Top Chef Season 20 finalists share their favorite challenges from the season

TOP CHEF -- "Fin" Episode 2014 -- Pictured: (l-r) Gabriel Rodriguez, Sara Bradley, Buddha Lo -- (Photo by: Fred Jagueneau/Bravo)
TOP CHEF -- "Fin" Episode 2014 -- Pictured: (l-r) Gabriel Rodriguez, Sara Bradley, Buddha Lo -- (Photo by: Fred Jagueneau/Bravo) /

As Top Chef World All-Stars prepares to crown its champion, the Top Chef Season 20 finalists reflect on the experience. While Bravo pulled out all the stops for the momentous season, the chefs appreciated that it was more than just another culinary competition. Gathering some of the world’s best chefs both in the kitchen and at the judging table showcased creativity and technique, but also the emotional connection that food offers.

During a recent conversation with Sara Bradley, Buddha Lo, and Gabriel Rodriquez, the chefs spoke poignantly about returning to the Top Chef competition. While all three had had success in their previous seasons, it was more than just the lure of the challenge. They all appreciate the opportunity to push themselves in ways that they may not do on the regular basis.

Throughout the season, each of the chefs have had highs and lows. Gabri might have affectionately earned the nickname “gato” for his nine lives, but that element only endears the chefs to the fans who are captivated by every episode. There is no re-fire or second chance to get everything perfect in this culinary competition.

Still, one of the reasons why Top Chef is so highly regarded is that the chefs are only as good as their last cook. While the judges might have high expectations, the reality is that all of Buddha’s wins did not guarantee his place in the Top Chef Season 20 finale. They have to prove themselves every time.

Top Chef Season 20 finalists
TOP CHEF — “Fin” Episode 2014 — Pictured: (l-r) Gabriel Rodriguez, Sara Bradley, Buddha Lo — (Photo by: Fred Jagueneau/Bravo) /

Top Chef Season 20 finalists reveal their favorite challenges

Ahead of the Top Chef Season 20 finale, the Top Chef All-Stars final three shared their favorite and lease favorite challenges from the season. After hearing the responses, the answers showcase the different approaches from these chefs. While each one has a wealth of knowledge and strong technical ability, their approach to food varies.

For Sara Bradley, her favorite challenge was the football themed team event at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Her team, the Purple Team, was able to win their first round and avoid the additional challenges.

Gabri shared that the final episodes were his favorite. Specifically, he mentioned that all the positive feedback from all the great chefs at the table was amazing.

With Buddha, his favorite challenge was Restaurant Wars where he cooked for one of his mentors, Clare Smyth. While he might have helped to lead his team to victory, he was able to balance the personal and professional pressure to show his mentor how he has evolved as a chef.

While there have been many highlights from Top Chef World All-Stars, it was not always sunshine and rainbows for the chefs. There were a few challenges that were not their favorite.

For Sara, she would have preferred to skip the Wellington challenge. Although that was the event which sent her to Last Chance Kitchen, it was not a complete failure. Then again, few chefs would ever want to cook that many Wellingtons in a single dinner service.

Gabri mentioned that the Vrbo challenge was difficult for him. He said that he was thinking about his father during that event and it was a down day. It shows that emotions can and will play a role in cooking, even for professional chefs.

Buddha said that he least favorite challenge was the thalis challenge, where he had technical mistakes with the rice. Very few Top Chef fans would have guessed that Buddha would have struggled with that particular ingredient.

Overall Top Chef All-Stars has been one of the most creative culinary competitions. Each of the chefs have pushed themselves and viewers have devoured each and every offering.

Who will earn the title Top Chef World All-Stars winner? Be sure to watch the Top Chef Season 20 finale on Bravo, Thursday, June 8 at 9 p.m. EST and stream the next day on Peacock.