Cooking and Conversation with Padma Lakshmi
Padma Lakshmi provides interactive cooking demonstrations that impress and engage audiences from her incredible kitchen setup. As she cooks, teaching audiences a new recipe, she engages in conversation with listeners about an array of topics.
HWA is proud to represent three TIME 100 Most Influential People Honorees Padma Lakshmi, Michael B. Jordan, and Catherine Coleman Flowers
Each year TIME honors 100 public figures for its iconic list, celebrating individuals who wield their influence to drive positive action toward a better world. Three HWA speakers are present on the 2023 list: acclaimed actor and director MICHAEL B. JORDAN, globally recognized environmental activist CATHERINE COLEMAN FLOWERS and Emmy Award-winning television host PADMA LAKSHMI.
“Padma is an incredible writer, and that really shines through when she speaks. She’s articulate and has a strong point of view […] I’m always in awe of Padma because, yes, she really is that beautiful, talented, and charismatic. She’s iconic.” Writes comedian Ali Wong about Lakshmi.
Director Ryan Coolger recalls the hard work Michael B. Jordan put into his 2023 directorial debut, Creed III: “It’s like climbing a mountain summit through enemy territory with your heart exposed. But I knew Mike had it in him. Because over that quarter-century of work, nothing was given to him. Everything was earned. And I strongly believe that his best work is still to come.”
Founder of the Equal Justice Initiative, Bryan Stevenson muses about Coleman Flowers’s work to gain environmental justice for her Alabama hometown and beyond: “In August 2022, in part because of Catherine’s work, the Biden Administration chose Lowndes [county] as the place to announce the EPA would devote $50 billion to wastewater issues with a focus on underserved communities. She has compelled leaders to address a crisis aggravated by bigotry and poverty, all while keeping her feet firmly planted in the soil of her homeland.”
Jordan, Flowers, and Lakshmi continue to inspire people around the world and are highly sought after for their insightful talks, moderated Q&A’s and engaging keynotes for audiences of all kinds.
View the TIME 100 Most Influential People of 2023 > >
Lakshmi expertly leverages her personal brand to advance her business interests and causes that she is passionate about.
Food expert and model PADMA LAKSHMI is no stranger to hustle. After finding success as a model, the Emmy-nominated host transitioned to the food industry, writing her bestselling debut cookbook Easy Exotic: A Model's Low Fat Recipes From Around the World. The subsequent success and acclaim of Easy Exotic catapulted Lakshmi to the upper echelons of the food world, a position that she leveraged for her position as host, judge, and executive producer of the top-ranked cooking competition show, Top Chef.
With a window into people’s homes and a trusted reputation, Lakshmi launched multiple successful companies of her own, including her home décor and dinnerware line, The Padma Collection, and Padma’s Easy Exotic, a collection of frozen rice, lentils, and other culinary products. She’s also been able to combine her personal advocacy on issues of immigration with her career by creating and starring in her hit Hulu docuseries, Taste the Nation.
Lakshmi expertly leverages her personal brand to advance her business interests and causes that she is passionate about. In an interview with NBC News she talks about her work to support female businesses and advises these entrepreneurs to “be a little more pushy than feels gracious." Padma understands that with hard work and determination nearly anything can be accomplished, and brings that mindset and insights from her personal experiences with her as she inspires and motivates audiences at every event.
Padma Lakshmi's smashing new show Taste the Nation is redefining a genre and stands as its own form of social activism with a 'nuanced, truth-seeking point of view'
Chef, TV personality and activist PADMA LAKSHMI hosts the award-winning series on Hulu which collectively expands and redefines the meaning of American food. Praise for Taste the Nation is unanimous, with the New York Times saying, "...the show doesn’t stop at deliciousness, and doesn’t waste time fetishizing these dishes. What makes Taste the Nation brilliant is that it refuses to be another shiny, happy, escapist series about food bringing everyone together. Despite the name of the show — a play on the long-running CBS News program “Face the Nation” — it isn’t about taste at all." The show aligns with Lakshmi's dedication as an activist and an American Civil Liberties Union ambassador for immigration and women’s rights, as she highlights and celebrates the food cultures of Indigenous people, immigrant communities and the descendants of enslaved people. In 2021, she won a Gracie Award from the Women in Media Foundation for Non-Fiction Entertainment with Taste the Nation and in 2022 the show won a James Beard Award.
