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The first time I met Padma Lakshmi was after one of my shows in Los Angeles. It was around 11 p.m., and when she noticed the craft table covered in charcuterie, she pointed and said, “I think I need to hit that.” I thought, “Oh, wow. She eats for real for real.” It’s Padma’s genuine love of food—and how freaking smart she is—that makes her electric to watch as the host of Top Chef, currently in its 20th season, and Taste the Nation With Padma Lakshmi, which returns for a second season in May. It also helps that she’s drop-dead gorgeous.

Padma is an incredible writer, and that really shines through when she speaks. She’s articulate and has a strong point of view. When I was a guest judge on Top Chef, I was shocked by how honest and unafraid she was of being disliked. She’s brave in that way. I’m always in awe of Padma because, yes, she really is that beautiful, talented, and charismatic. She’s iconic.

Wong is a comedian, actor, and an Emmy-nominated writer

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