Padma Lakshmi is spreading her wings and taking her foodie finesse past the confines of Top Chef.
The 49-year-old TV host is right in the middle of filming her forthcoming ten-part Hulu series, Taste the Nation, which is described as a living cookbook. When we caught up with her at an event for Stacy’s Rise Project, a Stacy’s Pita Chips initiative that supports female-founded businesses, she was more than happy to drop a few hints about what we can expect.
Lakshmi explained that the show is a “documentary series about what American food really is.” It’s from her point of view and not only details the rich history of food in our nation but also looks “through the lens of immigrant communities all across the country” and uses “food to talk about some larger issues.”
While filming her show, Lakshmi came to understand how different cultures keep their heritage alive using traditional dishes.
“What has been great for me is to really find out how much people [stay] attached to their heritage through food and how they pass those traditions on to the next generation,” she shared. “A lot of second- and third-generation immigrants don’t speak their mother tongue. They don’t wear those traditional clothes. They don’t live in that culture.”
So, Lakshmi explained, the elder generations have become diligent about passing those stories along “using foods to talk about culture, using food as a way not only to show love and care and nurturing but also as a way to anchor and remind those younger generations about where they come from.”
Overall, the experience has left her with the realization of just “how unique our American culture is,” and we certainly have to agree.
Lakshmi’s Taste the Nation will hit Hulu at some point in 2020. We’ll be indulging our culinary whims with good old Top Chef until then.
Additional reporting by Rachel Bowie.