What Top Chef's Gabe Erales Has To Say About His Sexual Misconduct Scandal

Gabe Erales, the Season 18 winner of Bravo's hit cooking show "Top Chef," was mired in controversy following his victory when accusations of past misconduct came to light. According to TVLine, a report by a Texas-based newspaper showed that Erales had held the executive chef position at the Mexican restaurant Comedor but was fired after filming "Top Chef" for "repeated violations of the company's ethics policy as it relates to harassment of women."

Erales had slashed the hours of a co-worker with whom he was cheating on his wife, citing the employee's "performance." All the while, he continued to be inappropriate and unprofessional with the co-worker (via Eater Austin). According to People, "Top Chef" judge Padma Lakshmi pushed for Bravo to investigate Erales' conduct when the allegations surfaced. 

Lakshmi posted to her Twitter, "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."  Lakshmi also clarified that there were no harassment allegations against the chef or hints of inappropriateness perceived by the judges on the set of "Top Chef."

Amid this scandal, Erales has decided to issue a statement via an open letter.

Erales vows to work on his personal growth

Gabe Erales took to his Instagram to address the allegations that have been following him since the news broke. "The last three weeks have been a trying time of reflection and personal growth," the statement began. Erales, who has a wife and children, continued with an apology, stating, "To say I am sorry that I let my family, friends, staff, supporters, and my 'Top Chef' family down may feel like an understatement at this moment, but it's the first step and a genuine start on my road to making amends."

The chef's lengthy statement did not cast his actions as harassment but rather described the decision to cut his co-worker's hours while carrying on an affair as "a poor judgment call." Erales stressed, "I am deeply and sincerely sorry for the impact that my poor decisions had on those involved." He claimed that in the intervening weeks since the scandal, he has already taken action to better himself by going to therapy and focusing on his spirituality. "My personal growth will be a perpetual apology in seeking forgiveness," he said.

Instagram followers weighed in, with some expressing respect for what they saw as Erales' honesty and others chastising his behavior. At least one person questioned the chef's sincerity, saying the apology "sound[ed] calculated and predatory." "I'm sorry I rooted for you," the comment concluded.