Padma Lakshmi: 'I Date Less as a Single Mom'

"It's harder to meet the right person," Lakshmi says of her romantic life

Photo: D Dipasupil/FilmMagic

With a busy career and a young daughter, romance is taking a backseat for Padma Lakshmi.

“I date a lot less as a single mom – I’ll tell you that!” the Top Chef host told reporters Tuesday at the Elton John AIDS Foundation‘s 13th Annual Enduring Vision Benefit in New York City. “I just don’t have time.”

The Bravo star – who was recently romantically linked to Richard Gere – added that she’s cautious in her love life because of her daughter Krishna Thea, 4.

“As you get older, I think it’s harder to meet the right person,” she said. “You just want to be careful because you have a family.”

The famous foodie and her daughter are focusing on Halloween at the moment. As far as a costume, “It changes every week,” Lakshmi, 44, told PEOPLE, adding that Wonder Woman is still in the running.

Regarding the sweet holiday’s treats, this mom said she’s okay with her daughter indulging – in moderation.

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“I let her keep it,” Lakshmi said of Halloween candy. “It’s once a year, so I let her gorge herself, and then she’ll feel like, ‘Okay, I’ve had enough.’ Usually when I do that, it’s better than saying, ‘No, you can’t have it.’ ”

Lakshmi said she was excited to support the EJAF, which funds HIV/AIDS prevention programs and treatment.

“There’s still so much to be done with AIDS, and [Elton] has really been such an early supporter and a consistent supporter,” she told PEOPLE. “It’s a joy to help in any way.”

John added that another of the organization’s major concerns is fighting stigma surrounding HIV-positive people.

“The biggest challenge we’ve faced is still the stigma. Thirty years, almost, people have had great medicines to take and are still afraid to come out and say they’re HIV-positive,” he told reporters. “We can end this.”

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