Padma Lakshmi Says She Ate Upwards of 7,000 Calories a Day While Hosting 'Top Chef'

Padma Lakshmi on 'Women's Health'
Tyler Joe for Women’s Health

The TV personality says the contestants don't hold back with their high-calorie dishes.

Padma Lakshmi isn't just eating the food on Top Chef for show! In a new interview with Women's Health, the 49-year-old chef and TV personality, who serves as the host and executive producer on the cooking competition series, reveals that she samples and judges more than 30 dishes per episode, eating around 7,000 to 8,000 calories a day. 

“Those chefs are cooking to win, so they’re putting in as much lard and butter and salt as they can," she says of the contestants on Top Chef

Lakshmi balances the excessive calories from the show with a regular exercise routine, telling the magazine that she works out five times a week for 90 minutes. Since quarantine has kept her from using the gym as regularly, Lakshmi says she jumps rope for cardio. 

Michael Hickey/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

"I started going to Pilates a few years ago, because my chiropractor recommended it for my back,” says Lakshmi, who was diagnosed with scoliosis at the age of 13, then fractured her hip and shattered her arm in a car accident when she was 14. “Pilates changed my body. It made me strong in places I didn’t know I needed to be. I have a butt now that I didn’t have during my modeling career!”

Tyler Joe for Women’s Health

In addition to sharing her exercise regimen with Women's Health, Lakshmi also spoke with ET earlier this summer about the future of Top Chef following the coronavirus pandemic. 

“We do want to address the current situation in the restaurant industry. Our show is based on those restaurants. We built Top Chef off the backs of professional chefs and their establishments,” she said, adding that it would be unconscionable not to address ongoing concerns. 

“We're also talking about how to make sure that we have greater diversity,” Lakshmi continued, lamenting that the restaurant industry is very white, male dominated. “It’s just trying to look at the situation with fresh eyes because where we are demands it.”