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Thread: Padma Lakshmi - Host

  1. #61
    FORT Fogey ryansmommy's Avatar
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    Re: Top Chef 11/2 Season Premiere Show Discussion **Spoilers**

    Wow! That had to be the most creative spin to the I hate Padma campaign I have ever heard, as it is much better than the she doesn't like to eat as much meat one ... LOL

    Must admit, this year, the Padma detractors' arguments seem to be providing an entirely new new level of entertainment than comments from prior years where the focus was mainly about how she dresses and how she really a chef (although she really is) ... LOL

  2. #62
    Magical Elf MFWalkoff's Avatar
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    Re: Top Chef 11/2 Season Premiere Show Discussion **Spoilers**

    Well I'm a big Padma fan, but technically, she's not a chef. She can cook, but she has no professional culinary training. "Chef" is a title that only professional cooks achieve if they're lucky.
    "Whatever you are, be a good one." Ė Abraham Lincoln

  3. #63
    FORT Fogey ryansmommy's Avatar
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    Re: Padma Lakshmi - Host

    This is splitting hairs, but we do know Padma has cooked professionally ... on air, starring on two Food Network shows shortly after winning an award for her first cookbook, and since, published a second cookbook.

    If to define professional culinary training as having attending a culinary arts school, I don't remember reading this to be the case, so I'd would say no, but she has received some sort of training. Further, no organization or person I know of awards the title of "Chef" and since when is it required to attend a culinary arts school in order to become a chef?

    Julia Child never cooked at a restaurant but she cooked for television and tested/developed recipes for her authored cookbooks and I do believe she considered herself a chef.

    Nonetheless, Padma, in addition to being a successful TV host and personality, she is, also, a culinary professional in her own right (written books and demonstrated certain cooking) and on Top Chef, she is both a host and judge and I do believe her opinion counts.

  4. #64
    Magical Elf MFWalkoff's Avatar
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    Re: Padma Lakshmi - Host

    I dunno, Top Chef has made me take a more strict view of the word chef (which is funny considering I can barely make toast correctly, lol). I guess this sums up what I would think a chef is:

    The word "chef" is borrowed (and shortened) from the French term chef de cuisine, the director or head of a kitchen. (The French word comes from Latin caput and is cognate with English "chief".) In English, the title "chef" in the culinary profession originated in the haute cuisine of the 19th century. Today it is sometimes erroneously (in the view of those in the profession) used to refer to any professional cook, regardless of rank.

    Chef - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    You're right, we're splitting hairs, but I know that some industry professionals get ornery about how people toss the word around. And I did find this quote from Gail Simmons in an interview she once gave:

    ICE: Do you need to know hands-on cooking in your role at Top Chef?

    Gail: Not at Top Chef. But my role in everything I do, certainly. I donít think I could have gotten my job on Top Chef if I didnít really understand food. Many viewers think that judging is just people being flippant, itís what I like or I donít like, and itís all personal. Judging food is actually very scientific: knowing if meat is cooked to the correct temperature, knowing if the knife skills are correct, knowing if the vegetables were julienned the right way and consistently, seasoned well. All the factors that you look for really do take a deep understanding of the science of cooking. So, yes, I guess on Top Chef, too, it certainly helped.

    Could someone judge the show without a culinary background? Absolutely. We have guest judges who arenít professional chefs. Padma Lakshmi, our host, has no culinary training. But the fact that I do and that Tom Colicchio does allows other people to not have it. So, yes, I think it certainly gives me legitimacy. Tom obviously comes from a chef perspective. Iím not. Iím more of an educated diner, a professional diner. I look for things that a regular diner might not look for. Both views are valid but you need all of those views to make up the judges table. I guess my answer would be yes, that my purpose is there because I have a knowledge of food and culinary training for sure. And everything I do at Food & Wine as well: I do a lot of cooking demos, I do a lot of press now as part of my job, I do a segment once a month with CBSís the Early Show, I also do a lot of cooking demos at events all over the country.

    The Institute of Culinary Education: Articles & Interviews
    I would call Padma a fine cook and a professional foodie more than a chef. But while it sounds like I'm taking an opposite position here, my overall point has always been that I think Padma is qualified to give input at judges table.
    "Whatever you are, be a good one." Ė Abraham Lincoln

  5. #65
    FORT Fogey ryansmommy's Avatar
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    Re: Padma Lakshmi - Host

    I wholeheartedly agree and love watching Top Chef and grateful for Padma hosting and judging, coming aboard after the first dreadful year of Katie Lee (then Joel), probably a wonderful person and foodie otherwise, but fpr that first year a terribly boring host ... and could well be why I find Padma interesting and entertaining when others sometimes refer to her as arrogant.

  6. #66
    Vidiot 13 is a Winner Champion Poppy Fields's Avatar
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    Re: Top Chef 11/2 Season Premiere Show Discussion **Spoilers**

    If you read up on Padma's background, you will see why she's not considered a chef or a culinary authority like Gail. She's also not a judge. Neither was Katie Lee. Padma is the show's host, as Katie Lee Joel (Billy Joel's) wife was. They were "celebrity wives" - Padma's celebrity husband was author Salman Rushdie.

