Here’s Why Padma Lakshmi Calls ‘Taste the Nation’ a Career Game-Changer

The second season of the 2023 SI Swimsuit model’s Hulu program is streaming now.
Padma Lakshmi

Padma Lakshmi.

Padma Lakshmi’s name is synonymous with Top Chef, as the 52-year-old hosted the program for 17 years. While she announced her departure from the show earlier this month, when one door closes, another door opens.

The 2023 SI Swimsuit model is also the creator, host and executive producer of Hulu’s Taste the Nation, a series that allows Lakshmi to travel while highlighting different cuisines and cultures from around the world. In a recent interview with Vanity Fair, the New York Times best-selling author opened up about her latest project.

“I’m very lucky that somebody finally gave me a chance to create something from scratch,” she told the publication of Taste the Nation. “That is a game changer, especially for women who always have to fit the mold that somebody else has created for us—and we are just expected to adhere to certain things that are there for women but not there for men. I certainly felt that, even at my level, there were a lot of double standards and a lot of ways that I wasn’t free.”

She went on to add that the show allows her to share her authentic personality with the world, something she felt her hosting duties on Top Chef didn’t quite afford.

All 10 episodes of Season 2 of Taste the Nation are currently streaming on Hulu.

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Cara O’Bleness


Cara is a trending news writer/editor for Sports Illustrated Swimsuit. A passionate writer and editor with more than 10 years of experience in print and online media, she loves storytelling and believes that words have the power to change the world. Prior to joining the team, Cara worked as a writer and editor across a number of content verticals, including food, lifestyle, health and wellness, and small business and entrepreneurship. In her free time, Cara loves reading, spending time with her family and making her way through Michigan’s many microbreweries. She is a graduate of Michigan State University's School of Journalism.