HOME > Chowhound > Food Media & News >


Top Chef's Padma says being stuck with the product placement is "crappy." She does know who pays her, right?


I feel so sorry for her now.
Says Padma: "With advertising for us, ... It's pretty straightforward. I'm the one on air who gets kind of most, I don't want to say saddled or slammed with the crappy part of it, but I feel like I do because ... I wind up saying the brand name in my intro to the challenge to these chefs." So the next time you're watching those cheftestapants use Reynolds wrap to cook food with Bombay Sapphire in Calphalon pans and store it in sealed Glad containers in their efforts to win a brand new Toyota Prius, you'll know it was hard to "make that shit sound natural."

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Well it's kind of the elephant in the room of top chef. In a perfect world, she could be the host of a show of excess and also not be a shill. I liked her honesty.

    19 Replies
    1. re: catroast

      All she has to do is look pretty and deliver the lines off the prompter. A lot of people would love to have her "crappy" problem.

      1. re: Firegoat

        a lot of people haven't worked to get to the point to have that problem.

        look, 99 percent of the people on chowhound are better off than millions, if not billions. i don't think judging padma for a little workplace kvetching is helpful.

        1. re: linus

          It seems like a very first world problem to complain about. No one else in the video seemed nearly as pissy about it. The gal on the Top Chef Canada does such a better job... And didn't have to marry Rushdie

          1. re: Firegoat

            of course it's a first world problem to complain about. and there are dozens of first world problems complained about on chowhound every day. there are billions of first world problems complained about by employees in billions of jobs every day.
            i can't find fault in someone complaining about a dreary part of their job.

            i've not seen top chef canada. not sure how salman rushdie enters into it.

            seems to me if a viewer doesn't like the job padma does, they could always change the channel. or maybe go out and audition.

            1. re: linus

              You should take a look at it on youtube. The hostess is quite engaging.

              1. re: Firegoat

                perhaps i will. then again, i've never had a problem finding padma engaging.

                1. re: Firegoat

                  Plus, Top Chef Canada has a "Finish Clock!"

                  1. re: C. Hamster

                    I'm glad it is Finnish. Who knows how well a Swedish Clock could keep time.

                    Okay... kidding all my Swedish friends....

                    1. re: Firegoat

                      And Top Chef Canada makes them shop at a grocery store owned by the head judge!!

                      1. re: C. Hamster

                        Do they have Whole Paycheck there?

                2. re: linus

                  She was married to Salman Rushdie from 2004 - 2007.

                3. re: Firegoat

                  I would venture to say 99.9999999999999999% of the issues discussed on chowhound are first world problems, the one exception for me being that one post I saw a few weeks ago in which third world hunger problems were actually the topic. :P

                  BTW, generally speaking, I think it would be a better world if more of us felt like we could disagree with some of our employer's practices without fear of losing our livelihoods.

                  1. re: Firegoat

                    Lisa Rey is much worse than Padma

                    1. re: catroast

                      I really liked Lisa's style. She didn't seem like she was reading off a prompter and actually seemed to be able to joke and have fun with the other judges and contestants. They didn't always have to cut away from her and do a voice over from her for put down your knives hands up or whatever they say. However, I will agree with you catroast in that she lost me as a fan after that horrible housewives of wherever episode.

                        1. re: C. Hamster

                          That was a horrible episode. I can't believe the editors didn't at least try to cut out some of the upptiness upptity ness cus.

                        2. re: Firegoat

                          to me she is another example of a canadian entertainer who couldn't hack it in the big leagues. At least she is better than Dina Pugliese

                        3. re: catroast

                          At least Rey says "Time's up, untensils down!"

                          1. re: John E.

                            LOL they always have to cut away and voice over Padma for that one.

                4. That's her job, right?

                  1. Actually paid attention to the whole thing. Notice at the end that she complimented her producers and how the product placement went well.

                    She does not enjoy the intro. Not everybody likes all parts of their job. She is in sales and entertainment. And she is currently successful.

                    Gordon I got. I have no idea who the other three are.

                    1. I tend to feel more sorry for the presumably less-trained and less-well-paid contestants who have to casually bellow about how terrific it is to zoom away in the Faboo Crayola Backlander to the Famous Market Store.

                      1. I don't get the whole "just bend over and take it" attitude, it's disingenuous and forced, plain and simple. Do you enjoy getting force fed this BS even though you're already aware it's all fake?

