Nilka is a witty, strong minded, outgoing, and no nonsense person. In a crowd of a million people she stands out because of the energy that she illuminates where ever she goes. Nilka’s inspiration for what she does is her three beautiful daughters.
She is an army brat that was born in Monterey California in 1980. She was raised by a single mother who immigrated to America from Panama. She has three siblings’ two brothers, and a sister. She lived in Brooklyn until the age of 5 yrs old, and sadly that year her grandmother passed away from breast cancer. The devastation of the death of her grandmother made Nilka decide she wanted to be a nurse.
Nilka grew up in Glen Cove, New York that is where she became a single mother at the age of seventeen. Nilka didn’t want to become a statistic, so she would work odd jobs to support her family. After years of working these jobs, she decided to finally pursue her dream of becoming a nurse. While going to school, she also worked at L.I.J. Children’s Hospital. Even though Nilka worked hard in the medical field, she knew she had another love, cooking! In the back of her mind, she knew that her passion was to cook.
When Nilka cooked at family functions, she enjoyed seeing the comfort her food brought to her family, as she received the many compliments of how well her dishes tasted. While contemplating changing careers, her mother was diagnosed with cancer. She took time off from school to help her mother through her recovery. During her mother’s recovery, Nilka enrolled in culinary school in Syosset, New York. One year later, she completed her culinary training and was hired as an intern at a catering company where she was hired permanently.
She quickly moved up in the company as host of her own parties. Nilka moved onto take a position as the head chef at a new Vegan Café in Brooklyn, NY. She created the menu which included various vegetable wraps, fresh Portobello mushroom soup, and other exquisite foods. This job turned out to be a success for her, because it opened the door for her to work as a line cook in the Hamptons. She was so dedicated to succeeding, she traveled two hours each day to and from work, and if she was needed beyond her normal working hours, she would stay overnight.
Through her commitment and hard work, Nilka was offered a job at the Empire Hotel in Manhattan, New York. She worked at the hotel until an opportunity arouses to audition for Hell’s Kitchen and the rest is in the making.