Changes are afoot on Bravo’s Top Chef.
Padma Lakshmi is bowing out of the beloved series after Top Chef Season 20.
“After much soul searching, I have made the difficult decision to leave Top Chef,” she wrote in a statement on social media.
“Having completed a glorious 20th season as host and exec producer, I am extremely proud to have been a part of building such a successful show and of the impact it has had in the worlds of television and food.”
“After 17 years, many of the cast and crew are like family to me and I will miss working alongside them dearly,” the emotional statement continues.”
“I feel it’s time to move and need to make space for Taste The Nation.”
“My books and other creative pursuits,” she added.
“I am deeply thankful to all of you for so many years of love and support.”
The news is undoubtedly a shocker, but it comes as the hit Reality TV series is celebrating its 20th season.
In a show first, filming took place in London, featuring 16 of the greatest contestants from the several iterations airing worldwide.
NBCUniversal has yet to respond to the news, and it’s unclear when the star decided to depart.
With the season finale set to air on June 8, there may be a goodbye segment for Padma, who has been a big part of the show’s success.
Lakshmi hosted the series alongside Tom Colicchi and Gail Simmons.
It’s unclear if the show will name a new host or proceed with two.
Switching things up is always a good way to drum up some more interest, but something tells me that Top Chef has thrived for so long because of the familiarity aspect.
Bravo has yet to renew the series for a 21st season, but looking at the current numbers, the show remains a hit.
As a result, it’s hard to believe the show won’t be back next year.
What are your thoughts on Padma’s departure?
Hit the comments.
Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.