Nicole Gomes shares her favorite Top Chef challenge and the shared experience, interview

TOP CHEF -- Season:20 -- Pictured: Nicole Gomes -- (Photo by: Stephanie Diani/Bravo)
TOP CHEF -- Season:20 -- Pictured: Nicole Gomes -- (Photo by: Stephanie Diani/Bravo) /

While Top Chef Season 20 has brought together some of the most talented former Top Chef Chef-testants, a few of the chefs have stood out. One of them is Nicole Gomes. Beyond her culinary talents, Chef Nicole connected with viewers because she was willing to share her story. Although her time on Top Chef World All-Stars has come to a close, Chef Nicole will be remembered for her creativity in the fast-paced food television competition.

Many of the Chef-testants in Top Chef World All-Stars had specific reasons for returning to the competition. It might be the lure of the going against other respected culinary talents, the potential of a large reward, or just the desire to compete in that Top Chef kitchen again. For Chef Nicole, it appeared that all of those aspects and more brought her to Top Chef Season 20. Even though her on-camera commentary sometimes questioned that choice, she seemed to be constantly absorbed into every aspect of the experience.

Looking this particular Top Chef season, the women chefs seemed to have a strong connection to one another. Outside of those Quickfire or Elimination Challenges, there seemed to be a camaraderie. While all the chefs seemed to be willing to support each other, this season seemed more focused on learning from each other than just competiting.

Chef Nicole commented, “It is important to me to absorb all that life has to offer. I love meeting people, culinary or not, woman or man. It does hold a special place when meeting fellow women chefs in my industry as we have an opportunity to share our experiences and most importantly support and encourage each other.”

Nicole Gomes on Top Chef World All-Stars
TOP CHEF — “Restaurant Wars” Episode 2009 — Pictured: Nicole Gomes — (Photo by: David Moir/Bravo) /

Speaking about how other chefs have impacted her culinary point of view, Chef Nicole said “My experience with every single chef I come across has impacted my culinary point of view. Negative or positive there is always something to learn from someone or an experience.”

In addition, Chef Nicole said, “I would love to collaborate with the fellow Chef-testants. It would be lovely to cook, enjoy and learn from each other without a timer or the constraints of a competition.”

From the diverse group of Chef-testants on this season to her own varied culinary background, Chef Nicole embraces showing her culinary versatility. Throughout the season, she was able to bring different flavors, cuisines and ingredients to the plate. Specifically, she said, “I like to cook so many different things and cuisines, the things that excited me most is exploring them all!”

Looking back at her time on Top Chef Season 20, Chef Nicole had some highs and lows. While she won some challenges, a few missteps lead to her downfall. Restaurant Wars might have started with a lovely idea, but it might not have been the best choice given the particular constraints.

Nicole Gomes on Top Chef Season 20
TOP CHEF — “Spurred Lines” Episode 2004 — Pictured: Nicole Gomes — (Photo by: David Moir/Bravo) /

When asked what she would do differently if given a second chance, Chef Nicole said, “I would have rolled one large ravioli, sheeted the pasta the day before, portioned the filling and shaped them on the day of serving.”

Although that dish sounds delicious, she has another suggestion. She suggested that “I would have done a duck and celeriac dish. Stay tuned, maybe it’ll appear sometime in the future.”

While that Restaurant Wars might not have been her crowning achievement, Chef Nicole had high praise for one episode. She recounted the Gaggan Anand episode.

“The Gaggan Anand Quick Fire Challenge in which I made meat and rice dish disguised in a meatball is the most representative of my cooking style; bold flavors, simple yet creative and one of my favorite flavor profiles that I like to cook with, South East Asian.”

While all the challenges pushed her out of her comfort zone, Chef Nicole found that the Gaggan Anand episode was the most challenging. She said, “it shifted my thinking of how I ‘feel’ about food versus. what I know how to cook.”

Even though there was not a Canadian centric challenge during her Top Chef Season 20 tenure, Chef Nicole wants people to appreciate her country’s culinary landscape. She said, “Canadian food is very multicultural as we are a multicultural country. Canadian food is so vast. Our forests and oceans have so many amazing things to enjoy. If I was to choose one Canadian ingredient to discover….Black Cod!”

While Chef Nicole Gomes might “just rolled with it” through the many challenges and believes that the mandoline, when used in a hurry, can be a daunting item in the Top Chef kitchen, she is looking ahead now that the food television competition chapter has closed.

“Top Chef is over, but it is just the beginning of so many exciting things. I’m opening a second location of my fried chicken joint that I founded with my sister, Cluck n Cleaver. On the personal front, I patiently await the adoption to get finalized and if not, I’m getting a dog.”

Be sure to watch new episodes of Top Chef Season 20, Top Chef World All-Stars Thursday nights at 9 p.m. EST on Bravo or stream the next day on Peacock.