'Top Chef: Texas': Padma Lakshmi's thoughts on the title and weight gain
The new season has a brand new element as well: "Top Chef: Last Chance Kitchen" will have a weekly battle between two eliminated contestants, with the winner getting a chance to return for the show's finale. The webisodes will air on BravoTV.com and will be hosted by Tom Colicchio.
During a conference call, host Padma Lakshmi talked about the complaints about the title has drawn from viewers -- specifically the use of an entire state as opposed to one specific city like in other seasons.
"You know our producers are working very hard to top each season with the next, and you know Texas is a big state," she says. "And after having spent the time that we spent there this summer, I can tell you myself that Dallas is very different from Austin, which is very different from San Antonio as is Houston. So it was a choice that our producers made, I think not in a negative [way] to say one city isn't enough, but a positive choice to say let's do something much more ambitious than we've done ever before. Let's move the show, let's take it on the road, let's keep the contestants guessing, let's have more contestants than we've ever had."
Lakshmi also says staying fit while eating amazing food on the show is a challenge. "The thing is you're eating so much on set that when you get off work, it's not like you're rushing to go eat again," she says. "Although I will say one of the reasons that Tom and I are very good at our job is because we do have an immense capacity to put food away. ... It's hard, it's really hard. Both Tom and I box, but I carry a jump rope in my suitcase and I run up and down flights of stairs. ... You don't notice it because I have a really good wardrobe person, but I actually do go up in dress sizes.
"I mean this season I was exceptionally thin and I didn't gain as much weight for other reasons, but usually I do gain about 10 to 15 pounds. ... I'm kind of the little puppy at the table. It's taken me quite a few seasons to learn how to take smaller bites. And so I'm better at it now than I was, say, in Chicago you know a few seasons ago.
"But I do still gain weight; I just have bigger dress sizes so you don't really notice. I'm lucky I gain weight everywhere, proportionately. And then I just work out and eat really healthy when I finish work. And you know what it takes me six weeks to gain it takes me unfortunately 10 or 12 weeks to lose." Oh Padma, we totally understand.