    She got her Food Network show for the same reason, not for her cookbook - which she wrote from a "Model's" point of view because she had some modest success as a model and actress. I don't know what prize her cookbook won, but I seriously doubt it was a respected culinary award because it was a collection of low fat recipes from around the world, and not her own. Of course, prior to writing it she was unknown in the foodie world. Her doorway to recognition was her husband.

    I'm not saying Padma is not knowledgeable about food and foodie trends. I also think she is probably a fantastic cook, and I'd eat her food over Paula Deen's any time I had the chance to. Plus, I think she brings style and grace to Top Chef. I'm a fan.

    But Padma is not a chef. And you will never read or hear Bravo refer to her as a judge. You'll never hear Padma refer to herself as one, either. She's the show host, and she does that job well. No one says "<pregnant pause>...<cheftestant name>, please pack your knives and go" like Padma does.
    Last edited by Poppy Fields; 11-09-2011 at 08:28 PM.

  7. #67
    FORT Fogey ryansmommy's Avatar
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    Re: Padma Lakshmi - Host

    I understand that while I consider Padma confident, others consider her arrogant. I, also, understand that some might conclude celebrity husbands behind the hiring of Katie Lee (she dumped the name Joel when the husband) and Padma.

    Nonetheless, although I understand, facts indicate otherwise. (And IMO were hired for they had the culinary background, television experience in addition to being visually attractive, but whatever ...)

    Both Katie Lee and Padma had foodie careers prior to marrying their respective celebrity husbands. Padma's first cookbook was a real cookbook and was recognized by receiving a real culinary award. That said, Padma, had her cooking show on Food Network that might have tilted the award in her direction, but her cookbooks are, again, real cookbooks --- not celebrity cookbooks such as RHONJ Teresa is selling (who, for the record, was being paid $125k per year, and not $3,333 an episide, for the show at the time she and her husband filed bankruptcy).

    Moreover and by definition, both Katie Lee and Padma can be referred to as chefs --- Katie calls herself a chef and not sure if Padma does --- yet, eve so, neither are of the caliber of Tom Colicchio and nor is professionally trained and food critic Gail Simmons in my opinion ...

    Finally, I did take a look and within NBC/Bravo press releases, Padma, although officially titled as host, is also regarded as judge, which makes sense given she sits and participates at judges table. (Honestly, is there any question of Host Gail being considered a judge on TC Just Desserts?)
    Last edited by ryansmommy; 11-10-2011 at 12:24 PM.

  8. #68
    Vidiot 13 is a Winner Champion Poppy Fields's Avatar
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    Re: Padma Lakshmi - Host

    Yet another reason why some people don't take Padma seriously:

    NAKED: Padma Lakshmi, Chelsea Handler And Eliza Dushku Strip For Allure's Nude Issue (PHOTOS)

  9. #69
    FORT Fogey Dragonlady's Avatar
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    Re: Padma Lakshmi - Host

    Lordy, I had no idea how much debate would follow after I posted that I had a problem with Padma being a judge on TC.
    I don't have a problem with her being a hostess. It's pretty clear why she has the job. Host/hostesses usually are there to help us viewers follow what's going on, often serve as eye-candy and unless they're truly obnoxious, I don't have a problem with why they're there.

    Poppy, usually you and I agree on most things but during the last episode, we saw Tom turn to Padma and say something like, "well, you decide, Padma, if they get a jacket or go" regarding one of the contestants. To me, that makes her a judge. And that wasn't the only contestant where she was the final decision-maker for who goes and who stays.
    As for who's well connected and why they get the job, I thought that was a given in tv....isn't it usually who you know or who has the best agent?

    She's just not my preference for the reasons I've given but it surely won't stop me from watching.
    I'm far too interested in what the chefs cook, even though some of it is like a foreign language to me, and I consider myself quite a good and knowledgable cook albeit without any formal training. But it does intrigue me and usually I find myself looking up unfamiliar terms so I can learn more.

    Finally got to try pork belly the other day....it wasn't as good as I had thought it would be...but maybe that was just one dish and others could be better.

  10. #70
    FORT Fogey Dragonlady's Avatar
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    Re: Padma Lakshmi - Host

    Quote Originally Posted by Dragonlady View Post
    Poppy, usually you and I agree on most things but during the last episode, we saw Tom turn to Padma and say something like, "well, you decide, Padma, if they get a jacket or go" regarding one of the contestants. To me, that makes her a judge. And that wasn't the only contestant where she was the final decision-maker for who goes and who stays.
    While checking on something at the Top Chef web site, Padma is listed as "hostess," not judge, so I guess technically that's what she is but Tom did ask her to decided on that one judge and she does seem to have a lot of input on other chefs' dishes.
    Guess it's a blurry line and doesn't really matter.

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