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VIDEO: Top Chef Paul Qui Dishes on His New Ventures

VIDEO: Top Chef Paul Qui Dishes on His New Ventures


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The Daily Meal talks with Paul Qui about the concept for his new restaurant

Ali Rosen

Paul Qui

The Daily Meal’s video producer, Ali Rosen, caught up with chef Paul Qui, of Uchiko and East Side King in Austin, at the City Grit Culinary Salon in New York City.

The winner of Top Chef: Texas recently announced that he will be opening a few new ventures, including a new location of his burgeoning trailer business East Side King close to the University of Texas campus.

His second upcoming project is a brick-and-mortar restaurant, which Qui is still working on the concept for. He explains, "It is going to be my flagship restaurant where I get to do whatever I want, hopefully, with the food. Eat Side King is also about playing with food and having a good time, but this restaurant is going to be a little combination of both. I’m working on still defining exactly what it is I’m going to be doing at that spot." He remarks further, "I know what I don’t want it to be, I don’t necessarily want it to be a Japanese restaurant. I don’t want to say its kaiseki or a tapas place, or a tasting and small plates restaurant — I have no idea how I’m going to define that yet."

With regards to a time frame for the new restaurant, Qui hopes to have it open by December. "The 50-seat menu is pretty close to finished," he said. "And actually it’s got a lot of things from Texas and the surrounding Austin neighborhood — it’s basically food sourced from our area, and I’ll let you guys define it."

Check back for more updates about the development of Qui’s exciting new spots.


Paul Qui Is Apparently Still Trying to Redeem His Bad Behavior Through Cooking

On Thursday, dining publication Tasting Table hosted chef Paul Qui for a virtual tutorial on how to make homemade lumpia, sparking controversy from those who are still furious about the chef’s 2015 arrest for domestic violence.

In the series of videos, Qui outlines how to make what he calls “redemption” meat and potato lumpia, or deep-fried Filipino spring rolls, via Instagram stories, along with other variations on the beloved dish. The chef is certainly not the first chef to participate in one of these virtual cooking tutorials, but Qui is a highly controversial figure. In 2015, the chef was arrested in Austin for allegedly beating and bloodying his then-girlfriend, which incited a national conversation about how to handle chefs who have been credibly accused of domestic violence. Those charges were later dismissed because Qui’s alleged victim declined to participate in his prosecution.

Check out a screenshot of Qui’s post on Instagram here:

Several comments appearing on the program’s Instagram feed were critical of the decision to feature Qui, but have since been deleted. One indictment of Qui remained as of publication. “Did y’all run out of chefs who aren’t domestic abusers to feature, or what?,” wrote one user.

The idea that Paul Qui would be able to “redeem” himself after these domestic violence charges has been an ongoing part of his narrative. Following the arrest, Austin Chronicle reviewer Melody Fury wondered in 2017 whether or not the chef’s restaurant Kuneho would “offer redemption” via its “ambitious” menu. When he opened a restaurant in Dallas, Qui described it as “part of his effort to move forward” from the “negativity” associated with his name.

As previously reported by Eater, Qui is currently facing charges of driving while intoxicated in connection with two auto accidents that occurred in October 2019. According to police records, Qui was allowed to be picked up from the scene of the first accident by a friend, and was involved in a second minor car crash that night. A toxicology report later revealed that Qui had alprazolam, cocaine, and THC in his system, and the chef was eventually arrested in December.

Qui was scheduled to head back to court to face these charges in April, but due to the coronavirus pandemic, his court date has been moved back to June.


Texas Chef Paul Qui Is Suing Business Partners

It’s been over a year since Texas chef Paul Qui’s assault charges were dismissed in court, and now the embattled chef is suing his former business partners for more than $1 million in monetary relief, according to the lawsuit originally reported by Statesman and obtained by Eater. Qui alleges that former business partners Bill Stapleton, Filadelfo Trombetta, and their related companies, including Austin hospitality group New Waterloo, deceived him out of wages while also attempting to sabotage his relationship with his Miami hotel restaurant, Pao by Paul Qui. There is no scheduled hearing date yet.

Qui started working with New Waterloo in 2014, according to the suit, under a business agreement which said the company would “represent, advise, counsel, and assist” Qui through “sourcing, analysis, negotiation, and execution” of things like “endorsement, licensing, literary, media, multimedia, public appearances, public speaking, and other personal services,” in exchange for 20 percent of Qui’s earnings.

At the time, Qui had two Austin restaurants, Qui (now closed) and East Side King. He won Top Chef in 2011 and went on to win a James Beard Award in 2012, along with multiple other media accolades. In the complaint, Qui alleges that Stapleton and New Waterloo “sought to take advantage of Qui’s rising fame and success as a celebrity chef.”

The lawsuit goes on to say that, as Qui’s consultant and contact point, New Waterloo was required by Texas law to “act with the utmost loyalty, care and good faith, and to put Qui’s interests ahead of its own.” The lawsuit makes the case that Stapleton and New Waterloo did not uphold those fiduciary duties and “repeatedly took advantage” of Qui, resulting in hundreds of thousands in lost revenue to Qui. Stapleton in particular became Qui’s main contact and advisor in matters both related to business and personal life, the complaint alleges.

New Waterloo, according to the suit, encouraged Qui to create a new company, VCQui, which was half-owned by Qui and half by New Waterloo. VCQui was created in 2014, after the original agreement, as a management company for Qui’s businesses. The suit maintains that Qui now interpreted that decision as the company “set[ting] out on a scheme to usurp more and more control over (and financial benefit from)” him. Because Qui’s businesses were conducted through this new company, New Waterloo “increase[d] its shares [. ] from 20 percent to 50 percent without any obligation to provide additional services.”

