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‘Top Chef’ Season 18 Winner Apologizes For Affair That Led To His Firing

Chef Gabe Erales, the winner of Season 16 of Bravo’s Top Chef, had something different on the menu today – an apology.

Erales, whose victory in Season 18 of the cooking competition made him the first Mexican-American chef to win the event, confessed on Instagram that he had an affair with a coworker. That led to his firing as head chef from the Austin restaurant Comedor last December, after the Top Chef competition was taped in Oregon.

The affair and his firing came to light in an interview earlier this month with the Austin American-Statesman media outlet, shortly after his victory was aired. But Erales took some time before following that interview with a public Instagram apology.

Philip Speer, one of the bosses at Comedor, told the Statesman that Erales was fired for “repeated violations of the company’s ethics policy as it relates to harassment of women.”

Erales claimed the relationship with his coworker was “consensual.”

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In his post today, Erales said his delay in responding after the interview was because he needed “time with my family to start the healing process before making a public statement.” He added apologies to everyone in his post, most specifically his wife, whom the father of four said “has always been by my side supporting my career and our family.”

Bravo has not commented on the apology.

Erales planned to open a new restaurant in downtown Austin called Bacalar in fall 2022 before today’s apology.

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