Food is more than Padma Lakshmi’s nine-to-five.
The Emmy-nominated host of “Top Chef,” renowned cookbook author and creator of “Taste the Nation With Padma Lakshmi” (which returns to Hulu May 5 for its second season), happily takes her work home with her.
The India-born, New York City-bred star often shares the kitchen (and a fantastic sense of style) with her daughter, Krishna, but the 13-year-old has recently declared her culinary independence.
“She’s stopped cooking with me lately,” says Lakshmi, 52. “She says I’m too oppressive. I get it. It would be like if you’re learning to play tennis and your dad is Andre Agassi.”
But that doesn’t stop Lakshmi from hoping for breakfast in bed — “leisurely drinking copious amounts of tea while reading the newspaper” this Mother’s Day.
She’d also like to skate around the neighborhood with her daughter, maybe catch a movie or wander the aisles of a bookstore together, then end the day with dinner at one of her favorites, Il Posto Accanto in the East Village.
Here, the professional foodie shares with Alexa her ingredients for a flavorful life.
“These candles smell refreshing, not cloying, and they last a long time.”
“These bags are elegant and so useful. They’re from a female-owned company, with an admirable ethos: ‘fewer, better things.’ ”
“I first published this cookbook in 2006, and I feel it was ahead of its time, as ingredients from across the world are so much more accessible and appreciated today. It was reissued in 2021 and was actually named one of Apple’s Best Books of the Year!”
“I absolutely loved making Qabuli Palow (a spiced lamb and rice dish topped with sautéed carrots and raisins) with Chef Shamim Popal in the Afghan episode of ‘Taste the Nation.’ I hope viewers will see the incredible things immigrant communities do for this country — and are willing to sacrifice — to have the chance at a better life.”
“I discovered these when I lived in Alphabet City. They are an elegant way to taste as you go while building flavors in your cooking.”
“Lassi is a type of drinkable yogurt. I loved this product so much that I contacted them about becoming an investor. It’s loaded with probiotics, is very low in sugar, high in protein and kids absolutely love it. I cannot keep it stocked in my house.”
“These are comfortable despite the height and go with anything — especially jeans or dresses.”
“Great for when you want a little lip coverage and a natural sheen!”
“I love the wine list and the hospitality. It’s a very welcoming spot for Italian cuisine. It’s my Cheers!”
“I’ve been making my own custom perfume blends out of essential oils for years, because most commercial brands give me a headache. They’re also great for adding to the bath or using for a massage.”
“They only make this brow pencil in three shades, and I actually rotate between them.”
Photos by Dominic Valente, Brian Zak, Visko Hatfield, Getty Images and courtesy of the brands.