Padma Lakshmi

Snow may have blanketed the country this winter, but the sight of Padma Lakshmi in a bikini could be hot enough to melt even the thickest ice. TV Guide Magazine reports exclusively that the Top Chef host recently traded bone-chilling Manhattan for the balmy Bahamas to film the four-part All-Stars finale, which Bravo will begin airing in March.

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Fellow judge Gail Simmons' first reaction upon hearing of the sun-soaked locale: "Thank God! I was like, 'It's perfect — whatever you want!'" Simmons joined Lakshmi, head judge Tom Colicchio and Top Chef's largest panel of finale guest judges ever — Wolfgang Puck, Morimoto, Michelle Bernstein, Hubert Keller, Eric Ripert, Lidia Bastianich, Curtis Stone, Alfred Portali, Art Smith and Lorena Garcia — for shooting at Nassau's luxurious Atlantis resort and casino on the aptly named Paradise Island.

Other Bahamas locations utilized for challenges include the 18th-century Fort Charlotte, local chefs' hangout the Fish Fry and a deserted island. "The setting gets the contestants excited because it takes them out of their element and gives them great ingredients," says Simmons. "One challenge had them literally cooking from what was around them in the environment." And yes, Lakshmi reveals one challenge while sporting a two-piece — the foodie equivalent of Princess Leia's gold bikini from The Empire Strikes Back.

Stay tuned to TV Guide Magazine for exclusive coverage of Top Chef's island getaway.

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