Padma Lakshmi is the sort of famous, wealthy, beautiful person you still fervently root for. There’s something about her that just seems real. From recent revelations about her painful past, to biting commentary about the food she’s served on Top Chef, to her solution-oriented response to Louis C.K.’s fumbled comeback — she’s the mega-star you’d invite to your personal last supper. Better still, upon arriving she might just offer a few choice words about the plating.
Last week, with Top Chef: Kentucky finding its groove, Padma hung out at the Kelloggs Cafe in New York City, judging a nation-wide holiday recipe contest. She also took time to slip a few jabs at the competitors of the Uproxx Cooking Battle — skewering our crustless-pies, boring caramels, and overzealous use of cedar. Once the judging was done, we had time to pepper the author/actress/host/model/food aficionado with a few more questions.
As is her practice, she was honest and funny, while also offering genuine insight about the future of inclusivity in the food scene.
You have a new partnership with Kellogg’s — was that a natural fit for you?
You know, I don’t live very far from their New York café and, frankly, I was always really curious about what went on up here. It’s on the second floor, so you can’t really peer in the window and see anything. And one of my favorite things to do in the kitchen is to repurpose ingredients into other recipes — which is what this contest I’m judging is about.
That idea of remixing recipes has always been important, but it seems to be something that people are really talking about right now.
If you look at my cookbook that came out several years ago, called Tangy, Tart, Hot and Sweet, you’ll see a recipe for a tie-dyed crumble, which is made of pineapple and pomegranate, which is very much in season right now. And crumbles are great at this time of year because they’re very forgiving, they can be reheated the next day, they’re easy to make. And in that crust, I’m using frosted flakes. You could use frosted flakes or you could use just cornflakes with a little bit of extra added sugar if that’s what you have. And it makes for a really mottled, beautiful crust.
If you look at my fried chicken recipe in the same book, you’ll see Rice Krispies. There are lots of ways to use cereal in ways that you wouldn’t normally think of. It’s great for giving texture.