Kristen Kish replaces Padma Lakshmi as Top Chef host

Acclaimed chef Kristen Kish will take over as head of Bravo’s “Top Chef” following the departure of longtime presenter Padma Lakshmi, the network announced on Tuesday.

Kish, a fan favorite who won the cooking show’s tenth season and also served as a guest judge on the show, is expected to debut as a host in season 21, which will be filmed in Wisconsin this year and air in 2024. She joins culinary personalities Gail Simmons and Tom Colicchio on the panel of judges, both of whom have appeared on “Top Chef” since the show premiered in 2006.

“With ‘Top Chef,’ my journey began – first as a competing chef, then as a guest judge and now as a host, I have the privilege of helping to continue building this brand,” Kish said in a statement Tuesday. “I’m so excited to sit next to Gail and Tom as we meet new incredible chefs and see what they cook. It feels like coming home.”

Kristen Kish, pictured here attending Season 10 of "top chef," will be the new host of the long-running Bravo competition show.
Kristen Kish, pictured here participating in Top Chef season 10, will be the new host of the long-running Bravo competition show.

David Moir/Bravo via Getty Images

Announced in June ahead of the season 20 finale, Lakshmi’s departure came as a shock to many fans. The Emmy-nominated host said she is leaving the series to spend more time on “other creative pursuits,” including the Hulu show Taste the Nation With Padma Lakshmi.

“I’m extremely proud to have been a part of such a successful show and the impact it has had on the world of television and food,” she said of her exit.

Celebrating Bravo’s announcement about Kish this week, Lakshmi tweeted that she was “over the moon”.

Since winning the Top Chef award a decade ago, Kish has hosted several other television shows, including truTV’s Fast Foodies and Netflix’s Iron Chef: Quest for an Iron Legend. In 2018 she has open her own restaurant, Arlo Gray, in Austin, Texas.

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