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Padma Lakshmi tackles hot rumors about ‘Prime Chef’ winner Gabe Erales

Texas-based chef Gabe Erales gained the title of “Prime Chef” Thursday night time — and it’s already leaving a nasty aftertaste within the mouths of some followers of the enduring actuality TV cooking competitors.

Whereas some hyped his win on social media, others discovered it problematic that the previous govt chef of Austin’s Comedor — who was fired in December for “repeated violations” of restaurant insurance policies — claimed the $250,000 grand prize.

Bravo’s Portland, Oregon-based finale of the present’s 18th season featured Erales, 40, being topped the winner, with fellow Texas chef Daybreak Burrell from Houston and Shota Nakajima from Seattle as runners-up.

It was introduced that Erales was competing on “Prime Chef” in February 2021. Nonetheless, because the season progressed, rumors began cooking that he was canned from the Mexican eatery for violating restaurant coverage on harassment and discrimination. Some social media watchdogs weren’t impressed after discovering the distasteful controversy.

One outraged fan stated, “OK however for actual #topchef not addressing Gabe being fired from his job and the allegations towards him AT ALL is basically irresponsible. I simply found this right now, and folks like me have been watching and (not me) rooting for him all season with no thought.”

One other commented, “Is #TopChef going to handle the Gabe Erales challenge? I like this present however individuals are coming ahead with their tales and it’s not trying good.”

As on-line hypothesis began to boil over, “Prime Chef” host Padma Lakshmi served up her stance on Twitter.

“As somebody who has been sexually harassed, this subject is a critical one and deserves openness,” Lakshmi, 50, stated. “We filmed Prime Chef in October of final 12 months & weren’t conscious of the allegations now popping out about Gabe. This ought to be investigated & the community ought to contemplate its greatest motion.”

Padma Lakshmi
Padma Lakshmi took to Twitter as followers began cooking up rumors: “We filmed Prime Chef in October of final 12 months & weren’t conscious of the allegations now popping out about Gabe. This ought to be investigated & the community ought to contemplate its greatest motion.”
Nicole Weingart/Bravo

“To be clear, nobody has alleged sexual harassment on the report or in any other case to Bravo/Prime Chef and we judges didn’t have any indication of inappropriate habits from Gabe throughout his time on set,” Lakshmi added.

Community reps for “Prime Chef” declined to remark when requested if there could be any response to the fan backlash. Nonetheless, an insider linked to the present directed The Submit to an Austin-American Statesman report revealing how the manufacturing staff knew particulars about the firing, each from conversations with restaurant administration and Erales.

The native outlet stated an nameless “Prime Chef” supply alleged that Erales admitted he engaged in a “consensual sexual relationship” with a kitchen staffer — and later lower her hours primarily based on work efficiency. The supply additionally stated producers carried out a background verify on Erales and regarded into his habits on set, however discovered nothing problematic.

No particular allegations towards Erales have been made formally — and the brand new “Prime Chef” has publicly denied having sexual relationships together with his workers at Comedor or another restaurant.

Gabe Erales won the $250,000 grand prize for winning season 18 of "Top Chef" on Bravo.
Gabe Erales gained the $250,000 grand prize for successful Season 18 of “Prime Chef” on Bravo. The present was pre-taped in October, which means Erales was let go from his govt chef job at Comedor after the present had already named him the season’s winner.
NBCU Photograph Financial institution through Getty Photos

Operated by companions William Ball and chef Philip Speer, Comedor achieved accolades corresponding to being named certainly one of Esquire’s greatest new eating places and Texas Month-to-month’s greatest new restaurant of 2020 below Erales.

Nonetheless, Speer advised the Statesman that Erales was let go “attributable to violation of our insurance policies and for habits in battle with our values.” He later stated extra particularly that he repeatedly violated the corporate’s ethics coverage within the context of the harassment of girls. Erales, who didn’t reply to an inquiry from the outlet again in December 2020 about his firing, lastly confirmed his termination final week.

As a result of the present was pre-taped months in the past, Erales was let go from his govt chef job at Comedor after the present had already named him the season’s winner.

The sequence by no means thought of re-shoots, in keeping with the supply, since “scrapping your complete season wouldn’t be honest to the opposite 14 chef contestants and a manufacturing staff that endured the challenges of the pandemic to provide the present.”

Erales was absent from the post-finale episode of “Watch What Occurs Stay With Andy Cohen” on Thursday night time — a practice during which the “Prime Chef” sits down with the judges to debate their journey all through the season with Andy Cohen.

The finale of the Portland season occurred within the Willamette Valley, the place cooks had been tasked with getting ready a four-course meal. Finalists had been paired with cooks who returned after being eradicated earlier within the season.

For the primary course, Erales made fried cochinita pibil head cheese with habanero ash emulsion avocado mousse and kumquat sauce. He whipped up scallop aguachile with fermented pineapple and roasted pineapple oil for the second course. His third course consisted of brief rib with chichilo negro mole, mushrooms and pickled persimmons, whereas his ultimate dish was candied delicata squash with cafe Mexicano ice cream.

Erales introduced throughout his “Prime Chef” season that he’s opening a brand new Mexican restaurant referred to as Bacalar within the fall of 2022 in collaboration with Austin firm City Actual Property and Interiors. The menu will characteristic regional dishes impressed by the Mexican state of the Yucatan.
NBCU Photograph Financial institution through Getty Photos

Erales, who hails from El Paso, is the primary Mexican-American chef to win “Prime Chef.” He beforehand opened up the now-closed Dai Due Taqueria below Jesse Griffiths. He additionally beforehand labored at Noma in Copenhagen and Mexico Metropolis. Earlier than rising to govt chef at Comedor, he labored at different Austin eating places corresponding to Fonda San Miguel, La Condesa and Geraldine’s.

He introduced throughout the season that he’s opening a brand new Mexican restaurant referred to as Bacalar within the fall of 2022 in collaboration with Austin firm City Actual Property and Interiors. The menu will characteristic regional dishes impressed by the Mexican state of the Yucatan.

“Shifting ahead, my place in a restaurant as an authority determine is a vital one and I do know that with a purpose to enhance our business, making a optimistic non-toxic work atmosphere begins with a plan of checks and balances that should be in place earlier than the doorways open,” Erales advised the Statesman.

Gabe Erales, the winner of "Top Chef" season 18, was fired from his executive chef position at Comedor in Austin.
Gabe Erales’ successful programs: Fried cochinita pibil head cheese with habanero ash emulsion avocado mousse and kumquat sauce. He whipped up scallop aguachile with fermented pineapple and roasted pineapple oil for the second course. His third course: brief rib with chichilo negro mole, mushrooms and pickled persimmons. His dessert was candied delicata squash with cafe Mexicano ice cream.
NBCU Photograph Financial institution through Getty Photos

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