Never miss a story
Sign up for our free daily morning email...
...and afternoon text update
×

Austin's food scene going above and beyond the restaurant doors, as Season 18 of Bravo's "Top Chef" welcomes three Texas chefs—all of whom have cooked in Austin—to the kitchen.


The new season, set to air on April 1, takes place in Portland, Oregon. The competition will pit 15 chefs from all over the country against each other for the crown, with a 20% chance of a Texan taking home the gold.

So what does Texas have to offer?

The only current Austinite on the list, former Comedor executive chef Gabe Erales was let go from the Mexican restaurant for "repeated violations of (restaurant) policies and for behavior in conflict with our values" in December. Erales was with the restaurant since it opened in April 2019, winning "Best New Restaurant" from Texas Monthly, Esquire Magazine and Austin Monthly while under his direction.

A native of El Paso, Erales said he has been heavily influenced by his family's Mexican heritage and draws inspiration from having worked in both Mexico City, Mexico and Copenhagen, Denmark, in his Top Chef bio.

Erales has worked all over Austin, from Dai Due Taqueria (closed due to the pandemic), Fonda San Miguel, La Condesa, and Geraldine's. More recently, he is working on a new restaurant concept that he "hopes to announce soon."

Though Dawn Burrell no longer calls Austin home, the now-Houston chef is a jack of all trades. Outside competing for the USA's Track & Field team during the Summer 2000 Olympics, Burrell is a 2020 James Beard semi-finalist and has worked for major chefs like Monica Pope and Tom Aiken.

Burrell hopped from Houston's Uchi before moving to Austin's hugely popular Uchiko as a sous chef. Burrell now leads the kitchen at Houston restaurant Kulture, but she has since announced her next stage is working on a new restaurant dedicated to "Afro-Asian flavors" alongside Lucille's chef-owner Chris Williams.

Prior to serving food at Rosalie Italian Soul in Houston, Sasha Grumman spent a year in Austin as the chef de cuisine at Launderette, a gourmet New American restaurant converted from a laundromat-gas station.

Grumman recently started a focaccia, or Italian bread, business that she hopes to take national.

Season 18 will welcome back judges Padma Lakshmi, Tom Colicchio and Gail Simmons, along with a host of Top Chef alumni, who will watch the chefs compete through 15 weeks of challenges.

The new season will celebrate food in Portland, even including a cameo from "Portlandia" stars Fred Amisen and Carrie Brownstein, and challenge chefs to feed frontline workers, perfect their surf and turf and create Portland-famous Pan-African cuisine.


More on TV:

"Walker" reboot renewed for season 2

Popular

As Texas gets ready to lift the mandatory mask mandate on March 10, food and bar workers gathered at the Texas Capitol to express their frustration with the lack of COVID-19 precautions without adequate access to the COVID-19 vaccine.

The event, which began at 1 p.m. on Monday, was hosted by the Austin chapter of Democratic Socialists of America, Restaurant Organizing Project and The Amplified Sound Coalition.
Keep Reading Show less

Stacey Abrams spoke during the 2019 SXSW festival. This year, she's a keynote speaker in the festival's virtual event. (Danny Matson/Getty Images for SXSW)

The world has changed drastically over the past year, and South by Southwest, one of Austin's most beloved institutions, has, too.

After being abruptly canceled by the city last year, one week before it was set to kick-off due to the increasing understanding of the potential impact of COVID-19, it returns this year in a virtual format March 16-20.

Keep Reading Show less
(Austin Public Health/Twitter)

Austin Public Health will release first dose COVID-19 vaccine appointments on a weekly basis starting Monday evening. The specific days and number of appointments made available will depend on the weekly allocation from the Texas Department of State Health Services.

Previously, APH released first dose appointments on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Keep Reading Show less