Kish also revealed she has "severe social anxiety" during an interview with 'The New York Times'
“I know my job is to simply be me,” she told the outlet while on set of the show, which is filming in Milwaukee. “But I feel like I am not going to be impressive enough to hold my own space and follow in Padma’s footsteps.”
While Lakshmi, who announced her departure in June after 17 years and 19 seasons, was a staple on the show for so long, Kish is also a fan favorite. She won Top Chef season 10 in Seattle and has frequently appeared on later seasons as a guest judge, becoming a staple personality in the cooking competition show.
“I have severe social anxiety and I’m on television, which is wild,” she told NYT. “I know I’m a walking contradiction.”
NYT reports that Kish thought she might throw up before filming her first day. But clearly she pulled it together. The first time she said Lakshmi’s signature line, “Please pack your knives and go,” while filming the new season, the crew cheered, per the outlet.
Ryan Flynn, a senior vice president at NBCUniversal, told NYT that the network didn’t interview any other candidates – Kish was a shoo-in.
When news of Kish’s new role broke, she shared her gratitude in a statement.
“Top Chef is where I started my journey – first as a competing chef, then a guest judge and now as host I have the honor of helping to continue to build this brand,” Kish said. “I’m thrilled to sit alongside Gail and Tom as we get to know new incredible chefs and see what they cook up. It feels like coming home."
Shortly after the announcement, Lakshmi sent her well wishes.
"I’m so proud of you @KristenLKish and am over the moon that you’ll be taking over for me on Top Chef!!! I’ll be rooting for you and our whole crew next season. Congratulations!!!" she wrote on Instagram.
Lakshmi continued to pass the torch with grace in the form of flowers sent to Kish's dressing room. “Break a leg," the accompanying note read, according to NYT. "I’m so proud of you kiddo!”
Lakshmi’s last season saw cheftestants compete in London. Buddha Lo was crowned the first-ever Top Chef World All-Star.
When Lakshmi announced her departure from the show in June, she said she wanted to focus on other projects.
“I feel it’s time to move on and make space for Taste the Nation, my books and other creative pursuits," she said of her award-winning Hulu series.
Later in June, Lakshmi spoke with PEOPLE about the difficult decision to leave.
Overall, she said that she has “such deep feelings about” leaving — so many, in fact, that she said, “it’s too hard to go into it all.”
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Read the original article on People.