The name "
Padma" was like a prayer on the lips of Miamians
during the weekend of the Miami Book Fair International. She was in Miami
for one night and one day to promote her new cookbook,
Tangy Tart Hot & Sweet.
"Padma is coming for dinner tomorrow night" said the general
manager of the Raleigh Hotel restaurant when I went there for
"Padma is having a book party and they’re making the boiled
peanuts recipe from her book."
"Did you hear? Padma's coming."
Padma. Her name easily falls off the tongue and with it an
immediate association to her long flowing brown hair, her
sylph-like frame, and her honey-coated voice that dispenses Top Chef contestants with a swift "Pack your knives and go."
Top Chef is the wildly popular chef reality
series on Bravo that she co-hosts. The departed never seem to
mind that much she gave them the axe: male contestants crush on
her and female contestants can't bring themselves to hate
Being neither a chef nor
Top Chef contestant, I didn't know what to expect
from this media sensation. I had just received her book a few
days before we were scheduled to meet and one evening, at my
hotel's grill on the bay, by candlelight, I poured through the
glossy pages of Tangy Tart Hot & Sweet.
Laced with vignettes of an international childhood and intimate
memories of a life in food . . .