American author, activist, actress, model, philanthropist, and television host – PADMA LAKSHMI – and Now a Product Investor and Spokesperson
By Sheldon Baker
One such exhibitor, who didn’t make the previous issue was, DAH, the maker of India-inspired drinkable yogurts. When a company has a celebrity spokesperson, that usually grabs my attention. Padma Lakshmi is known for hosting widely
acclaimed cooking shows, and has published six books, including two cookbooks, Easy Exotic and Tangy, Tart, Hot & Sweet; and an encyclopedia, The Encyclopedia of Spices & Herbs: An Essential Guide to the Flavors of the World. In addition to her food-related ventures, Lakshmi began a modeling career at age 21, when a modeling agent discovered Lakshmi while she studied abroad in Madrid. She has said, "I was the first Indian model to have a career in Paris, Milan, and New York. I'm the first one to admit that I was a novelty." She has modeled for numerous leading fashion designers and appeared on the covers of magazines around the world. Lakshmi and her PR people allowed me to have a few minutes at Expo West to learn about DAH products and how her relationship with the line of yogurts came about...
NaturAlley: How did you get involved with this product?
Ms. Lakshmi: The founders sent me lassi DAH samples of this product and I just put it in my fridge as it’s perishable. When I finally tried it, I really liked it. Even more importantly, my daughter and other family members tried and loved it, and they kept going back for more. That really made an impression on me. Since they were going back for more, I thought it must have a lot of sugar. It was then I closely read the ingredient label and frankly was expecting to find a lot of sugar. But it didn’t. Since I have become an investor and board advisor in the company.

NaturAlley: How much sugar?

Ms. Lakshmi: It has 50 percent less sugar than the other drinkable yogurts on the market. It’s also less chalky and cheaper. It is healthy and delicious. It’s loaded with probiotics that you get with every serving. And we have a proprietary live strain of probiotics from India that helps optimize all the probiotics in it. A live strain is much healthier and more powerful than a powder strain. Overall, it’s just delicious.

NaturAlley: The product can be used for cooking too?

Ms. Lakshmi: I use the plain in my cooking and to make the India dish, raita. I also substitute heavy cream with plain lassi for making chicken tikka masala. Another way it’s much healthier. Vanilla and cardamon are also good additions to the recipes. I just love mango lassi. We drink that all the time now.
NaturAlley: Being Indian, you’re familiar with lassi. Did you drink it in your younger

Ms. Lakshmi: Yes. I was born in India and still have a home in South India. Like most middle-class Indian homes, we made yogurt every day. It’s a multi-thousand-year tradition in India, and 1.3 billion Indians can’t be wrong. At least
that’s what I say.

NaturAlley: Your mother was a nurse and you had health issues growing up. Getting behind a healthy product like this must have really captured your attention.

Ms. Lakshmi: It’s a big deal for me. I’ve never been a part of something like this. If you look at my track record, you’ll see I don’t usually endorse products. That’s on purpose. I see myself as the advocate for the average cook at home and parents wanting to feed their family in a healthy and delicious way.

NaturAlley: As a DAH brand partner and product spokesperson will you be doing promotional tours?

Ms. Lakshmi: Some travel, but mostly I meet with product buyers via Zoom. I like to visit retail sites to see how stores are showcasing the products and chat with salespeople to learn how their customers are reacting to the product. It’s a great source of information.

NaturAlley: How’s your cooking shows doing?

Ms. Lakshmi: I’m leaving Top Chef even though it has been so successful, to spend more time on Taste the Nation, another show I created, produced, wrote, and star in and airs on Hulu. It’s about going to different immigrant communities and learning about foods and culture through their voices.