Lakshmi gets real with EW and PEOPLE editorial Jess Cagle during the latest Jess Cagle Interview
Padma Lakshmi isn’t afraid to speak her mind. She does that in her new memoir, Love, Loss, And What We Ate, and in a wide-ranging interview with Entertainment Weekly and PEOPLE editorial director Jess Cagle.
Speaking to Cagle as part of the Jess Cagle Interview series, Lakshmi opened up about her health (she was diagnosed with endometriosis at age 36), her past relationships (including the complications that followed her 2009 pregnancy), and the sexual abuse she faced as a young child.
“It was the catalyst for my mother’s divorce, it was catalyst for me going to India, it was the catalyst for me being less open about my body and the world,” she said of the abuse. “It was a loss of innocence in a way. What happened to me was not even that bad compared to what happens to many young girls and boys. But it was something that happened. I didn’t want to dwell on it.”
Laksmhi, who rose to fame as host of Top Chef, also talked about food. “I’m the only person on Top Chef who consumes every single thing that’s made,” she said, before revealing her secret for handling that much food: a drink called “Cranberry Draino.”
“When I’m working on Top Chef, often I’m consuming thousands of calories a day,” she said. “And I’m doing this every day, for weeks on end. And so, you feel just drunk and full of food.”
The recipe for “Cranberry Draino,” which is included in the new memoir, includes pure unsweetened cranberry juice, green tea brewed with honey, fiber powder, a vitamin C packet and water.
“It all gets stirred up and handed to me two or three times a day before I go on set or right after I come off set to keep the pipes clean,” she said.
Watch the full interview above.