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Born September 1, 1970, TV host, model and author Padma Lakshmi is best known as host of Bravo's Top Chef reality cooking show. Of Indian-American descent, Lakshmi was involved in a serious car accident as a teen that left her with a trademark 7-inch scar between her elbow and shoulder following surgery.
Lakshmi's industry career took off at the age of 20 when she was discovered by a modeling agent in Spain while at a cafe. She has since appeared in campaigns for Ralph Lauren, Alberta Ferretti and Roberto Cavalli, and posed nude for the May 2009 issue of Allure magazine. Receiving a Bachelor's degree in Theater Arts from Clark University in 1992, Lakshmi is the author of two cookbooks, Easy Exotic -- which took Best First Book honors at the 1999 World Cookbook Awards in France -- and Tangy, Tart, Hot and Sweet, which hit stores in 2007. Prior to assuming Top Chef hosting duties during the show's second season in 2006, Lakshmi helmed the Food Network show Padma's Passport, and guest hosted on British show Planet Food.
Lakshmi split from novelist Salman Rushdie in 2007 after three years of marriage. In February 2010, she welcomed daught Krishna Thea with venture capitalist Adam Dell.