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Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi calls for investigation into alleged misconduct by winner Gabe Erales


‘As someone who has been sexually harassed, this topic is a serious one’: Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi calls for investigation into alleged misconduct by season 18 winner Gabe Erales

  • Erales beat fellow contestants Dawn Burrell and Shota Nakajima on the July 1 season finale 
  • In December, he had been fired from his job as executive chef at Mexican restaurant Comedor in Austin, Texas 
  • He was let go over inappropriate behavior and for violating policies relating to a sexual relationship with an employee
  • Production on Top Chef was completed in October and there are no allegations of impropriety against Erales during filming 
  • Lakshmi tweeted: ‘As someone who has been sexually harassed, this topic is a serious one and merits openness’

Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi has called for an investigation into allegations of misconduct by season 18 winner Gabe Erales.

The TV personality weighed in on Twitter after it emerged Erales had been fired from Mexican restaurant Comedor in Austin, Texas, in December for alleged sexual harassment of a female employee.  

Laksmi tweeted Thursday: ‘As someone who has been sexually harassed, this topic is a serious one and merits openness. 

‘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 went on: ‘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 has previously spoken out about her experience of sexual assault, revealing in 2018 that she was raped by an ex-boyfriend at the age of 16 and did not report the incident as she believed it to be ‘her fault’. 

She had touched on the subject again while calling for a thorough review into the news that Erales had been fired from his position as executive chef at Comedor last year, which  was first reported by The Austin Chronicle.

Accused: Erales has admitted he had a 'consensual' sexual relationship with a female employee over the summer of 2020 and then cut her hours in November due to 'performance' issues

Accused: Erales has admitted he had a ‘consensual’ sexual relationship with a female employee over the summer of 2020 and then cut her hours in November due to ‘performance’ issues

Lakshmi spoke out on Twitter stressing there are no allegations of misconduct on set during Top Chef filming but that the topic of sexual harassment 'merits openness' and investigation

Lakshmi spoke out on Twitter stressing there are no allegations of misconduct on set during Top Chef filming but that the topic of sexual harassment ‘merits openness’ and investigation

On Saturday, following his TV victory, Erales gave an interview to the Austin American-Statesman in which he spoke about his departure from Comedor.

Erales claimed he had a ‘consensual’ sexual relationship with a female employee over the summer of 2020 and then cut her hours in November due to ‘performance’ issues, according to Vanity Fair.

He acknowledged he had made ‘bad decisions’ as a manager and said he was taking steps to be better as a husband, father and chef. 

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Comedor co-owner Philip Speer told the Statesman, however, that the female employee’s work was not ‘sufficient reason for hours being cut’.

He stated that Erales had been ‘fired for repeated violations of the company’s ethics policy as it relates to harassment of women.’

Reported: It has been alleged that Erales had been 'fired for repeated violations of the company’s ethics policy as it relates to harassment of women'

Reported: It has been alleged that Erales had been ‘fired for repeated violations of the company’s ethics policy as it relates to harassment of women’

A source told E! News that the Top Chef production team had conducted an investigation after learning of Erales’ departure from Comedor in December.

The insider said there was ‘no indication of inappropriate behavior or complaints about his behavior during production.’

Another source told the Seattle Times on July 2 that there are no current plans to revisit the outcome of the season. 

Winner: Erales beat fellow contestants Dawn Burrell (pictured left) and Shota Nakajima on the July 1 season finale of the Bravo show, taking home the top prize of $250,000

Winner: Erales beat fellow contestants Dawn Burrell (pictured left) and Shota Nakajima on the July 1 season finale of the Bravo show, taking home the top prize of $250,000





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