Padma Lakshmi’s new television program

Former model and Top Chef co-host Padma Lakshmi is no stranger to the camera, but on her new Hulu show Taste the Nation, she is front and center in a different way. We first learned about the show last year, and recently Soleil Ho and Justin Phillips interviewed Lakshmi about the the program (subscription required to read the article), which she hopes will broaden the definition of “American food.” You can also read more about Taste the Nation at Vulture.

In the Vulture article, Bianca Gracie says that that the show immerses itself in “stories of immigrants’ journey to this country and how they preserved their culture through traditional dishes that are now upheld by younger generations.” Too often the story of American cuisine is told through the lens of the European settlers and the contributions made by both immigrants and slaves to the national palate are glossed over or ignored.

In Taste the Nation, Lakshmi hopes to shine a light on these overlooked contributions and how the foods and flavors that immigrants brought with them to the United States was often diluted and had to be “filtered” through the predominantly white culture before it was accepted. Unlike other travel shows where the story teller is somewhat removed from the stories they are narrating, Lakshmi’s own immigration story parallels the experience of the people featured in the new show. The first ten-episode season of Taste the Nation is streaming now on Hulu.

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