Padma Lakshmi on Being a Mom to Teen Daughter Krishna (Exclusive)

Padma Lakshmi is finding the balance between having her teen daughter Krishna in the public eye and being a protective mom.

PEOPLE caught up with the former Top Chef host and cookbook author, 53, at the Gold Gala in Los Angeles on Saturday, May 11, where she was honored as a Gold Legend for her contributions to the entertainment and culinary arts. She also served as the gala’s culinary co-director with restaurateur Roni Mazumdar

Since leaving the Bravo cooking competition after an impressive 17-year run, Lakshmi has delved into other pursuits, including stand-up comedy and social media.

It’s on TikTok and Instagram where Padma has been easing Krisha, 14, into the public spotlight. Their conversations — filmed on the family couch or in the kitchen — range from decoding teenage slang to the viral generation challenge.

“I think any parent will be able to identify with what we’re doing,” Lakshmi told PEOPLE exclusively at the Gold Gala.

“It wasn’t some conscious thing. We were just sitting on the couch talking like, ‘Oh that’s funny. This is funny,'” she explained. “And so I just said, ‘Let’s tape it,’ and we just chopped it up. It’s just an experiment. It’s fun to watch your children grow and become who they’re going to be.”

Lakshmi admitted she is sometimes surprised by Krishna’s candid answers.

“She has so many opinions,” she said. “I don’t think she’s unlike most teenagers; she may be a little more precocious, perhaps.”

Padma Lakshmi and her daughter Krishna at the 75th Emmy Awards on January 15, 2024.


Lakshmi added that while Krishna makes appearances on her social media account, her daughter doesn’t have one of her own. “She’s not on social media, at least that I know of, otherwise she’ll be in trouble,” she said.

“I’m strict about some things and I’m not that strict about other things that I probably should be stricter about like bedtime [as] she’s 14,” Lakshmi admitted.

“But I was very strict was about making sure she ate a very good diet the first four, five years of her life, and I will not abide by her being disrespectful to adults,” she continued. “She’s not [disrespectful], but that’s where our Asian culture shows itself is in things like that — respecting our traditions like taking your shoes off before you come in the house, and calling elders uncle and auntie.”

Lakshmi previously told PEOPLE she “struggled” with how much exposure Krishna got.

While in recent years Krishna has joined her mom on the red carpet, including at the Primetime Emmy Awards in January and a screening for Lakshmi’s culinary show Taste the Nation last May, she had been largely out of the spotlight since birth.

Krisha’s father is Adam Dell, whom Lakshmi had an on- and off-again relationship with from 2009 to 2021. Lakshmi kept Krishna’s paternity private at first, and she found the media speculation around Krishna’s father “mortifying.”

“It certainly was icky when the press started snooping around in various countries — not just America, but in India, England, Australia,” she recalled on PEOPLE’s Me Becoming Mom podcast back in 2021.

Padma Lakshmi at the 3rd Annual Gold Gala on May 11, 2024.

Gregg DeGuire/Variety 

As Krishna grew older, she would make occasional public appearances, and eventually was featured in a Hanukkah episode of Taste the Nation, as Dell is Jewish.

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And while Krishna wasn’t on hand to see her mother get an award on Saturday, the two reunited for Mother’s Day after. “We’re going to have a very relaxed Mother’s Day at home and chill and hang out with her,” Lakshmi said of their plans.

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