New York: 'Top Chef' judge and model Padma Lakshmi is reportedly dating long time friend and hotelier Vikram Chatwal.

The duo has set the rumour mills spinning after they were spotted keeping close company during the holidays.

The 42-year-old cookbook author and Chatwal, whose properties include the Dream Hotels, were first seen in courtside seats together at MSG for the Knicks/Nets game in December, a daily reported.

Lakshmi and Chatwal were also said to be "inseparable" at the Dream's New Year's Eve Bash and were spotted boarding a private plane in LA this week.

According to sources, Chatwal, who has separated from model wife Priya Sachdev, and Lakshmi have been close friends for years. Lakshmi was previously married to author Salman Rushdie.

(Agencies)

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