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Padma Lakshmi shares emotional message before her final Top Chef episode: 'I will still be here'

The Taste the Nation host announced her departure from the Bravo cooking competition after 17 years last week

TOP CHEF -- Season:18 -- Pictured: Padma Lakshmi
Ahad Sanwari
Ahad SanwariOnline News WriterNew York
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Padma Lakshmi left her fans in another round of tears when she shared an emotional message ahead of her final appearance on Top Chef tonight.

The author and producer, 52, shared a video clip of herself getting ready for the season finale of Top Chef: World All Stars, the show's milestone 20th season.

Interspersed with clips from the two-part final episodes, filmed in Paris, Padma spoke to the camera about her excitement for the final round between the top three chefs.

In her tear-jerker of a message alongside the clip, she wrote: "What a ride. Tonight is the finale of season 20, but for yours truly it will also be the final finale of my tenure on Top Chef

"I want to thank everyone who has reached out to me this week and expressed so much love. It's humbling and I'm honored by every handshake, hug, selfie and compliment I accept on behalf of not just me but my whole crew."

MORE: Padma Lakshmi reveals unexpected truth behind instantly-viral Sports Illustrated bikini photo shoot

She continued: "I cannot express how sad but also triumphant this moment is for me. Truth be told I'm still processing it all. And it's surreal. All your comments and messages online, in articles and on social, have buoyed me and lifted me up from some very anxious and melancholy moments these last few days. 

Padma Lakshmi on set of Top Chef© Bravo
Padma hosted the show for 17 years

"It has meant the world to me to hear from each and everyone of you. To all the Top Chef contestants far and wide: please know I am always rooting for you from my corner of the world."

Padma emotionally concluded with: "I will still be here for you long after Top Chef is gone, just as I have been after each of your seasons has ended. I may be gone from the show but I'll always be here to mother you. Time's up! Hands up, never put your utensils down."

MORE: Top Chef's Padma Lakshmi looks gorgeous in sheer thigh-split gown you need to see

The celebrated host and former model joined the show as the host and executive producer in 2006, taking over from season one host Katie Lee. She presided over the panel alongside Tom Colicchio and Gail Simmons and a rotating roster of all-star chefs.

Tom Colicchio, Padma Lakshmi, Gail Simmons and Matt Brennan attend the NBCU FYC House "Top Chef" carpet at NBCU FYC House on May 21, 2022 in Los Angeles, California© Getty Images
She presided over the panel alongside Tom Colicchio and Gail Simmons

On June 2, she took to Instagram to deliver the bombshell news that she would be leaving the Top Chef family after 17 years and 20 seasons as their leading lady.

MORE: Top Chef star Padma Lakshmi's famous ex-husband revealed

"After much soul searching, I have made the difficult decision to leave Top Chef," she stated. "Having completed a glorious 20th season as host and executive producer, I am extremely proud to have been part of building such a successful show and of the impact it has had in the worlds of television and food." 

Padma Lakshmi attends a special screening of "Taste The Nation" Season Two, hosted by Glossier, Cherry Bombe, and The Cinema Society, at Crosby Street Hotel on May 05, 2023 in New York City© Getty Images
Padma will devote more time to her own series, Taste the Nation

She emphasized that she would be using her time off the show to focus more on her personal endeavors, most notably her award-winning Hulu series, Taste the Nation.

MORE: Top Chef's Padma Lakshmi's lookalike teen daughter is following in famous mom's footsteps

Padma explained of her decision: "I feel it's time to move on and make space for Taste the Nation, my books, and other pursuits," she added of her Hulu food culture series, now in its second season. 

WATCH: The teaser for the second season of Padma Lakshmi's "Taste the Nation"

"I am deeply thankful to all of you for so many years of love and support. Sincerely, Padma."

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