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Mar 28, 2023

Padma Lakshmi, the host of Emmy-winning TV reality competition “Top Chef” and creator of the critically acclaimed Hulu series “Taste the Nation,” is one of the most recognizable and respected figures in food media. Although she wields considerable influence, Lakshmi rarely endorses products and seldom partners with consumer brands.

An exception is her investment in Dah!, which markets a line of traditional Indian yogurt smoothies known as lassi. Lakshmi joined the company as a board advisor and brand partner in 2021 and has played a key role in Dah!’s marketing and education strategy. She is often featured in the brand’s social media accounts, highlighting lassi’s versatility, flavor and nutritional benefits. 

Her role as an ambassador and face of Dah! was on full display at Expo West 2023, where we spoke with Lakshmi about her approach to building interest and awareness for lassi, how the beverage aligns with her advocacy for ethnic cuisine and her criteria for investing in consumer brands.

This episode also features an interview with Sandro Roco, the founder and CEO of fast-growing Asian-inspired sparkling water brand Sanzo, one that continues upon a new series for Taste Radio in which entrepreneurs share lessons learned along their respective journeys. 

Show notes:

0:55: Interview: Padma Lakshmi, Investor, Dah! – Lakshmi spoke with Taste Radio editor Ray Latif about her first Expo West experience before discussing her involvement with Dah!, why she doesn’t make a distinction between delicious and better-for-you and how and when she typically consumes lassi. She also explained why she doesn't feel like she “promotes” the brand, how she supports retail efforts, what she describes as “most exciting aspect of the food business” and why she is generally skeptical about celebrity endorsements of consumer products.

15:54: Interview: Sandro Roco, Founder & CEO, SanzoOne year after our first interview with Roco, we followed up with Sanzo's founder for a discussion about what he’s learned regarding leadership, forecasting demand, raising growth capital, testing new products and working with mass retailers like Target.

Brands in this episode: Dah!, Sanzo