Padma Lakshmi is serving up a bittersweet announcement.
"After much soul searching, I have made the difficult decision to leave Top Chef," she wrote in a statement posted to her social media pages June 2. "Having completed a glorious 20th season as host and exec producer, I am extremely proud to have been a part of building such a successful show and of the impact it has had in the worlds of television and food."
As Padma noted, after nearly two decades with the Top Chef team, they've become her family. "And I will miss working alongside them dearly," she continued. "I feel it's time to move on and need to make space for Taste The Nation, my books and other creative pursuits."
"I am deeply thankful to all of you," she concluded, "for so many years of love and support."
Padma's announcement comes as Top Chef is currently airing its 20th season, World All-Stars, which is set in London. While the season finale is just days away on June 8, Top Chef has already been renewed for another season. However, a new host has yet to be announced following Padma's decision to exit the series.
"Padma Lakshmi leaves behind an incredible legacy on Bravo's Top Chef," a spokesperson for NBCUniversal said in a June 2 statement. "Her impact on the Emmy, James Beard, and Critics' Choice Award-winning series is undeniable. We are grateful to Padma for being a consummate host, judge, and executive producer, and for bringing her ingenuity and exceptional palate to each episode where she ate every bite of food on the series for over 17 years and 19 seasons. She will always be part of the Top Chef and the NBCUniversal family and has a seat at the judges' table anytime."
(E! and Bravo are both part of the NBCUniversal family.)