Padma Lakshmi Celebrates Nurses Everywhere, Especially Her Mom

Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi posted on Instagram recently to honor nurses everywhere.

Padma Lakshmi
Padma Lakshmi | Jim Spellman/Getty Images

The historic era we’re living through is throwing into sharp relief the indispensable role that nurses, doctors, and all medical staff are playing in our current global pandemic.

The 49-year-old author and model has a special place in her heart for nurses, as she was raised by one.

Padma Lakshmi has been quarantine cooking with her daughter, Krishna

Like so many displaced TV chefs and cooks during the current global crisis, Lakshmi has been hunkering down with her ten-year-old daughter, Krishna, cooking and baking together and posting their results.

From chicken tagine to lasagna to meatballs, the mother and daughter have been conducting a cooking class of sorts on Instagram.

The mother of one has been prepping for sheltering in place for quite some time, telling Today in Mar. 2020, “. . . [I]f you want to prepare to be home and not buy things, you know, you can not only freeze stuff but just buy frozen vegetables, because frozen is better than canned and they usually flash freeze vegetables so they retain most of their vitamins.”

Padma Lakshmi was raised by a nurse

Lakshmi’s mother had been raising the future television host in India, until she realized that if she wanted to give her daughter greater future opportunities, she would need to leave, as it would be almost impossible for her to earn a nursing license in her country at the time.

She left Lakshmi, two years old at the time, with her parents while she relocated to the United States. It would be another two years before she would join her mother. She recalled her mother’s years as a nurse at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City.

“My mother worked days as a nurse at Sloan Kettering and studied for a master’s degree at night,” Lakshmi wrote in her 2016 memoir, Love, Loss, and What We Ate, “all the while helping to support a household of [her new husband’s] in-laws. . .I don’t know how she afforded to live in the city on her nurse’s salary and do all the things we miraculously did.”

The host of the upcoming Hulu show, Taste the Nation, now sees most clearly as a mother herself, how much her own mother gave of herself for Lakshmi’s sake.

“. . . as an adult, I came to understand that this was who she was as a person, not just as a mother. It was so much a part of her that she chose a career devoted to the service of others.”

Her message to all nurses

Lakshmi shared on Instagram a heartfelt message to all nurses. It’s especially relevant considering how familiar she is with the hard work medical staff perform on a regular basis.

In our current situation, their jobs are nothing short of heroic, as she posted.

View this post on Instagram

My mom is a registered nurse who came to this country in the 1970s. America had a shortage of qualified health professionals at that time and she wanted a new life for us here. So both parties got something out of the bargain. Many nurses to this day are immigrants from all over the world. ⁣ ⁣ Growing up with a mom who is a nurse had its ups and downs. I had to be delirious with fever or vomiting blood for her to let me stay home from school. I had to share her with cancer patients in the 70s, AIDS patients in the 80s, and mental health patients after that. But when I did get seriously ill, she was right there 24/7 and knew exactly what to do better than anyone else in the hospital. She has dedicated herself to the care and well-being of others for almost 50 years. In a way, nurses are very much like good moms are supposed to be. They care for you, check on you, comfort you, and clean you up even when you are unkind and ungrateful in return. ⁣ ⁣ To be a nurse is not only to have a career, but to answer a calling. You have to be a people person. And very patient. Because they’re the ones who do the grunt work in healthcare, and you’ll be seeing their faces a lot more in the course of your hospital stay than anyone else’s.⁣ ⁣ Today as our world is being devastated by this virus, I want to salute my mother (now retired) and all the nurses who selflessly put their health and sanity on the line for the well-being of others daily. ⁣ Nurses are our first line of defense in any health care issue and we don’t often give them the credit (or pay) they deserve. Doing their job well means they don’t see wealth or religion or color when you arrive at the hospital. What they see is a person in need and then endeavor to meet those needs and return you healthy to the outside world. In many hospitals today across the world, nurses (like doctors) are weeping from fatigue, a lack of equipment and safety gear, and a constant fear of bringing the disease home to their own families at night.⁣ ⁣ Dear Nurses-We see you, we feel for you and most of all we want you to know that our gratitude is too big to put into words. Oh, and thanks Amma. Your patients were lucky to have you.

A post shared by Padma Lakshmi (@padmalakshmi) on

“My mom is a registered nurse who came to this country in the 1970s,” she posted. “. . .Growing up with a mom who is a nurse had its ups and downs. I had to be delirious with fever or vomiting blood for her to let me stay home from school. . .” ⁣

“. . . Today as our world is being devastated by this virus, I want to salute my mother (now retired) and all the nurses who selflessly put their health and sanity on the line for the well-being of others daily.”

“Nurses are our first line of defense in any health care issue and we don’t often give them the credit (or pay) they deserve. . . “

Her post was eloquent in its gratitude and appreciation.

“Dear Nurses,” she concluded, “We see you, we feel for you and most of all we want you to know that our gratitude is too big to put into words. Oh, and thanks Amma. Your patients were lucky to have you.”

Read more: ‘Top Chef’: Some of Padma Lakshmi’s Absolute Favorite Eats