‘Top Chef’ Portland names a winner, but controversy casts a shadow over a feel-good season (recap)

The “Top Chef” Portland season was hailed by many fans as one of the best seasons ever. The culinary competition series was filmed in Portland and other Oregon locations in September and October, when the restaurant industry had been hit hard by the pandemic, and the show brought a spotlight to local food and cooks. The cast was notably diverse, with the three finalist chefs, Houston-based Dawn Burrell, Austin-based Gabe Erales, and Seattle-based Shota Nakajima bringing a rich variety of experience, backgrounds and cooking styles to the show.

But when the “Top Chef” Portland season winner was revealed in Thursday night’s finale, response on social media was mixed. While many fans praised the choice of Erales, whose Mexican-inspired cooking had been consistently praised by judges Tom Colicchio, Gail Simmons and host and judge Padma Lakshmi all season, others brought up the fact that Erales was, following the

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Columbia area’s top chefs advance to World Food Championship



A team of six local chefs will represent the Columbia area in a World Food Championship event later this year.

The six were judged the best of the “Taste of Lake Murray” event by 600 people who attended the cooking competition at Columbia’s Hilton DoubleTree on Thursday.

Team Lake Murray Country will now travel to Dallas, Texas, for the “Ultimate Food Fight” the week of Nov. 5-9. There they will take on other top culinary artists from across the country. The top chefs will win $350,000.

The local winning chefs include:

Kevin Schwab of Bistro on the Boulevard

Henry Griffin of Griffin Chophouse

Arif Rizvi of RF’s Corner Grill

Brandon Velie of Juniper

John Worthington of Figaro the Dining Room

Jon Cooper of Alodia’s Cucina Italiana

In addition, World Food Championship CEO Mike McCloud named Eric Crissey of Columbo’s Restaurant as

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