Padma Lakshmi, Lady Rushdie is an Indian-American cookbook author, actress, and model who has described herself as the first well-known model from India. She has been the host of the reality television program Top Chef since season two.
Lakshmi established herself as a food expert early on in her career, having hosted two successful cooking shows and writing a best-selling cookbook.
She followed this with the publication of her second cookbook, Tangy, Tart, Hot & Sweet, for release by Miramax Books in October 2006.
For The Food Network, Lakshmi hosted Padma's Passport in which she cooked diverse cuisine from around the world.
She also hosted Planet Food, a documentary series broadcast on The Food Network and worldwide on the Discovery Channel. She journeyed to countries such as Spain and India.
In 2001 she appeared in the film Glitter starring Mariah Carey. The following year she made a guest appearance in the episode of Star Trek: Enterprise entitled "Precious Cargo" (Season 2, Episode 11).
In 2005 she was seen with Aishwarya Rai and Dylan McDermott in Paul Mayeda Berges' film Mistress of Spices.
She received a positive response for her performance as Princess Bithia in ABC's television mini-series The Ten Commandments alongside Naveen Andrews, Omar Sharif and Dougray Scott. The program was the second-highest rated television film of 2006.
She also starred in BBC America's Sharpe's Challenge opposite Sean Bean. This two-part mini-series directed by Tom Clegg was the continuation of the popular BBC series based on Richard Cornwall's novels aired in September 2006.
She has appeared in films in the US, Italy, and India. Other television credits include hosting Rai Television's Dominica In, Italy's highest-rated program.
Lakshmi is also an accomplished writer. In addition to her food writing, she has contributed to such magazines as American Vogue, Gourmet and British and American Harper's Bazaar. She is currently a monthly syndicated columnist for the New York Times Syndicate.
Lakshmi started modeling while an exchange student in Spain with Clark University, where she received a B.A. with honours in Theatre Arts.
On April 17, 2004, in New York City, Lakshmi married the novelist Salman Rushdie, to whom she was introduced at a party hosted by the journalist and editor Tina Brown. By him, she has two stepsons, Zafar and Milan.
On July 2, 2007 the couple filed for divorce, shortly after Rushdie was granted a knighthood.