Former Comedor chef Gabe Erales of Austin competing on new season of 'Top Chef'
Chef Gabe Erales spent the last couple of years guiding the kitchen at one of Austin's best restaurants before an abrupt departure. Soon, he'll appear on one of food television's crown jewels.
The former executive chef at modern Mexican restaurant Comedor will be one of the 15 chefs appearing on Season 18 of "Top Chef." The show, which this season was filmed in Portland, is slated to debut April 1.
Comedor announced in December that the restaurant had parted ways with Erales, its founding executive chef, over an unspecified violation. Co-owner Philip Speer said that he was let go "due to violation of our policies and for behavior in conflict with our values" and at the time declined to elaborate. Erales did not respond to a December inquiry from the American-Statesman about the nature of his departure.
Erales helped build Comedor into the best Mexican restaurant in Austin, based on the strength of elegant but muscular cuisine like scallop crudo with tepache broth and a double cut pork chop with manchamanteles mole. The chef, who has previously worked at Dai Due Taqueria, La Condesa and Fonda San Miguel, told the Statesman he is currently working on a new restaurant project in Austin. Beyond that, as with any pending television show, details about Season 18 and Erales' participation are scant.
He won't be the only chef representing the Lone Star State: Houston chefs Dawn Burrell of Lucile's Hospitality Group and former Rosalie Italian Soul executive chef Saha Grumman will also compete.
This is not the first time an Austin chef has appeared under the bright lights and stony glare of chefs Tom Colicchio, Padma Lakshmi and Gail Simmons. Austin was most notably repped in 2011, when chef Paul Qui won the ninth season of the cooking competition show.