Today I got a top-secret tour of Top Chef: Charleston’s set, and I can’t tell you a damn thing about it. Due to the nature of the show, spoilers are frowned upon and I can respect that. What I can tell you is a bit about my brief conversation with Top Chef host and model, Padma Lakshmi.

In between takes, I caught up with Padma who has now been in Charleston for 10 days. You might think that means she’s been hitting up all the sites since her arrival, but not so. Lakshmi’s Top Chef sched is grueling with her being the one person on the show who tastes every dish.

Luckily, she has a day off coming up, and she plans to take full advantage of Charleston. “Matt and Ted Lee, who are good friends, have given me a book they wrote on Charleston, so I’m sufficiently prepped,” she says. 

Lakshmi already got a little taste of our local seafood. Last night she attended Gail Simmons’ 40th birthday party held at Shem Creek institution, The Wreck. 

In her off hours, Lakshmi plans to spend some time showing her six-year-old daughter around. “I might visit some antique stores too,” she says.