Padma Lakshmi talks 'Top Chef,' 'Playboy,' and holiday entertaining

Season ten of 'Top Chef' is in full swing, and the show’s long-time host Padma Lakshmi is still having a ball. Aside from her outrageously popular reality food competition show, Padma is a busy lady these days.  We had the chance to sit down with the stunning brunette to catch up on 'Top Chef,' her recent feature in 'Playboy,' and her entertaining tips on how to throw a great party. 

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Padma’s main gig, hosting uber-popular reality show 'Top Chef,' gives her great reward. She says the best part of her job (other than the food of course) is that she gets to talk shop with some amazing chefs like Jean Georges, Daniel Bouloud, Thomas Keller, or Eric Ripert, to name a few. If she could hire any chef in the world as her own personal chef, her picks? Eric Ripert or Daniel Boulud, of course.

How does the brunette beauty stay in such great shape having constantly to taste-test food on her hit show? She says it’s not easy – she gains sixteen pounds every season. It takes her six weeks to gain it and about twelve weeks to loose it. Well, whatever she’s doing, it’s working!

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Speaking of, Padma appears in the December issue of 'Playboy' in a column called '20 Questions.' What surprised her most about that experience was not so much the experience itself, but all the buzz she received in the press and all over the Internet. She adds: “I have been offered a pictorial over the years in 'Playboy' and I just haven’t felt so far that it’s right for me."

She's particularly passionate about a recent project with Sterling Vineyards -- The Ultimate Host Competition. Padma, along with a panel of blogger judges, scoured the country for the ultimate party host and flew them all to New York to duke it out in a final competition. As an entertaining guru, it was a perfect fit for Sterling Vineyards to ask Padma to partner with them on their search for the ultimate party host. This year, they issued a series of four challenges throughout the fall and picked one winner from each of those challenges. The four finalists came to New York City to compete and Padma hosted the culminating event where the NEW Sterling Ultimate Host was crowned – Brooklyn, NY resident Zooey Jones.

During the holidays, we all attend so many functions and parties, so how can a host really stand out from the crowd? Padma says the key is to really curate a nice guest list. “People remember parties for the people that were there. After that, it’s your job to curate an evening that’s tailor made for those guests.”

If you can believe it, Padma says she’s the least glamorous person around. She may love her high heels, but when with friends she says “I’d rather just stay home and watch a movie in bed and eat a pizza with a box right on my lap.”

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