Longtime “Top Chef” host and judge Padma Lakshmi has announced her departure after 19 seasons on the reality cooking competition show.
In an Instagram post on Friday, Lakshmi expressed the difficulty of decision to leave the show after 17 years, reflecting on her pride in being part of its success and the impact it has had on the worlds of television and food.
“After much soul searching, I have made the difficult decision to leave Top Chef,” she wrote. “Having completed a glorious 20th season as host and exec producer, I am extremely proud to have been a part of building such a successful show and of the impact it has had in the worlds of television and food.”
The former model joined as host of the show in its second season, replacing Katie Lee. Lakshmi has served as a judge alongside head judge chef Tom Colicchio and food writer Gail Simmons, as well as an executive producer, since 2006. The series has earned 13 Emmy Awards in its run.
“Top Chef” is currently airing its 20th season, a World All-Stars season of previous winners and finalists from around the globe.
Lakshmi recently premiered the second season of her Hulu series, “Taste the Nation.”