Is Gabe Erales married? Padma Lakshmi says 'Top Chef' winner's harassment rumors need investigating

Gabe Erales, the former executive chef of Austin’s Comedor, was reportedly fired in December for 'repeated violations' of restaurant policies

                            Is Gabe Erales married? Padma Lakshmi says 'Top Chef' winner's harassment rumors need investigating
‘Top Chef’ host Padma Lakshmi addressed the sexual harassment rumors about the latest season's winner Gabe Erales (Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images for AHA and Instagram g_erales)

Texas-based chef Gabe Erales might have won the title of 'Top Chef' on Thursday night, June 1, but it is not a reason for celebration for fans of the show who have since taken to social media to express their discontentment about the new winner of the reality TV cooking competition. Many found it problematic that the former executive chef of Austin’s Comedor claimed the $250,000 grand prize. Many pointed out to the sexual harassment allegations against the chef in the past. Following that backlash, even Padma Lakshmi took to the networking site to say her side of things. 

On July 2, the host of the show took to Twitter after the online speculation started taking over the site. The 'Top Chef' host Padma Lakshmi served up her stance on Twitter. "As someone who has been sexually harassed, this topic is a serious one and merits openness," the 50-year-old tweeted. "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."


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"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," she added.


Bravo's Portland, Oregon-based finale of the show's 18th season featured 40-year-old Erales who hails from El Paso. He is the first Mexican-American chef to win 'Top Chef'.

Erales was fired in December for "repeated violations" of restaurant policies. The announcement that Erales was competing on 'Top Chef' was made in February 2021. As the season progressed, rumors started going around that he was fired from the Mexican eatery for violating the restaurant's policy on harassment and discrimination. And this is something that did not sit well with Twitter users who immediately called out the show and their winner.

One outraged fan said, “OK but for real #topchef 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 commented, "Is #TopChef going to address the Gabe Erales issue? I love this show but people are coming forward with their stories and it’s not looking good." That's when Padma Lakshmi took a stand. 


Did 'Top Chef' executives know?

Now the question arises if network reps for 'Top Chef' were aware of this. They reportedly declined to comment when asked if there would be any response to the backlash the show received from the fans. However, according to a report in the Austin-American Statesman, the production team knew details about the firing, both from conversations with restaurant management and Erales.

The local outlet said an anonymous 'Top Chef' source alleged that Erales admitted he engaged in a "consensual sexual relationship" with a kitchen staffer and later cut her hours based on work performance. The source also added that producers performed a background check on Erales and even looked into his behavior on set. They said they found nothing problematic.

As Laksmi said, no specific allegations against Erales have been officially made. The new 'Top Chef' has even publicly denied having sexual relationships with his staff at Comedor or any other restaurant. 

Is Gabe Erales married? 

Erales is married to Linda and they reportedly have four children. He frequently posts pictures with his children and their life together. He credits his wife for a lot of the success he has received - even taking to Instagram to post about her often.