For 20 years she's been telling Top Chef contestants to please pack their knives when it was time to leave the popular cooking competition reality series, but now it's time for Padma Lakshmi to pack her own knives, as she's just announced that she's leaving the show.

Lakshmi announced the decision on her Instagram Story on Friday with the message, “After much soul searching, I have made the difficult decision to leave Top Chef. Having completed a glorious 20th season as host and executive producer, I am extremely proud to have been part of building such a successful show and of the impact it has had in the worlds of television and food.”


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She continued, “After 17 years, many of the cast and crew are like family to me and I will miss working alongside them dearly. I feel it's time to move on and need to make space for Taste the Nation, my books and other creative pursuits. I am deeply thankful to all of you for so many years of love and support. Sincerely, Padma.”


Taste the Nation is a travel and food show Lakshmi created for Hulu, currently airing its second season. Lakshmi is also a New York Times bestselling author of the memoir Love, Loss, and What We At, and was voted one of The 100 Most Influential People of 2023 by Time magazine.

Her presence will surely be missed in the Top Chef kitchen. Padma Lakshmi has helped define the foodie scene for two decades and has sparked the culinary careers of many up-and-coming chefs, and now it seems it's time for her to focus on her own pursuits.