(NY Post Jan 2006) Padma Lakshmi, the ex-model married to Salman Rushdie and host of Bravo's Top Chef, isn't getting much respect from the show's contestants, five of whom hail from New York. Asked if he trusted Lakshmi's culinary taste, Ilan Hall, a line cook at Casa Mono, asked a Bravo flack, "Um, are we allowed to say disparaging things about Padma?" No. "She's beautiful," Hall offered. "Mostly, she just explained things, and she did a good job at that." Cliff Crooks, executive chef at Salute!, said, "Nothing she said really made a difference in my cooking." Sam Talbot, former executive chef at Punch, said, "Next question." He also noted that she seemed intent on stepping out of her famous husband's shadow. "She never wanted to talk about him. I remember a time she got a phone call and she yelled, 'You can ask me any question you want, but don't bring up my husband!'" And then there's the matter of her stomach-baring, kitchen-unfriendly attire. "Some of the things she wore, I wouldn't suggest anyone wear around a working kitchen," said Crooks. "Either she'd be a fire hazard or she'd get hurt." (8/06)
The 3-year marriage of author Salman Rushdie and TV's Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi has ended, according to his rep. "Salman Rushdie has agreed to divorce his wife, Padma Lakshmi, because of her desire to end their marriage," spokeswoman Jin Auh said in a statement issued to Reuters. "He asks that the media respect his privacy at this difficult time," the statement also said. In a statement from her rep, Lakshmi said she: "After an 8 year relationship including over 3 years of marriage, Lakshmi regrets that their mutual efforts failed to make the marriage work." Rushdie, 60, and Lakshmi, 36, were married
in New York City in April 2004. Among the 275 guests at the ceremony were comics Steve Martin and Robert Klein, as well as members of the international literary community. (11/06)
Salman Rushdie has amassed for himself a fair number of distinctions over the years, among them the Booker of Bookers prize, the Whitbread novel award (twice), the James Tait Black memorial prize, and a fatwa from the Ayatollah Khomeini calling for his immediate assassination. Two weeks ago, however, came the big one: a knighthood recognising the services to literature of one of the world's most lauded - and most divisive - literary grandees. "I am thrilled and humbled to receive this great honour, and am very grateful that my work has been recognised in this way," the newly-minted Sir Salman said in a statement.
Alone, the way she wanted it because last week she asked for and will recieve a divorce, but now with a title, when the couple's divorce becomes final, she will properly be known, socially, as Padma, Lady Rushdie, the style granted to a divorcée.
The nickname on the street for these two was Beauty and the Beast. She loved the camera, he wasn't a fan. I have to confess, when I first saw Salman Rushdie, I was impressed as I had attempted to read the Santanic Verses once, just to see what the hoopla was all about. I mean here is an author who wrote something that incited a country to put a bounty on his head. Then for about 20 years he hid in obscurity, now I get to see him all over NYC with his beautiful wife. It was surreal, and of course I thought, how serious was the bounty, the guy is everywhere. Guess Iran just wanted the publicity or something. It's all about the publicity and getting press.