portrait of padma lakshmi
Credit: James Macari

Padma Lakshmi, TV Host and Food Expert, Shares Her 20 Daily Essentials

This media personality's must-haves include her favorite books, beauty products, and more.
Each product we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our editorial team. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.

Beauty and fashion were Lakshmi's bread and butter when she was a model in the 1990s, a career she embarked on to pay off her college loans. But food—real food—was her first love. A native of Chennai, India, who moved to the U.S. at age 4, she started collecting cookbooks in her teens, and spent her free time in the kitchen during her modeling days.

She's since served as producer and host of Bravo's Top Chef, now in its 19th season, written five books, and created Taste the Nation, her documentary series for Hulu that explores America's rich culinary culture (she's 14 episodes in, with a new season due out this fall). With all that, as well as raising her 12-year-old daughter, Krishna, who is also her trusty TikTok collaborator, Lakshmi doesn't have a lot of time for primping. "My style mantra these days is, 'Hurry up, it doesn't matter,'" she says.

Fittingly, the accessory she's most known for is her aviator frames, which have brought comparisons to Gloria Steinem's style in the 1970s—a high compliment. "I remind myself that it doesn't matter what you wear, but what you do, say, and write," she says. "At this point in my life, I'm more concerned about being productive than achieving a look."

Shop Padma Lakshmi's Everyday Essentials:

neroli oil
Credit: Courtesy of Neal's Yard Remedies

Neal's Yard Remedies Neroli Essential Oil

$37, us.nealsyardremedies.com

"I mix it with myrrh oil to make my own scent." 

zaatar oil
Credit: Courtesy of rue32

Rue32 Spicy Za'atar Oil

$16, rue32.com

"It's so good drizzled on avocado toast."

denim jumpsuit
Credit: Courtesy of Madewell

Madewell Denim Tie-Waist Jumpsuit

$158, madewell.com

"I believe there's a jumpsuit for every occasion. I can dress this up or down, or spend an afternoon cooking in it."

saint christopher medal
Credit: Courtesy of Macy's

Saint Christopher Medal in 14k Gold

$600, macys.com

"I never take it off."

bonnie slotnick cookbooks
Credit: Courtesy of Bonnie Slotnick Cookbooks

Bonnie Slotnick Cookbooks

bonnieslotnickcookbooks.com

"Her shop has such a diverse mix of vintage and first editions."

children's book tomatoes for neela
Credit: Courtesy of Indiebound

Tomatoes for Neela

$17.99, indiebound.org

"My daughter inspired my first children's book. It has my recipe for tomato chutney."

ray ban sunglasses
Credit: Courtesy of Ray Ban

Ray-Ban Classic Aviators

from $163, ray-ban.com

"I put my progressive lenses into these."

cheese
Credit: Courtesy of La Fromagerie Cheese Shop

Humboldt Fog Cheese

$14.99, lafromageriesf.com

"A tasty snack with blackberries or spicy condiments."

food book gastronomical me
Credit: Courtesy of Bookshop

"The Gastronomical Me" by M.F.K. Fisher

$16.74, bookshop.org

"Her prose is lyrical without being flowery."

casablanca lily

Casablanca Lilies

from $14.99, brecks.com

"I put them in simple glass vases throughout the house."

nail polish
Credit: Courtesy of OPI

OPI Nail Polish in Kyoto Pearl

$11, riteaid.com

"It's perfect with brown skin. I wear it on my toes."

lip balm
Credit: Courtesy of Jack Black

Jack Black Intense Therapy Lip Balm SPF 25

$8, getjackblack.com

"One of my staples. It smells great!"

leather traveling case
Credit: Courtesy of Cuyana

Cuyana Leather Travel-Case Set

$128, cuyana.com

"It is built to last."

masala chai
Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

Wagh Bakri Masala Chai

$7.99, amazon.com

"To unwind, I read the Sunday paper with a pot of this—my go-to, down-and-dirty chai."

soap bar
Credit: Courtesy of Target

Caress Daily Silk Beauty Bar

$7.79, target.com

"I've used it since I was four. The scent is comforting and clean."

dog hoodie security
Credit: Courtesy of Paw Supply

Supreme Paw Supply Security Dog Hoodie

from $25, supremepawsupply.com

"Our chihuahua, Divina, has an extensive hoodie collection. This is my favorite."

zester
Credit: Courtesy of sur la table

Microplane 12-Inch Zester

$15.95, surlatable.com

"There's nothing like a light snow of lemon zest or dark chocolate over ice cream."

album d'angelo brown sugar
Credit: Courtesy of Barnes & Noble

"Brown Sugar" by D'Angelo

$17, barnesandnoble.com

"I'll play this before guests arrive. It puts you in a vibe."

christine chin hydrating toner
Credit: Courtesy of Christine Chin

Christine Chin Hydrating Toner

$32, christinechin.com

"I started getting facials from Christine in my 30s."

brightening serum
Credit: Courtesy of Christine Chin

Christine Chin Cell Gold Face Brightening Serum

$89, christinechin.com

"Christine's never steered me wrong."