Restaurant News & Reviews

‘Top Chef’ host Padma Lakshmi discusses ‘love, loss,’ and spice (literally) at Miami Book Fair

Padma Lakshmi, host of “Top Chef,” will be in conversatiion about her books and life Saturday at 3:30 p.m. at the Miami Book Fair.
Padma Lakshmi, host of “Top Chef,” will be in conversatiion about her books and life Saturday at 3:30 p.m. at the Miami Book Fair. Inez Vinoodh

Padma Lakshmi’s having a busy year.

The “Top Chef” host isn’t just presenting one book Saturday afternoon at the Miami Book Fair but two. Her latest is a straightforward reference book, “The Encyclopedia of Spices & Herbs.” It’s what she called a “deep dive” into the spice world to create a vital reference book for home cooks and chefs alike.

The other, which crossed over from the food sections into the People magazine pages, was her intimate and honest memoir, “Love, Loss and What We Ate,” a book that delves into her marriage to (and ultimate divorce from) author Salmad Rushdie.

The books served disparate purposes. One, the memoir, was “a relief,” she says, a venting of emotions that allowed her to flex her writing muscle. The other, the spice catalog, a massive research project that forced her to think about writing in a “scholarly way,” she said.

“One was hard in an emotional way. The other ... was a deep dive. It was a cool way to learn,” Lakshmi said in a telephone interview. “With the memoir, it was the hardest thing I’d ever had to do.”

They should make for ample and interesting fodder in her conversation with author Ben Greenman, whose discussion with musician Questlove was among the best events at the 2014 book fair.

Carlos Frías: 305-376-4624, @Carlos_Frias

If You Go

What: Delicious Dish: Padma Lakshmi and Ben Greenman in conversation

When: Saturday, 3:30 p.m.

Where: Kitchen Stadium, 300 NE 2nd Ave., Miami

More info: The event is free. For a full schedule, visit MiamiBookFair.com

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