The Nostalgic Meal Padma Lakshmi Opts For While Filming Top Chef

For some foodies, being a "Top Chef" judge may sound like the ultimate dream job. After all, who wouldn't want to travel to the hottest food cities in the world while tasting tons of delicious grub? The program's longtime trio of judges, Gail Simmons, Tom Colicchio, and Padma Lakshmi, makes the gig look easy. But, in reality, there's a lot more to the coveted position than what we see on screen.

Speaking with The Every Mom, Simmons explained that a typical filming day for her starts at 7 a.m., lasts about 14 hours, and, surprisingly, often entails going for long stretches of time without food. Additionally, there's a lot of pressure that comes with being a "Top Chef" judge despite the fact that they're not the ones having to put together mind-blowing plates of food. Per Food & Wine, the judges' decisions have to be unanimous, which, in the past, has made judges' table sessions last for as many as 10 hours. "They wouldn't let us leave judge's table if we weren't comfortable with our decision," Lakshmi said.

Serving as a "Top Chef" judge might be a bit more difficult than it looks from the outside. On days when the job feels extra tough, Lakshmi turns to the one thing she's there for in the first place: food. In a recent Instagram post, the cookbook author revealed the nostalgic food she opts for when film life starts to get a bit rough, and it's probably more relatable than you'd expect.

A simple PB&J is Lakshmi's on-set comfort meal

Padma Lakshmi has dealt with a lot during her "Top Chef" career, even once having to move filming inside at the last minute due to an oncoming hurricane (via Bravo). The situation was no doubt stressful. But on trying occasions, Lakshmi may find comfort in the humble peanut butter and jelly sandwich, which she wrote a thoughtful ode to on her Instagram page.

"A pb&j tbt," she captioned a photo posted on January 19. It features her lounging on a couch with the sammie in hand. "Sometimes it's all I want to eat when we're really in the weeds filming Top Chef – strawberry jelly, extra creamy PB, keep it simple," she continued, noting that she once tried to switch to almond butter but found that "it's just not the same."

Several people found Lakshmi's on-set snack relatable, including chef Art Smith. "Hello dear it's my very favorite!" he said, while model Chrissy Teigen understood her friend's sentiments about almond butter. "The closest it can be to edible is honey almond butter, which is the cauliflower pizza to ny pizza," she teased. All jokes aside, there's actually some merit to Lakshmi's strategy of turning to a nostalgic treat at work, as one nutrition expert explained that it can immediately create a sense of warmth and comfort (via The Chalkboard Mag). probably doesn't hurt that PB&J's are pretty tasty, too.