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Top Chef presenter, enlighten me

I know the sticky says not to bash TV hosts but this is a sincere question.
I don't live in USA but we do get Top Chef in my country and I love it. You're so lucky to get the food TV you do. Anyway. what I don't get is why the programme's presenter is there? She's really wooden and from what she says it doesn't seem like she has any particular expertise in food. Not that she says much anyway. Then I read her wikipedia entry and it seems like she's written some cookbooks. Ok. But as someone who has no idea about American TV, celebrities, food scene, etc. it's totally baffling that she's there. Is there something I'm missing, something I don't know about her, is she really popular in America, has she done other TV shows?

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  1. I also don't live in the US, got some of the TC shows, and also wish that we got more US food type shows.

    You're asking about Padma? Americans find her attractive. She hosted some previous food oriented shows. I thought that she was terrible.

    10 Replies
    1. re: Sam Fujisaka

      it's true, i've read people from places like Ulaanbaatar, Split , Addis Ababa and Medillin find her looks repulsive.
      those wacky americans.

      el linus

      1. re: linus

        really? repulsive? why is that - I thought she was an international model.

      2. re: Sam Fujisaka

        <Americans find her attractive.>

        Yes, like that famous American, Salman Rushdie, who married her. And that other famous American, Emanuel Ungaro, for whom she modeled. And oh, yeah, famous American Helmut Newton who photographed her extensively. Those crazy Americans and their bizarre notions of attractiveness!

        But I confess to a) being American and b) thinking she's very pretty.

        1. re: small h

          You might note that I did not say that ONLY Americans find her attractive.

          1. re: Sam Fujisaka

            Fair enough. But there were so very many things you did not say (the sun is hot, 30 Rock wasn't so good last week, etc.) that I figured I'd better stick to the thing you DID say, in order to save time and energy.

          2. re: small h

            As a heterosexual woman I know my opinion probably isn't worth much, but I think Gail, with her voluptuous sensuality, is infinitely more sexy than Padma.

            1. re: Ruth Lafler

              I'm also a heterosexual woman, and I don't even watch Top Chef, so your opinion is worth more than mine. But I google-imaged Gail Simmons, and you're right! she's hawt! But she's kinda got the crazy eyes, at least in this picture.

              http://www.zimbio.com/pictures/Au9ij5...

              1. re: small h

                I think the perfect example why I think Gail is sexy was in the last show of Top Chef Masters, when Gail said she loved the sauce so much she wanted to bathe in it. Jay Raynor, sitting next to her, looked like he was about to offer to lick it off her afterwards!

                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                  As a heterosexual male, Gail irritates the bejeezus out of me and I don't find her appealing in any way.

              2. re: Ruth Lafler

                From a heterosexual man, I could not agree more.

          3. If you search the posts here you will find that many people don't like Padma. I don't agree with all of the criticism. I think she knows something about food. But the answer to your question is, she's on the show because she's a model. She is beautiful _ at least many people think so. She was married to Salman Rushdie, which gives her extra celebrity cred. In America, TV shows need a beautiful, famous model to be the face of the show.

            1. many of us in the US are just as baffled as you are. I don't know how she came to be on the show, she seems very stiff to me. If you review past comments on TC, others feel the same.

              1. Padma has been part of the formula that has made this show very popular. And that from a relatively obscure cable channel. So love her or hate her, the producers don't want to change a working mixture of beauty (I wouldn't turn down a date with her), adequate eloquence (I can understand what she says) and celebrity (with her famous scar and prior marriage to a decent author who had a fatwa on his head for many years). America loves this quirky mix of judges and hostess and bottom line, the food and the chefs are getting the exposure like never before.

                1. If you think Padma is wooden, you obviously have not seen Season 1 where the hostess was Katie Lee Joel. Padma is a huge improvement. I wouldn't describe Padma as wooden, but more like she's stoned. In real life I don't think I would get along very well with her, but I think she does her job well. She's beautiful (almost a prerequisite to host a show on a non-public network), can deliver her lines, and knows something about food (though I will say not a high level when you compare her to Colicchio). She has appeared on a few food related TV shows on the Food Network and was on Globetrekker (which airs on public TV).

                  8 Replies
                  1. re: Miss Needle

                    What you said, Miss N. :-) A 2x4 would have been better than Katie Lee Joel. Having said that, Padma this season just seems "off" to me. I liked her a few seasons back - there was a bit more animation and liveliness to her voice. This season, she seems like she's walking through, pauses to say something on camera, and then keeps going.

                    1. re: LindaWhit

                      I do agree with you about Padma being a bit "off" this season. Perhaps the friction between her and the rest of the cast and crew is starting to show on camera.

                      1. re: Miss Needle

                        one other thought about Padma - perhaps it was early in her pregnancy when they filmed these episodes? if she was particularly tired or battling morning sickness in her first trimester, it would explain why she seems so "drowsy" all the time. i keep waiting for her to nod off in a plate of food!

                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                          I thought about that as well but I don't think the timing works as they started filming in April -- unless Padma is a lot more pregnant than I think she is. There could have been some overlap towards the end of the season, though, with her pregnancy.

                          I'm also wondering how she will handle judging the finale and next season of Top Chef. She stated in an interview that she will eat everything. But there's been an awful lot of ceviche this season. Will contestants will score brownie points with her if they prepare "pregnancy friendly" items

                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                            I *think* these were taped in early summer? And she was only 4 months pregnant at the Emmys, I think....so I'm not sure if she would have even known if she was pregnant when taping of this season began.

                      2. re: Miss Needle

                        'I wouldn't describe Padma as wooden, but more like she's stoned" LMAO.

                        And I don't know why, but I don't think I would get along with her either. I notice that she irritates some of the cheftestants. Didn't Ash say he would invite the other judges to his restaurant, but not Padma?

                        1. re: Gigi007

                          Yeah, I think Ash said that because Padma never liked anything he made.

                          There was something I posted a few days ago about an interview with an ex-crew member of TC Season 5. I believe the word he/she described Padma was diva.

                          Diva or not, I'm still fine with her hosting the show. Probably wouldn't want to hang out with her -- but she probably wouldn't want to hang out with me either!

                          1. re: Miss Needle

                            I guess she's OK. Anyway, she's a TV personality. No telling what she's like in real life. I honestly would not be interested in her opinions about food, but wouldn't mind hearing about her years w/ Salman Rushdie.