How Taste The Nation Changed Padma Lakshmi's Life

"Taste the Nation" is in the midst of streaming its second season on Hulu (the first season was made available for streaming in June 2020), according to IMDb. Hosted by 15-year "Top Chef" veteran judge Padma Lakshmi, "Taste the Nation" follows the Indian-born Lakshmi on a journey across America to sample a diverse array of ethnic foods made by people like her, who came to this country as immigrants. The real hook, however, is that Lakshmi isn't just tasting the food. She's actually spending time getting to know, and introducing viewers to, the people behind the food and the fascinating stories that made the people who they are — and the food what it is. 

Not only has this Bourdain-esque endeavor been enjoying critical acclaim (via Rotten Tomatoes), but it's also given back a great deal to Lakshmi, who is the brains behind the docuseries' premise. She has not been shy about expressing how challenging it was to see her idea through from pitch to production. Nor has she been hesitant to express how very proud she feels to even be a part of this series, which as she told Bon Appétit, isn't afraid to showcase reality by highlighting both "food and people we don't really hear about that often, but who are very much American and very much part of the fabric of our lives."

"This show changed my life," Lakshmi tweeted on November 1, referring to "Taste the Nation." Let's take a look at how, shall we?

Padma Lakshmi is living her passion project in real time

Followers of Padma Lakshmi may have some understanding of how hard Lakshmi had to work to get her passion project, "Taste the Nation," onto the airwaves. The fact that the show, which explores the American immigrant experience through food, was conceived of entirely by Lakshmi — herself an émigré from India — had to have made the stakes even higher.

Naturally, therefore, one might conclude that when the longtime "Top Chef" judge suggests, as she did on Twitter, that this show has changed her life, that what she's referring to is the work involved in an undertaking of this magnitude, even for a star of Lakshmi's caliber. However, it turns out that "Taste the Nation" has changed Lakshmi's life in another way — one that could be seen as deeper and more significant. And that is by having literally immersed her and her crew in the unvarnished reality of the American immigrant experience.

In her Twitter post, Lakshmi didn't talk about the food she's discovered along the way or how important the show's success could be to her career. Rather, Lakshmi's focus was solely on the value of experiencing what might be described as a living history lesson. "There are so many stories we were never taught in history class," she added, along with a wish for her fans that viewing the show will be as rewarding for them as making it has been for her.