Tag Archive for 'Padma Lakshmi'

An Intimate conversation with Padma Lakshmi

Rebecca Suhrawardi in The Caravan:

caravan-PadmaPadma Lakshmi had asked me to meet her at a small Italian café on New York City’s Lower East Side, the neighborhood she calls home. The former model turned culinary icon of the hit US cooking show Top Chef has lived off-and-on in the city since she emigrated from India, nearly 40 years ago.

When I arrived at the café shortly before our 4.30 pm appointment, I was surprised to find it had not yet opened for the day. Inside the intimate space, staff were slowly setting up the bar and wiping down surfaces. Most of the chairs were turned over on tables from the previous night’s cleaning. We were unexpected, so I took two spaces at the otherwise vacant counter.

Lakshmi soon appeared, dressed in the New York uniform of all black, and quickly warned against any physical contact: she was recovering from a bout of bronchitis. (“Still sick in my pajamas. But the meds are kicking in,” and “This is me now … Bronchitis and bed ridden!!! I hate being sick!!!” she had tweeted the previous week.) Despite the illness, she was radiant—skin dewy and smooth, her sculptural cheekbones even more striking atop the pedestal of her long, slim neck. With hardly any makeup on, fluttering black lashes, and her hair in two long braids, she was even more of natural beauty than I had expected. “Nothing makes me happier than an Indian girl who tweets at me, or somebody on the street who stops me and says, ‘Thank you so much, because I really didn’t have people who look like me, no other brown faces that love lipstick and literature too’,” Lakshmi told me. More:

India’s spice girls: American culinary superstars

David Kaufman in Time:

Divya Gugnani

Divya Gugnani, CEO, Behind the Burner. Click on the image to go to her page

In late March, culinary grande dame Alice Waters was awarded France’s highest accolade when she was made a Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur, joining Julia Child as the only American women to ever receive the honor. Mavericks both in and outside the kitchen, Waters and Child are emblematic of pop cooking’s first female American wave — native-born, French-focused and Caucasian.

Now, in their wake, comes a new tribe of lady toques far more rooted in the Raj than Escoffier. Indeed, from the kitchen to the wine cellar, TVs to PCs, Indian women have quietly emerged as America’s newest foodie heavyweights. Led by cookbook author and television host Padma Lakshmi, Indian women chefs, sommeliers, writers and restaurateurs are proving a potent force in the male-dominated world of high-profile cuisine.

“Food is entrenched in our culture, in our families, in our history,” observes master sommelier Alpana Singh, director of wine and spirits for Chicago-based Lettuce Entertain You restaurant group. “Cooking is not something sudden for us,” she adds. “We’re just expanding beyond our own community.” More:

Links to

Just what is Salman Rushdie’s secret?

Posted by Asian Window:

rushdieHow does this guy do it?

Sir Salman Rushdie, the balding, 62-year-old Booker Prize-winning author who has been married four times, has now been seen with a 27-year-old Harvard graduate of Chinese and Hungarian descent, Min Lieskovsky.

This just a week after his tabloid spat with ex-girlfriend Pia Glenn.

According to the New York Post, Rushdie was seen at the Norman Mailer Writers’ Colony Gala with stunning author and anthropology student Min Lieskovsky. The guest list also included Tina Brown, Toni Morrison, Joan Didion, Oliver Stone and Annie Leibovitz.

Lieskovsky says she is “addicted to male models.” She wrote in ElleGirl: “I’ve dated six of the world’s top models as ranked by Models.com, the so-called Nasdaq of modelling…”

Another quote from ElleGirl: “Each male model I dated told me he had never met a girl like me: smart, but easy to talk to; nerdy, but still pretty hot.” (Full article here)

For more on Min Lieskovsky, read the Gawker story headlined “Salman Rushdie’s New Squeeze”. Gawker also has “Facebook messages between Salman Rushdie and his brand new love cookie” (Here’s the link)

Just two weeks back Rushdie’s previous girlfriend, American actress Pia Glenn, gave a tell-all interview to the Mail on Sunday where she said he was obsessed with his fourth wife, Padma Lakshmi, and would begin the day by putting his own name into Google to see what had been written about him. She said Rushdie was “cowardly, dysfunctional and immature.” She claims “he would talk about Padma day and night.” Three months ago he dumped her by email. More here.

Rushdie hit back. He told the New York Post Glenn is “an unstable person who carries around a large, radioactive bucket of stress wherever she goes.” He adds that she’s also “an accomplished liar…confused, and desperate for attention.”

About ex-wife Padma Lakshmi he said: “When my marriage to Padma ended I was saddened and hurt, that’s true, but that was two and a half years ago, and, like any adult, I have accepted the world as it is.” (More here in the Daily Mail).

‘Cowardly, immature and dysfunctional…Salman Rushdie should have got a prostitute’: An ex-girlfriend’s stinging verdict

American actress Pia Glenn has given a tell-all interview to the Mail on Sunday about her fling with the novelist Sir Salman Rushdie.  She says he was obsessed with his fourth wife, Padma Lakshmi, and would begin the day by putting his own name into Google to see what had been written about him. Three months ago he dumped her by email:

Their first date was dinner at a chic bistro where a stream of other famous diners, including fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg, came over to pay their respects.

Afterwards, he took Pia for a drink. She recalled: ‘We were squished on a couch and he had his arm around me and all of a sudden he forcefully kissed me. I thought it was clumsy, and that made it all the more endearing.

