Padma Lakshmi, international model, actress and host of Bravo TV’s “Top Chef,” talks food, life and her latest cookbook Tangy Tart Hot & Sweet.  

WhyTangy Tart Hot and Sweet?
I think the title encompasses all the flavors that I love to eat and all the flavors in the book.

Who/what inspired your recipes?
A lot of them were just from food memories, things I remembered tasting and loving. Some of them just came about by daydreaming about recipes and what I wanted to eat. I would take long leisurely strolls through gourmet markets and ethnic food stores, and think, “okay what can I do with this?”

Do you have a favorite recipe in the book?
I really like the flautas because they’re vegetarian so everyone can eat them, and they’re yummy with the mint dipping sauce, which is also really tangy and spicy and really fresh tasting.

What did you eat last night?
Actually it’s an interesting story. I came back from L.A. and my friend was staying with me and she said “I just wanted to surprise you” so she cooked a fish curry with coconut milk, and it was yummy. She couldn’t find my recipe, but she saw me make it once. It came out great.

What do you enjoy most: modeling, acting, cooking or hosting?
I kind of look at it as project by project. This book was very fulfilling; it was a lot of hard work. You don’t realize what work goes into a cookbook, between the recipes and the photography. Also, my book has so much memoir in it. Whether it’s acting, or taking photographs for a magazine with a very creative photographer, it is all equally rewarding. I’ve been very lucky because I’ve been able to make a living doing all the things that really interest me.