Padma gains 12 to 15 pounds during Top Chef’s season, which tapes in 20 days

Top Chef 4 concludes tonight at 10 p.m. ET, and has its best odds yet of selecting its first female winner. Richard Blais, Lisa Fernandes, and Stephanie Izard remain in the competition, the first time two women have been in the finale.

One frequently-asked question about the series is how long it takes to film or what its shooting schedule is. Presumably, it’s produced in about a month, like Project Runway, but there’s essentially been no official confirmation of its schedule. In a Q&A, however, Tom Colicchio tells Salon that it take less than a month. Having a conversation with an idiot journalist, Tom says, “I asked him, ‘How long do you think it takes me to do a season?’ He said, ‘Well, 200 days.’ And I was like, ‘200 days? Try 20!'”

In the interview, he also said he “get[s] a kick out of” being known as “an honorary bear,” but he says he’s much more sensitive about the fat part than the hairy or gay part. “I took it as someone saying, ‘You need to lose weight.’ I started running after that,” Tom said.

Speaking of weight, in those 20 days of production, Padma Lakshmi, the show’s host since season two, gains “an average of 12 to 15 pounds a season.” That’s as a result of judging the contestants’ dishes, and “[h]er wardrobe, therefore, comes in two sizes,” the Los Angeles Times reports.

In its profile of her, she also admits to signing on as host to promote her cookbook Tangy Tart Hot & Sweet. She’s now using Top Chef as a springboard to get her own show, “developing a cooking and entertaining show” that will watch as “[a] group of fun, eclectic people come over to her house for a dinner party; we watch her prep, get ready and cook; guests arrive and eat; maybe someone plays music,” according to the paper.

“Top Chef’s” top dog [Salon]
Padma Lakshmi: The anti-Martha Stewart [Los Angeles Times]

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.