Colicchio did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Officials at NBCUniversal and Magical Elves, the production company for “Top Chef,” praised and thanked Lakshmi in statements which suggested that they planned to continue the program. “We will miss her on set at the judges’ table and as an executive producer, but we will remain forever grateful for her unwavering dedication to connecting with our cheftestants and Bravo’s viewers alike,” Casey Kriley and Jo Sharon, the co-chief executives of Magical Elves, said in a statement.
Lakshmi, 52, an Indian-born model, author and activist, has been praised for imbuing the reality show with grace and humor, becoming the undeniable face of the franchise.
Also last month, she was featured in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue, posing in a gold-coin bikini. “This is me,” she wrote alongside a video of the photo shoot that she’d posted on Instagram. “I wouldn’t go back to my 20s if you paid me all the money in the world.”
Her first cookbook, “Easy Exotic,” was published in 1999. Since then, she has released several other books, including “Tangy, Tart, Hot & Sweet”; a memoir, “Love, Loss and What We Ate”; a reference guide called “The Encyclopedia of Spices and Herbs”; and a children’s book, “Tomatoes for Neela.”
Brett Anderson contributed reporting.