November 13, 2014 09:00 AM

Cindy Ord/Getty

Padma Lakshmi‘s daughter Krishna is a huge Frozen fan — but you’ll never catch her dressed up as Elsa or Anna.

“She has an Elsa wig but she doesn’t have the costumes,” the Top Chef host told PEOPLE Tuesday at the opening night of Disney on Ice presents Frozen at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

“I’m not big on merch,” Lakshmi, 44, explains.”I’m just not into her being a walking billboard for anything. So I try not to buy a lot of that stuff.”

One thing she doesn’t think twice about purchasing for her 4-year-old? A hearty stack of stories. “I’m happy to buy books,” she says. “I’ll buy all the books she wants.”

And although Disney duds aren’t a part of her costume collection, Krishna still has plenty of fun ensembles for playtime.

“She does have a lot of dress up outfits we keep in a box she can use to dress up — but I’m not a big fan of swag,” Lakshmi says.

“I want her to have toys that are going to help her build something or create something. She loves blocks. I’m happy for her to do that.”

She’s not into damsel in distress stories, either. “Those princess stories where the girl sits around waiting for a prince to come to kiss her … they don’t really do anything,” Lakshmi explains to reporters. “But [Frozen] I can really get behind. I like that an act of true love is a familial love or a sibling love.”

When it comes to motherly love, Lakshmi admits she is wistful when her daughter — whose father is Lakshmi’s ex, venture capitalist Adam Dell — isn’t around for the holidays. “She’s going to be with her dad this year for Thanksgiving,” she shares.

“We alternate the holidays so last year was my turn and this year is his turn and that’s great. I really don’t want to cook without her. It’s a little sad for me. Instead of being sad, I’m going to go to Paris and be very happy!”

She’s not sure where she will spend Thanksgiving in Paris, but could likely end up at Ralph’s — Ralph Lauren’s eponymous restaurant in his Paris store — where she celebrated the holiday two years ago.

The eatery, she says, “actually does a fantastic Thanksgiving. It’s so beautiful. It looks like a Disney storybook. It’s lit beautifully. I thought it would be all American tourists, but half the people there were French!”

Lakshmi quips, “So if you find yourself in Paris for Thanksgiving and you want to have Thanksgiving [dinner], go to the Ralph Lauren store!”

— K.C. Baker


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