Earlier this month, Top Chef named Austin-based chef Gabe Erales the season 18 winner. This was a controversial end to the series, as Erales was fired from his head-chef position at the Comedor for what the restaurant’s co-owner called “repeated violations of the company’s ethics policy as it relates to harassment of women” in late 2020. Although the firing took place after the season had filmed, Bravo chose not to re-edit or revoke its decision to award Erales. On Friday, Erales posted a written apology to Instagram, addressing his “family, friends, staff, supporters,” Top Chef colleagues, and his wife, writing, “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.”
“I am eternally grateful for the opportunity to be a part [of] Top Chef,” Erales writes, “however, I must continue to acknowledge my mistakes including the termination from my former job. 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 judgement call and let to my termination after I filmed Top Chef.” Erales continues, “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.” Erales concludes the apology by saying that he is “taking the necessary steps” of self-improvement through “therapy and spirituality.” He writes, “I am committed to doing the 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.