Seattle chef Shota Nakajima lost in the “Top Chef” final competition on Thursday night. Now controversy swirls around winner Gabe Erales, who has been accused of sexual harassment and fired from his job in December 2020 – and Edouardo Jordan of Seattle, also accused of sexual misconduct, who was deleted from the final.
After the filming of season 18 of “Top Chef” ended in Portland last fall, Erales, it appeared, was fired as executive chef of the Austin Comedor for “repeated violations of ethics policy. of the company regarding the harassment of women, “according to US statesman Austin. Erales admitted to cutting an employee’s hours after ending a ‘consensual sex’ with her upon returning from the Portland recording, also telling the US statesman he continued to communicate with her in an unprofessional manner.
Meanwhile, a source close to the show told the Seattle Times that Chief Edouardo Jordan, recently accused by 15 women of sexual misconduct or unwanted touching, was one of 12 guests at the finale where Erales defeated Seattle’s Shota Nakajima and Houston’s Dawn Burrell to earn the title of “Top Chef” and $ 250,000. With the allegations coming to light barely two and a half weeks before the air date, Jordan was removed from the final show.
A spokesperson for Bravo declined to comment on Jordan’s role and the network’s decision to air the season with a winner who had since been fired for malpractice.
The source close to “Top Chef”, speaking on condition of anonymity as she is not authorized to comment officially, said that the production of the “Top Chef” season was already over when Erales was fired from his job. executive chef position last December, and the network examined his behavior on set and found nothing inappropriate. As for Jordan, the source said, the fact that 15 women brought charges led to her removal from the last episode. With no official allegations against Erales, they said, his dismissal was all the information the network had. The decision to go ahead with airing the show has also been made, the source said, in order to showcase the work of the chiefs group.
Seattle runner-up Nakajima spoke to The Seattle Times after the season finale about the Jordan allegations, saying, “It’s – it’s tough. It’s – it’s hard, what he did. I saw him as a father, which breaks my heart. It’s hard for me to answer, because I’m still dealing with what it is. I also knew him as a person. Nakajima said in his own catering operations he had now “put management structures, in writing, in place” to recognize and address harassment. “I will try to continue doing my part,” he said. Nakajima has yet to respond to a request for comment on emerging information about “Top Chef” winner Erales.
The source close to “Top Chef” said she was not aware of any plans underway to review the result of the season. But it looks like there may be more to come, with the host Padma Lakshmi tweeting, “As a victim of sexual harassment, this subject is serious and deserves to be opened. We filmed Top Chef in October of last year and we weren’t aware of the allegations about Gabe. This should be investigated and the network should consider its best action. She also clarified that “no one has alleged sexual harassment formally or otherwise to Bravo / Top Chef and we, the judges, have had no indication of inappropriate behavior from Gabe during his time on set.” .
Erales plans to open a restaurant in Austin after “really reflecting on those mistakes and taking the steps to be a better husband, father, chef and leader, through therapy, through spirituality,” he said. he declared to the American-Statesman. .
Jordan had announced the final closure of his Ravenna restaurant, Salare, just before the allegations against him came to light; its neighboring restaurant, Junebaby, remains temporarily closed.