After three years of
radio television silence, Top Chef Canada has risen from the ashes of its low fourth season ratings and it set to premiere its first “All-Stars” season on Sunday, April 2nd. Today, Food Network Canada unveiled the twelve Canadian chefs that would be returning to the Top Chef kitchen to cook off against one-another and, of course, two of Calgary’s favourite chefs have thrown down their gauntlets.
Throughout the four seasons of the series, Calgary had a total of nine chefs compete with varying levels of success, but despite their best culinary efforts, none championed. The first “All-Stars” competitor from our city is Connie Desousa who made it all of the way to the finale of the show’s inaugural season and ended in a respectable third place.
No stranger to the Alberta food scene, Desousa has made the most of her appearance on the first season of Top Chef Canada becoming one of Western Canada’s most well-known celebrity chefs. Both of her restaurants, Charcut and Charbar, are proven successes and have received plenty of recognition locally, nationally and internationally. The chef also appeared as a guest judge during the finale of the third season, which if you remember, was filmed right here in Calgary.
Another fan favourite, Nicole Gomes, owner of Nicole Gourmet and fried chicken hot spot, Cluck ‘N’ Cleaver is also back in the high stakes competition. “It was good being able to compete again,” says Gomes happily about returning to the reality competition television series. “I felt revived and this time around, I had way more of an idea of what we were getting ourselves into. You know, way more studied and ready to go!”
Gomes originally competed on Top Chef Canada season three and became known for her humorous commentary and “Tazmanian Devil” like energy while partaking in challenges. The chef’s weekly viewing parties became lively happenings that could rival watching an intense Calgary Flames game in a bar and also saw thousands of dollars raised for local charities. Her final viewing party for the show’s third last episode where she finished at fifth place, drew several hundred people to National on 10th.
“I love Calgary and I love how supportive this city has been to me over the years,” she says. “This time, I was more excited about being a female chef coming back. I was happy to see Connie there too and to see how well [women chefs] were represented this year.”
For Desousa and Gomes, the payoff for being successful on this reality show could be a huge one. The winning individual will be awarded $100,000 as well as a state-of-the-art Monogran Kitchen set-up worth $25,000. Let’s cross our fingers!
Top Chef Canada: All-Stars premieres Sunday, April 2nd at 8 p.m. (MDT) on Food Network Canada.
And If you don’t have any plans on April 2nd, come watch the big premiere with Nicole Gomes and friends at her fundraiser viewing party at National on 10th benefiting the Foothills Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).