Stalking Top Chef's Padma Lakshmi in Seattle

By: 
Leslie Kelly
Host Padma Lakshmi and head judge, chef Tom Colicchio

Forgive me Padma! My editor made me do it.

Yes, Top Chef fever has got us whipped into quite a froth and when I showed up for my Monday morning pastry at Le Panier at the Pike Place Market, I hit the motherlode. Yes, it's true. Top Chef is filming here in Seattle.

Tents were set up on the cobblestones, production assistants wearing those oh-so-official earbuds buzzed around, looking important. Cameramen took cover shots, wandering the mostly empty halls, taking footage of the guys setting up at City Fish, who knew nothing about the show. “They don’t tell us anything,” one said, before agreeing to pose with a beautiful Alaskan king salmon.

I trailed after the camera dude, asking: Are you with Top Chef? He was mum and shrugged his shoulders.

But then, I spotted her, behind a heavy sheet of plastic (shown below), just beyond the flower vendor, posing for photos with Marche chef Daisley Gordon: Padma Lakshmi, the stunning supermodel-ish star of the show. It was 7 in the morning, yet she had no trace of bed head. She was gorgeous and, yes, even without being on camera, you could tell she had that star quality called charisma. Yes, I have a little crush.

Which makes what happens next so personally devastating: Padma emerged from the tent and I pointed my crappy camera at her and she gave me a withering look: “Please don’t do that,” she admonished, before ducking behind her assistant.

And so ended my brief career as a stalkerazzo. I felt awful. I didn’t mean to harsh anybody’s Seattle buzz. I scurried away like a cockroach.

But, dear Padma, just know that the city loves you and the Top Chef crew. We’re just so darned excited you’re here, we want to give y’all a big group hug. Maybe later? No, I didn’t think so.

Anybody who’s ever had any kind of experience with show biz should know that nobody from Top Chef is going to give an official “howdy do, we’re here and we’re loving it” while filming. Otherwise, they’d have to deal with stalkers like me showing up, possibly disrupting a tight production schedule.

So, can we please quit pestering these people and let them do their jobs and trust that Seattle will look swell when it hits the small screen?

Now, to help cope with Top Chef stalking withdrawl, I suggest you get busy and go see a true blue tiptop chef when she rolls into Seatown in a few weeks. April Bloomfield is the real deal, running the spectacular stable of New York City restaurants: Spotted Pig, The Breslin and John Dory. (I’ve been to all three and LOVE them all very much.) April’s collaborating on a dinner with Matt Dillon and Emily Crawford at Corson Building on July 20. Make a rezzie! Or, go buy chef April’s new book A Girl And Her Pig and hear her talk that afternoon at Book Larder.