Top Chef is back for its 19th season, and this time, the reality competition is set in Houston. The previous season, dubbed Top Chef: Portland, landed the show in hot water following its finale, during which controversial chef Gabe Erales from Austin was announced the winner. For context, Erales had been fired from his job at Comedor for allegedly engaging in harassment and retaliation of a female employee whom he had dated previously.
The firing of Erales occurred after the show had wrapped shooting of its 18th season, but the show aired as originally planned, with the Austin-based chef taking home the title in the end. Naturally, many were unhappy with the decision, with some calling for chef Dawn Burrell, a close runner-up, to be named the winner instead. Burrell, a Houston local, will return in a judging capacity for the new season.
Moving past the controversies, a new season of Top Chef means 15 new hopefuls ready to prove themselves, including Houston’s own Evelyn Garcia, going head-to-head in a series of extreme cooking challenges with competitors from Austin, Texas; Detroit, Michigan; and beyond. Top Chef: Houston premieres Thursday, March 3, and will air new episodes Thursdays on Bravo.
— Polly Anna Rocha, Eater Texas reporting fellow