                        1. The real crime isn't in the quoted statements by the OP, it's in the video that's also on the site; wherein all the hosts are in agreement that they've convinced themselves that challenges with product placements are "clever" and "innocuous." Padma actually cited the Reynold's Wrap challenge as really cool, and Heidi Klum discussed when young designers had to make clothes out of car interiors, which she thought was great! Clearly a case of communal cognitive dissonance...those challenges are the *worst* to watch as viewers.

                              1. re: rasputina

                                I mean, that's her job. To say things that people write for her to say and look pretty while doing it. I could see Tom or Gail bitching about it. Just seemed weird to see her doing it. I was wondering if Gordon would say anything about Wal-Mart and masterchef.

                                1. re: Firegoat

                                  i don't understand. so what if it's her job? does everyone on god's green earth have to like every single thing about their job?
                                  i bet most people like some things about their jobs and dislike some things about their jobs.
                                  this seems to be part of padma's job she doesn't like, and she said so.
                                  what's the weird part?

                                  1. re: linus

                                    OKay, let me see if I can rephrase it. If she was a chef and asked to talk a lot about how awesome Walmart is and she didn't think it was awesome and it was hurting her credibility as a chef I could see her really not liking it. But her job is to read words off a script and look pretty. I don't see how saying Toyota Prius is much different from saying organic cow milk. I don't see it somehow hurting her credibility. And I agree all people have things they dislike about their job. The difference is if they aren't Padma they complain on Facebook and then get fired.

                                    1. re: Firegoat

                                      does not compute.
                                      i'm not going to speak for padma, but it seems to me she just feels silly shilling for products she doesn't use or get excited about.
                                      the same way anyone would feel if they had to say something they didn't believe.
                                      she didn't say it was hurting her credibility, she just said it was hard to make something sound convincing when you're not, er, convinced.
                                      you might want to take a look at the film 'glitter' to get a gander at padma's acting prowess. i think even she might admit she needs all the help she can get.

                                      she didn't say she wouldn't do it, she didn't say her employers sucked, she just said a certain part of her job is hard to do.
                                      as for your assessment of padma's job, well, if that were the case, of all the pretty people in the world, why did they hire her? why not...kate upton? taye diggs? brad pitt? the winner of america's next top model? some erudite stripper? some guy who speaks clearly and models tuxedos for sears?

                                      by the way, got any statistics on, say, folks on the line at gm or spacely's sprockets who've told their bosses, "gee, screwing the frangely widget onto the cranston stoop was really hard for me today" and got fired?

                                      i get it, some people don't like padma, and don't like people who appear on television in general.
                                      i just find not liking her (or them) for this reason, um, weird.

                                      1. re: linus

                                        Well I just completed a CLE specifically on employers' ability to fire people based on social media posting. Can't give you exact numbers but it is enough that it's apparently quite a big deal.

                                        1. re: Firegoat

                                          not really what i asked, but interesting.

                                          1. re: linus

                                            Well no, I don't have time to look up numbers for you but it is happening to such an extent they are having legal education for attorneys on it. Makes me think it is a bit of a thing going on.

                                            1. re: Firegoat

                                              but how does this "thing" relate to padma and top chef? she didnt go on facebook, i didn't ask anything about facebook.

                                              puzzled, but let's drop it.

                                        2. re: linus

                                          "... of all the pretty people in the world, why did they hire her?"

                                          Probably because she has authored cookbooks and has had a couple FoodTV shows of her own. And she's good looking to boot.

                                2. I find TC's product placement and hawking to edge on campy. I mean, it's so in your face, unabashed and blatant.
                                  It borders on parody.
                                  I guess I'm saying that they're just owning it. Yes, we're selling products!!

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: monavano

                                    I think that the product placements are tasteful - much better than say in a game show where they interrupt the flow for a 15 second spot. The placements here are pretty slick.

                                    1. re: catroast

                                      I think the worst placements are the cars. I don't mind seeing the cars, seeing the logos, having the hosts mention the cars. I hate having the chestantpants have to say things about the cars.

                                      1. re: Firegoat

                                        ya it's gotten worse over time and it is much worse in TC canada ;)

                                    2. re: monavano

                                      At times it has gotten to the point of ridiculousness. It almost takes as long for her to get in the product placements as it does for her to explain the challenge.

                                    3. I don't mind the product placements if they make sense. I can't think of any of what I consider the ridiculous products the contestants were forced to cook with, I guess Diet Dr. Pepper is the closest I can think of right now. There was some obscure snack chip of some kind they had to use in a QF in TC6, but it must not have worked because I don't remember what it was.