Not everyone is celebrating Top Chef‘s latest winner.
On Thursday, July 1, Bravo’s hit series came to an end when Gabe Erales beat out fellow contestants Dawn Burrell and Shota Nakajima and received the $250,000 cash prize in the season 18 finale.
After the episode aired, however, some viewers brought up a December 2020 report that claimed Gabe was no longer working at a restaurant due to “repeated violation” of company policies. Top Chef host and judge Padma Lakshmi appeared to address the controversy in two social media posts.
“As someone who has been sexually harassed, this topic is a serious one and merits openness,” she wrote on Twitter. “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.”
Padma added, “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.”