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