High-end Austin Mexican restaurant Comedor discharged its executive chef Gabe Erales this week on December 15, according to an email from the downtown restaurant’s chef and partner Philip Speer.
Erales had to leave because of “repeated violations of our policies and for behavior in conflict with our values,” shares Speer. Eater asked for further clarification from Speer, as well as reached out to Erales for further comment; watch this space for updates.
Through Comedor, Speer has been active in the Austin restaurant community, known for creating safer spaces for service industry workers. The restaurant hosts regular meetings of Ben’s Friends, a national organization dedicated to helping those in recovery from addiction and substance abuse. Then there’s the restaurant’s running club, which meets regularly for socially distanced and masked runs in the mornings as a way for industry service workers to decompress and connect with others in a healthy way.
Following Erales’s departure, Speer will temporarily lead Comedor’s kitchen. The restaurant will look for a new executive chef come January 2021.
Amid the pandemic, Comedor reopened for dine-in service in June, while still offering takeout services. The restaurant also branched out with meal-kit delivery service Assembly Kitchen in the spring, which ships nationally.
Comedor quietly opened in April 2019. Then the restaurant nabbed a spot on Esquire’s best new restaurants in the country in November 2019. Several months later, Texas Monthly named Comedor as the best new restaurant in the state earlier this year. Erales developed the restaurant’s signature masa program, which led to corn tortillas, tostadas topped with seafood or nopales, and quesadillas stuffed with mushrooms and huitlacoche.
Before Comedor, Erales, who is from El Paso, opened Dai Due’s taco off-shoot Dai Due Taqueria in January 2018 (which closed during the pandemic), as well as Fonda San Miguel, La Condesa, and Geraldine’s. He’s also an alum of notable Copenhagen restaurant Noma and its Mexico pop-up.
- All Coverage of Comedor [EATX]