Why Padma Lakshmi Wants To Do An All-Vegetarian Season Of Top Chef

In recent years, food culture has experienced a tremendous shift. While there are many who still enjoy eating meat and other animal byproducts during their daily meals, plant-based lifestyles like the ones followed by vegetarians and vegans have gained much popularity and are experiencing a huge moment. VeganNews reports that plant-based lifestyles are now being practiced by about 9.6 million Americans (something that has increased 300 percent over the last 15 years). 

The publication cites that people are becoming more and more concerned with the effect that eating meat has on local and global ecosystems as well as the slew of benefits that eating more plant-based diets have on one's overall health. Because of this shift in mainstream interests, shows like Mary McCartney Serves It Up, where McCartney solely cooks vegetarian meals for her guests, have taken off and become more prevalent. This is a trend that TV personality, cookbook author, and plant-based enthusiast Padma Lakshmi has been trying to implement on the popular cooking competition Top Chef.

Lakshmi grew up vegetarian and has been pushing for a plant-based season of Top Chef

An Us Weekly article cites how the Top Chef host, who was brought on in season two, would love to see more vegetarian and vegan dishes made. Lakshmi tells the publication that she has told producers that they should "do a whole vegetarian season [but that] everybody looks at me like I'm crazy." The mother-of-one notes that she understands that the United States is a "meat and potatoes" kind of country, but she is persistent about doing a solely vegetarian and vegan season. 

The reason for her enthusiasm for a plant-based season is largely in part to her vegetarian upbringing. The former model notes that she was raised following the principles of the lacto-vegetarian Hindu Brahmin diet, and ate legumes and vegetables for the early portion of her life (per NPR). The Top Chef host admits that she didn't have meat until she was already in her teenage years, NPR reports. While she no longer practices a solely vegetarian lifestyle like she did growing up, Distractify reports that outside of Top Chef hosting duties, Lakshmi follows a more plant-based diet.