More praise from the NYTimes about Lakshmi: "As a host, she is generous, inviting people to tell their own stories, in their own words, recognizing that American communities aren’t monoliths, though they’ve often been simplified and presented that way on food television". Lakshmi, an immigrant herself, doesn't shy away from the hardships and injustices that have impacted these communities. Fans who know Lakshmi as a host and executive producer of the long-running Top Chef consider her a friend for her approachable, easy-going, calm demeanor on the pressure-filled show. Lakshmi is a veteran of digital content, and consistently impresses virtual and in-person audiences, from light-hearted virtual cooking demonstrations to important conversations about the intersection of food and culture.
Virtual Programming: Incorporating a mental health component to your program is an important and timely addition. Combining it with star power draws a virtual crowd and keeps the discussion upbeat, with substantive storytelling to leave audiences feeling more connected, less alone, and hopeful.
More hosts are incorporating the topic of mental health into their programming, especially as Coronavirus has disrupted so many aspects of our lives at home, at work, and at play. Programs vary from light-hearted, interactive wellness breaks to head-on discussions about struggle and recovery. Combining the discussion with star power draws a virtual crowd and keeps the discussion upbeat, with substantive storytelling to leave audiences feeling more connected, less alone, and hopeful. Despite their public personas, many of our celebrity speakers openly share their vulnerabilities as a source of strength for others.
Wide receiver BRANDON MARSHALL shares his experience with borderline personality disorder and mental health advocacy; fan favorite RICKI LAKE speaks about loss, including her husband’s suicide; MARIA SHRIVER discusses overcoming family traumas; celebrity chef PADMA LAKSHMI shares her tips for mental health amid personal health struggles; former First Lady of Canada (and mom of the current President!) MARGARET TRUDEAU shares her struggle with bi-polar disorder; Emmy-winning talk show host TAMRON HALL discusses how her mental health was affected during her infertility struggles; power broker SCOOTER BRAUN and Football Hall of Famer TONY GONZALEZ recently shared in conversation about the importance of vulnerability; Army veteran, actor and survivor JR MARTINEZ speaks about healing physically, spiritually and mentally after his convoy was attacked in Iraq. Grief expert DAVID KESSLER literally wrote the book on processing loss, and speaks as both a grieving father of a lost child and a clinician. For powerful programs that make a difference, contact HWA to discuss incorporating a mental health component to your event.
Padma Lakshmi is an Emmy-nominated food expert, television host, producer and a New York Times best-selling author.
She is the creator, host, and executive producer of the critically acclaimed Hulu series Taste the Nation with Padma Lakshmi, which won a 2022 James Beard Award, and received a 2021 Critics Choice Real TV Award for Best Culinary Series and a 2021 Gotham Award for Breakthrough Series. Taste the Nation’s second season premiered on May 5th, 2023. Lakshmi also serves as host and executive producer of Bravo’s two-time Emmy-winning series Top Chef, now in its 20th season. Top Chef has been nominated for 42 Emmys, including her three-time nomination as Outstanding Host for A Reality-Competition Program.
Padma released her first children’s book- The New York Times best-selling Tomatoes for Neela, as well as edited The Best American Travel Writing in the fall of 2021. Lakshmi is also the author of two cookbooks- Easy Exotic and Tangy, Tart, Hot & Sweet, The New York Times best-selling memoir Love, Loss and What We Ate, and The Encyclopedia of Spices & Herbs.
Lakshmi is co-founder of the Endometriosis Foundation of America (EndoFound) and serves as an American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Artist Ambassador for immigrants' rights and women's rights. She was appointed a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and was awarded the 2021 Advocate of the Year Award by the United Nations Correspondents Association (UNCA).
Padma is a visiting scholar at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). She received the 2018 Karma Award from Variety magazine, as well as the 2016 EIHS Ellis Island Medal of Honor.
She lives in New York with her daughter.