Padma Lakshmi, the Indian-American model-turned Top Chef and cookbook author, is incredibly beloved. So much so, Hulu gave Padma Lakshmi her own show, Taste the Nation With Padma Lakshmi. Padma is also prolific: She's put out three cookbooks (Tangy, Tart, Hot & Sweet; The Encyclopedia of Spices & Herbs: An Essential Guide to the Flavors of the World; Easy Exotic) as well as a memoir titled Love, Loss, and What We Ate.
While you may know a little bit about Padma's background, you might not know more intimate details, like her religion. For someone who loves to celebrate other cultures within the U.S., here's what to know about Padma's cultural background and beliefs.
Padma Lakshmi's religion: What to know.
Padma Lakshmi — who was born in Madras (Chennai), India, and moved to New York City when she was 4 — practices Hindu. While religion isn't something she frequently talks about, the cookbook author and TV host did post Diwali photos to Instagram in 2019 and 2020. (Diwali is a Festival of Lights that is celebrates by Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, and some Buddhists.) On Instagram, Padma shared what Diwali looks like in her home, writing "Hindu is never easy," as a joke.
This past Diwali in November 2020, Padma posted a photo of herself and her daughter Krishna, both dressed up for the occasion in traditional Indian saris. "Me and #littlehands on Diwali this time last year," she wrote in the caption.
Here's a slide show of Padma's family, who were born in India.
In August 2020, Padma posted several throwback photos of herself and Krishna wearing saris for Ganesh Chaturthi, a Hindu festival celebrating the arrival of Ganesh to earth from Kailash Parvat. "Happy Ganesh Chathurthi ✨ from me and #littlehands," Padma wrote in the caption.
Other personal facts about Padma have been revealed over the years, many of which we learned from her memoir. For instance, Padma shared that she was raised by a single mom, which is quite rare in Indian culture. In fact, her mother moved to the U.S. when Padma was young so that she wouldn't have to deal with the stigma of being a divorced woman living in India. Padma didn't see her father for 20 years after he left.
He was described as a "persona non grata," and Padma said, "there weren't even any pictures of him. They were all torn up." Although she admits she didn't really miss her father because "you can't miss something you never had," she doesn't want the same fate for her daughter (whose father is venture capitalist Adam Dell).
"I do think not knowing one half of my family did delay me figuring out who I was, because I didn't know where I came from. And I didn't want my daughter to ever feel like that." Padma said.
There are so many ways Padma honors her ethnicity, and this includes making Indian food, which she shares on Instagram often.
Catch Padma on social media, Top Chef, in cookbooks, and Taste the Nation.