‘Later, he invited me to go home with him and said I could use the guest room.’ She refused.

There were more dates and, in the first week of January, they became lovers.

‘I was enjoying spending time with him – I felt he got who I was and that I got who he was.

‘A lot of people are intimidated by me because I’m a giant and they are intimidated by him because of his intellect.’

She gradually moved into his mansion. Pia said: ‘It was Salman who started to call it “our house” but it never felt like my home.
‘It was furnished with stiff antiques and the housekeeper had been there when he was married to Padma. He was obsessed with Padma.’

At the time, the former Lady Rushdie was being linked in New York gossip columns to the Wall Street billionaire Teddy Forstmann and the venture capitalist Adam Dell, whose brother had founded Dell computers.

‘Salman would alternate between putting them down and saying he pitied them,’ said Pia. ‘When he saw my laptop was a Dell, he went off into a tirade. More:

Padma Lakshmi’s jewelry strategies

From the Wall Street Journal:

padma1There’s an error women sometimes make when they wear jewelry, says “Top Chef” host Padma Lakshmi: “You notice the jewelry more than you notice her smile or her face. Jewelry should not upstage you.”

To avoid that, Ms. Lakshmi has a simple strategy. “I pick one hot point on my body that I’m going to highlight,” she says. “Let one area do the singing — you don’t want to hear three songs at once.”

For example, Ms. Lakshmi, who just launched a jewelry line that will start selling at Bergdorf Goodman in May, sometimes wears an eye-catching stack of bangles on her wrist with small earrings but no other jewelry. Or she’ll wear long earrings to draw attention to her neck and collarbone and slip on a pinky ring as a small, additional touch. “You want to have one main story and one back story, and that’s it,” she says.

[image from www.padmalakshmi.com]


Sir Salman: ‘We have been wimpish about defending our ideas’

In The Spectator, Salman Rushdie tells Matthew d’Ancona that the idea at the heart of his new novel set in 16th century Florence and India is that universal values exist and require robust champions

The last time I interviewed Salman Rushdie was, as he remarks, a lifetime ago. That was in February 1993, in a safe house in north London guarded by Special Branch officers, only four years after Ayatollah Khomeini sentenced him to death for the alleged blasphemy of The Satanic Verses. On that occasion, quite understandably, the novelist seemed shrunken: not only spiritually subdued, but physically compressed by the ordeal of the fatwa.

Fifteen years on, we meet in very different circumstances to discuss his new novel: The Enchantress of Florence, a lushly magnificent exploration of East and West in the 16th century. No longer creeping in the shadow of theocratic murder, Rushdie — or, more properly these days, Sir Salman — is animated and puckish. In a magic realist touch, it is as though the 60-year-old novelist is actually younger than he was in 1993. At any rate, his countenance and the spark in his eye today prove that you can come back from the dead.


Previously in AW, Rushdie’s new novel and new love interest: click here, here, here and here.

Rushdie: I was deranged when I embraced Islam

From The Sunday Times, UK:

Sir Salman Rushdie has confessed that he pretended to “embrace Islam” in the hope that it would reduce the threat of Muslims acting on the fatwa to kill him.

The author issued a statement in 1990 in order to defuse the row about his novel The Satanic Verses, which had provoked Muslims across the world. He claimed he had renewed his Muslim faith, had repudiated the attacks on Islam in his novel and was committed to working for better understanding of the religion across the world.

However, in an interview to be broadcast next month, Rushdie now claims his reversion to the religion of his birth was all a “pretence”.


The Bookers’ favourite

Salman Rushdie reveals how writing The Enchantress of Florence helped him escape the painful break-up of his marriage to Padma Lakshmi. Andrew Anthony in The Observer, UK:

Salman Rushdie

To be fair to Lakshmi, she seemed more at home at premieres than palaces, but then celebrity is the new royalty. From a distance, or more specifically through the prism of gossip columns, she looked like trouble from the very start, someone who was unlikely ever to provide a happy ending, at least in the conventional narrative sense.

According to Rushdie, the irony is that not only did she not inspire the book, she was very nearly the cause of its demise. ‘To put it bluntly,’ he says, ‘I had to write it in spite of her. Because what happened to me last year when I was writing this book was a colossal calamity.’ By this he means the end of his marriage. In January of 2007, Lakshmi asked for a divorce.


Back with a book

Indrajit Hazra profiles Salman Rushdie for the Hindustan Times

ONE OF the most honest yet under-reported reasons for anyone wanting to become a successful writer is that he can impress and get the girl. (For women, the world still being tragically gender-skewed, the reason for writing is thought to be more noble: for the pleasure of writing.) In the case of Salman Rushdie, noted author and fatwa-fuelled cerebral celebrity every new book, like it or not, sounds like a mating call.


Rushdie’s fatwa on thought police

Salman Rushdie

Salman Rushdie speaks to the Times of India’s Dina Vakil on artistic freedom, Taslima Nasreen and his new book

Salman RushdieSalman Rushdie“I don’t make my decisions based on 25 goondas at the gate,’’ says Salman Rushdie tartly. The original enfant terrible of Indo-Anglian fiction, now a battle-worn but still feisty 60, is referring to the handful of Samajwadi Party workers and assorted agitationists who staged their de rigeur protest against his recent visit to the city. “In any case, in the Indian context, two dozen people is actually nobody.’’

Read more