Exploring something new. Although Padma Lakshmi has been part of the professional food industry for more than two decades but had yet to see anything highlighting immigrants. So, she created it with Taste the Nation.
“I’m always interested in the kind of food and yet, in mainstream media, we have not really had this kind of coverage,” Lakshmi, 49, tells Us Weekly in the latest issue. “My work with the ACLU kind of led me to want to do this show to show that immigrant food is exciting, to show that immigrants are a positive force in this country and that we should welcome them and everything they bring that’s so delicious.”
The series, which follows the chef on a journey to explore the diverse food cultures of various immigrant groups across the country, comes at the perfect time. Although that, of course, was not planned, Lakshmi admits that the show brings up a big conversation.
“There are so many important issues to discuss in our culture, but I do think that a show like Taste The Nation helps to address some of the issues we’re grappling with as a country and so I’m glad that it has something positive to say at this very painful time in America,” she tells Us. “I’m hoping it will also bring a lot of comfort and entertainment into people’s homes at a time when they can’t travel themselves or eat in many restaurants.”
Lakshmi is an advocate for immigrant rights and was ready to show that to the cooking world, as well.
“America is made of immigrants. America has been built by immigrants from different generations and different parts of the world. It is the reason for America’s greatness,” the author says. “It is the reason for America’s economic prowess and it is the reason and source for most of our popular culture. That’s why immigrant stories are important because they’re American stories.”
For more from Lakshmi, pick up the latest issue of Us Weekly, on newsstands now.
Taste the Nation is streaming now on Hulu.
With reporting by Carly Sloane