After one of the toughest competitions to date, a winner of Top Chef season 18 has been crowned!
This season, stylised Top Chef: Portland, saw finalists Dawn Burrell, Gabriel “Gabe” Erales, and Shota Nakajima battle it out for the mega $250,000 prize.
It was Gabe Erales who impressed most, becoming the first-ever Mexican chef to win the competition.
As Gabe has consistently impressed throughout the competition, fans weren’t surprised by his placement in the final. However, they were surprised to learn that Gabe’s journey outside of Top Chef has allegedly taken a sour turn. So, if you’re wondering what happened to Gabe Erales after his time on the Bravo cooking show, we’ve done some digging to find out.
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Who is Gabe Erales from Top Chef?
Gabe Erales is one of the three finalists heading to the Top Chef season 18 finale. There were fifteen cheftestants competing this year, with the best of the best making it to the final.
Gabe is originally from El Paso, Texas. His cooking style is largely influenced by his Mexican heritage. According to his website, “Gabe’s cooking philosophy strives to focus on locality through strength in relationships with local farmers. Gabe also seeks honesty in his roots by sourcing unique varieties of landrace corn, chiles and other ingredients from different regions of Mexico.”
A natural chef, Gabe Erales has been honing skills since the age of 15, when he started working in professional kitchens. He graduated with his Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from University of Texas in 2002 before pursuing his passion for cooking at prestigious culinary school Le Cordon Bleu in 2006.
Erales currently owns his own restaurant, a Mexican-inspired eatery called Bacalar. It is thought to open later this year, in the Fall.
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So, what happened to Gabe? Was he really fired?
Filming on Top Chef season 18 wrapped up back in October 2020. While you may have anticipated that Gabe’s past nine months as the winner of Top Chef would’ve been a dream, it allegedly has been marred by losing his job at Comedor.
As the Austin Chronicle reported late last year, on December 15th, the owners of Comedor (where Erales had been executive chef) announced in an email that Erales was “no longer with the restaurant due to his misconduct.”
The story quoted the email, which reads: “Effective immediately, Comedor Executive Chef Gabe Erales is no longer with the restaurant due to repeated violation of our policies and for behavior in conflict with our values. In his absence, Chef and Comedor partner Philip Speer will be helming the kitchen. After the New Year, we will begin the search for a permanent replacement.”
Comedor’s co-owner Philip Speer remains the head chef, nine months later.
Top Chef fans react to news of Gabe Erales’ firing
Inevitably, fans of the cooking competition were saddened to hear that one of their favourites had been allegedly fired for “misconduct.”
One viewer tweeted: “[Top Chef] not addressing Gabe being fired from his job and the allegations against him AT All is really irresponsible. I just discovered this today, and people like me have been watching and (not me) rooting for him all season with no idea.”
Another added: “Why was #gabe fired? Policy violations seem too vague for a new #TopChef The world deserves to know”
Neither Gabe Erales nor the Top Chef creators at Bravo have commented on Gabe losing his job at Comedor after filming.