the finale of season 20, but for yours truly it will also be the final finale of my tenure on Top Chef,” she wrote. “I want to thank everyone who has reached out to me this week and expressed so much love…”

“It’s humbling and I’m honored by every handshake, hug, selfie and compliment I accept on behalf of not just me but my whole crew,” she continued. “To all the top chef contestants far and wide: please know I am always rooting for you from my corner of the world. I will still be here for you long after Top Chef is gone, just as I have been after each of your seasons has ended.”

Fans can continue to see Lakshmi on her Hulu reality series Taste the Nation, in which she travels the U.S. exploring the rich and diverse food culture of various immigrant groups.