01 March, 2012

And The Winner of Top Chef Texas Is (Turn Away Now If You Don't Want A Spoiler)...Paul Qui!

Image courtesy of BravoTV.com.

Image courtesy of uchiaustin.com.
What a deserving winner! As a soon-to-be Austinite myself, I have been glued to the screen each week to see what happens on Top Chef: Texas, especially when the cooking took place in Austin. I also was impressed by chef Paul Qui since I saw straight away that he was innately talented and, although he was on a reality TV show, somehow managed to be the one to actually keep it real and not succumb to all the backstabbing and drama that normally goes on (and did) during such a program. He was truly there to cook (and win some prize money of course) - the point of the whole dang show after all! Then he accepted mine and my boyfriend's friend requests on Facebook, so I took an even greater interest because I, however voyeuristically, now thought of him as a "pal" who I was compelled to cheer on. 

Chefs Tyson Cole (left) and Paul Qui. This is an image from a video interview by KUT Austin of Tyson conducted at Uchiko in Austin, Texas. Click on the link here to view the interview. 
Video courtesy of YouTube.com

All right, so now you know that he won, but just so that he is not forgotten in the minds of all you fickle foodies, be sure to check out the links I provided to see the places and people that enabled Paul's climb to the top. He is still the Executive Chef at Uchiko in Austin, for example, where he got his start under renowned owner/chef of both Uchi and Uchiko, Tyson Cole. Tyson, who was accompanied by Paul when he competed on Iron Chef America back in 2008, and even made an appearance on Top Chef this season as a mentor. Then there are Paul's three lip-smacking good food trucks called East Side Kings, which live in the parking lots of The Liberty, The Grackle and Shangri-La bars. Though Paul's full-time job is at Uchiko, a place that requires shirts and shoes, he really got his hands good and (rightly) dirty in his days at the these mobile eateries making amazing sorta-fusion, Asian-style, well-executed street comfort food. Even Anthony Bourdain interviewed him and his partner Moto Utsonomaya (third chef Ek Timrek was not present) in 2010 for an episode of No Reservations. Paul continues to be a partner there and the trucks are still hopping! For some thought-out perspectives on how folks in Austin have been reacting to all of Paul's attention, check out these articles here and here. Congratulations again Paul!

Moto Utsonomaya (left) and Paul Qui. The image above comes from an excerpt of No Reservations: Heartland where you can see Paul doing some good things from a food truck (go to minute 5:50). Click on the link here to see the video. 
 Clip courtesy of YouTube.com.

For another video interview from 2010 by VendrTV, an online food show, on Hungry Nation click on the link here to see the video above.
Clip courtesy of YouTube.com.

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