When Gabe Erales was declared the winner of the 18th season of “Top Chef”, his victory was marred by news that he’d been fired from the restaurant in Austin, Texas, where he had been a chef, over allegations of misconduct.
Erales later explained in an interview with the Austin American-Statesman that he had a “consensual” affair with a co-worker, whose hours he subsequently reduced due to what he described as issues with her “performance” on the job.
“After I returned from ‘Top Chef’, I made some business decisions as a manager that affected this employee and were found to be discriminatory and I realized that those were bad decisions,” Erales told the Statesman. “I’ve spent the last six months really reflecting on these mistakes and taking the necessary steps to be a better husband, a father, a chef and a leader, through therapy, through spirituality.”
RELATED: Padma Lakshmi Addresses Misconduct Allegations Against ‘Top Chef’ Winner Gabe Erales
Erales also took to Instagram to offer an apology. “To say I am sorry that I let my family, friends, staff, supporters, and my ‘Top Chef’ family down may feel like an understatement at this moment, but it’s the first step and a genuine start on my road to making amends,” he wrote, along with a special apology for disappointing his his wife.
“To clarify, unbeknownst to my wife, I had a consensual relationship with a co-worker and later reduced her work hours, which in combination was a poor judgement call and led to my termination after I filmed ‘Top Chef’,” he continued.
Earlier this month, “Top Chef” host Padma Lakshmi shared her perspective via Twitter, based on what she knew at the time.
“As someone who has been sexually harassed, this topic is a serious one and merits openness,” Lakshmi wrote in a pair of tweets. “We filmed ‘Top Chef’ in October of last year & were not aware of the allegations now coming out about Gabe. This should be investigated & the network should consider its best action,” she continued.
“To be clear, no one has alleged sexual harassment on the record or otherwise to Bravo/’Top Chef’ and we judges didn’t have any indication of inappropriate behaviour from Gabe during his time on set,” she added.
To be clear, no one has alleged sexual harassment on the record or otherwise to Bravo/Top Chef and we judges didn't have any indication of inappropriate behavior from Gabe during his time on set.
— Padma Lakshmi (@PadmaLakshmi) July 2, 2021