Padma Lakshmi's Surprising Recipe For Health

1Photo: Danielle Kosann/Courtesy of The New Potato.
Padma Lakshmi is queen when it comes to all things food, entertaining, and now, the style you’re doing it all in. With the Padma Collection, Lakshmi’s been cooking up tableware perfect for your next dinner party. What’s more, the Blue Optic Drinkware from the collection made its debut on Gilt recently. It’s a perfect way to usher in spring, as is Lakshmi herself (we hear she told winter to pack its knives and go). Here, she talks advice to young chefs, lazy weekend regimes, and foods that make you glow.
The New Potato: From start to finish, what would be your ideal food day?
Padma Lakshmi: "Breakfast: Green tea with honey, or our French Breakfast tea with milk and honey. One poached egg on a crunchy piece of rye sourdough toast with lots of hot sauce and a grapefruit. Lunch: A big juicy bowl of noodles and shrimp with lots of veggies. 4:30 p.m. Tea Time: Another cup of our French Breakfast tea with milk and honey. Sliced manchego cheese on toast with red jalapeño jam. Dinner: If I stay in, probably home-cooked Indian or Asian food. If I go out, it could be anything from Uncle Boon’s to Marea to Talde, or Le Bernadin or Jean Georges if I’m feeling fancy. But I don’t normally eat like that very often. I love Il Buco and Indochine, too."
How do you always start your day?
"I’m usually up by 7 a.m. on weekdays, as I have to wake up my daughter Krishna for school. This is a process, so sometimes we don’t get down to breakfast until 7:30! But, the weekends are lazy and dreamy, and we just wake up whenever we want! I usually go to the gym or boxing after she goes to school, and then start my business day after that."
Could you give us your morning and nightly beauty routines?
"I have no beauty routines. I’m lucky if I manage to wash my makeup off at night! I get facials every six weeks from Christine Chin, and I splurge on Tracie Martyn too around Emmy time. I drink a copious amount of water, and I think this helps my skin immensely. I always use moisturizer as soon as I come out of the bath, and this too helps a lot. Other than that, I don’t have many beauty routines. I do get regular massages as my back flares up from all the boxing!"
In terms of health, how do you practice beauty from the inside out?
"The best thing you can do for your appearance is to eat well. Your skin needs nutrients to glow and be healthy. A variety of fruits and vegetables, as well as other foods in many colors give you the vitamins you need, and lots of water helps too. People think being as thin as possible is all that matters, but that is totally wrong. Being well nourished, hydrated, and rested is what makes you healthy and attractive."
How would you define your personal entertaining style?
"I like my home to feel approachable and warm. I like an elegant table but don’t want it to be stuffy or intimidating. Flowers and candles are big go-to’s for me. I also like an eclectic mix of different servers and dishes. I keep it pretty simple, but not predictable."
What do you always put out at a dinner party?
2Photo: Danielle Kosann/Courtesy of The New Potato.
What do you always bring to a dinner party as a guest?
"Cire Trudon or Diptyque candles."
What’s the ultimate dinner party faux pas?
"When people bring along a guest without asking or letting you know in advance. Being late is also rude."
Could you tell us a bit about your new tableware line? What are some of your favorites from the collection?
"I wanted to do pieces that were classic and versatile but not boring. I like pops of color and glass, as it lets the light through and adds sparkle. We have Turkish glass platters, which feel very Eastern, but go beautifully with a myriad of decor styles. I also love the stemware in the new smoky blue. The bowls are also deeper for pasta, and to keep soup warm longer. These pieces are meant for everyday as well as special occasions."br>
What’s your go-to afternoon snack?
"A Granny Smith apple sliced and slathered with peanut butter."
What’s a go-to recipe when eating at home?
"Lentils and rice with lots of veggies and chilies."
What are your vices?
"I love to watch TV in bed, late into the night."
3Photo: Danielle Kosann/Courtesy of The New Potato.
What's your most memorable Top Chef episode and why?
"The fairy tale episode in Texas with Charlize Theron is such a stand-out because the challenge really inspired the chefs to be imaginative and create a narrative on their plate. They were asked to tell us a story visually and with flavor, and they did so brilliantly. All of them were different and beautiful and gothic."
What’s the trick to eating your way through a Top Chef episode and keeping your appetite?
"Small bites are best."
After many seasons of Top Chef, what’s your takeaway advice to young chefs?
"Time is not your friend. Manage it wisely."
What’s always in your bag on set?
"Vitamin C and lip balm."
In the same vein as what is the new black, what is the new potato in food?
"Black garlic! I add it to stews and soups, and it gives such a deep flavor to any dish that is remarkable and unlike anything else. Sweet and funky."
What are your favorite cities for food? What restaurants do you go to in each?
"Mumbai-Trishna for seafood; Bade Miya’s for kabobs al fresco, and all sorts of street food everywhere. In NYC, Indochine, Uncle Boon’s, Marea, Momofuku, Jean Georges, Talde, and Le Bernardin."
If you could host a dinner party with any five people, living or dead, who would be there? What would you cook?
"Muhammad Ali, Dorothy Parker, Cleopatra, my daughter Krishna, Joel Schumacher, and Albert Einstein — but I need room for more! Five is not enough! What about my other friends?"

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