'Top Chef' Season 18 Winner Pens Apology After Harassment Allegations Come to Light

Top Chef season 18 winner Gabe Erales has posted a public apology after sexual harassment allegations against the chef recently surfaced. Erales made history as the first Mexican-American winner of the show, but after he admitted to having an affair with one of his co-workers, he was fired from his post at Austin's Comedor restaurant last December. One of Erales' former bosses at Comedor shared that the chef was let go due to "repeated violations of the company's ethics policy as it relates to harassment of women."

"The last three weeks have been a trying time of reflection and personal growth. I have been silent not because I thought it would go away, but because I needed time with my family to start the healing process before making a public statement," he began his apology. "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. Most importantly, I let the one person down who has always been by my side supporting my career and our family, my wife."

"To clarify, unbeknownst to my wife, I had a consensual relationship with a co-worker and later reduced her work hours, which in combination was a poor judgment call and led to my termination after I filmed Top Chef," he continued the lengthy post. "I was suddenly at the lowest point in my life - potentially losing my family while I had already lost my job. I am deeply and sincerely sorry for the impact that my poor decisions had on those involved. My personal growth will be a perpetual apology in seeking forgiveness."

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He closed, acknowledging that he will exhibit changed behavior as he looks for future endeavors. Erales was slated to open another restaurant in downtown Austin named Bacalar by fall 2022. "I recognize that part of an executive chef role is to set the culture and uphold the values of the restaurant. I am committed to doing personal and professional work every day to create a positive and safe work environment in whatever follows for me professionally." Bravo has yet to comment on the apology.