Then in late 2015, Qui ventured into Miami with his first Florida restaurant Pao by Paul Qui at the Faena, at the insistence of New Waterloo, according to the suit. Because the restaurant business was conducted through VCQui, it resulted in New Waterloo getting 50 percent of the net income, as the suit posits, because of the way VCQui’s ownership worked.

Then, Qui and Stapleton entered into another agreement for omakase restaurant Otoko within New Waterloo’s South Congress Hotel, as the lawsuit explains, in 2015. Stapleton set up SoCo ATX Investments — a separate LLC — for the hotel’s restaurants, through which Qui was contracted as an individual rather than VCQui. As part of the deal, Qui agreed to “provide extensive pre- and post-opening services in connection with the concept, design, branding, marketing, budgeting, and staffing” for “an ongoing share of the restaurant’s revenues and profits for five years,” according to the suit.

The lawsuit maintains that this agreement to provide services was a conflict of interest because Stapleton owned SoCo ATX while also representing Qui through their original contract. A more explicit agreement explaining the participants’ clear roles was supposed to be hammered out, but the suit explained that it never happened.

Otoko opened with a big splash in March 2016 with head chef Yoshi Okai. Right after the opening, Qui was arrested on assault charges when he attacked his girlfriend. He entered rehabilitation shortly afterwards.

Two years after Qui’s arrest, during which “no issues or complaints [were] raised” between New Waterloo and Qui, the New Yorker published what the suit described as a “negative article” in February 2018. The piece was about the responsibility of food critics who review restaurants involving bad actors. Qui was the main focus of the article.

According to the lawsuit, Stapleton then “expressed his desire to disassociate with him.” Qui alleges that they used the article as their “opportunity to cut Paul out of the Faena and Otoko deals,” despite the original contract promising they would act in good faith towards his interests.

While not mentioned in the lawsuit, for further context: later that year, in September, Qui decided to close his acclaimed flagship restaurant, Qui, and flipped it into a new restaurant called Kuneho in January 2017. Kuneho closed several months later.

In the lawsuit section titled “secret revenues,” it alleges that New Waterloo lied to Qui about VCQui’s earnings. According to the suit, Faena Group sent a payment of over $100,000 to the VCQui account in March 2018. Qui alleges that Stapleton and Trombetta blocked his access to the business bank account so that he wasn’t aware of the full amount. According to the suit, New Waterloo presented Qui a payment that was “less than 50 percent” of the $100,000+. Qui also accuses the company of collecting VCQui’s earned money from Faena and “commingling” it into New Waterloo’s other bank accounts unrelated to him.

The complaint says that New Waterloo deterred Qui from looking into the accounting of the company by claiming he would be charged “professional fees” if he contacted VCQui’s tax preparer, which the suit maintains was a lie to “hide that they were improperly diverting VCQui funds to New Waterloo.” The suit claims that New Waterloo hasn’t provided full accounting history to Qui, which includes “an unexplained cash withdrawal,” a check written personally to Stapleton, and “unexplained ‘reimbursements’ all totatling tens of thousands of dollars.”

There is also a claim that New Waterloo lied to the Faena Group saying that the company “‘has withdrawn as a member of VCQui’” at the time of that New Yorker article, which didn’t happen.

As a result of that false letter, the complaint states, Faena Group “immediately cancelled its agreement with VCQui altogether,” with losses estimated at $450,000. However, according to a representative at Pao by Paul Qui, Qui is still involved with the Miami restaurant. His name is still in the title of the restaurant and his photograph and biography appear on the website.

In May 2018, according to the suit, Stapleton through SoCo ATX wrote to Qui that the company was ceasing its Otoko agreement with the chef in terms of forthcoming payments. Qui maintained that he fulfilled his contractual obligation, but wasn’t properly compensated for his promised work. The suit claims that the SoCo ATX company “has collected all of the revenue from Otoko without paying Qui his share.” It estimates that the defendants owe him at least $300,00 from the original restaurant deal.

In summary, the lawsuit claims that “every agreement that New Waterloo entered into with Qui [. ] took advantage of their relationship to Qui for the benefit of themselves and their web of affiliates [. ] resulting in substantial financial damage to Qui and financial benefit to them.”

In response to the lawsuit, New Waterloo provided the following statement to Eater:

”When Paul Qui was arrested on charges of assault and unlawful restraint, he committed to the New Waterloo team that he would embark on a process to get help for his addictions. Along with his other business associates, we tried to support him and went so far as to find and pay for his treatment. After some time, we were not satisfied with his commitment to improving his behavior and we concluded that the right thing to do for our company and employees was to sever all ties with him. The accusations of the lawsuit are meritless and we stand behind our actions.”

So it could have been Qui’s lack of improvement as described in the lawsuit and/or the New Yorker article, or something else entirely which prompted the severing of ties in 2018.

In other Paul Qui-related lawsuit news, local farm food distributor Farm to Table sued Qui in 2017 for unpaid services. That case closed after the court ordered Qui to pay the company a reduced sum from the original asking price, plus interest. More recently, Qui opened and closed a restaurant in Houston after it became a controversial pinpoint in the conversation regarding restaurants that are owned by chefs accused of domestic violence/sexual misconduct. He also opened and closed a taqueria in Dallas, and is still involved with Austin-based East Side King.


First look: Paul Qui's new Aqui restaurant

1 of 24 The Tuna Kinilaw: coconut, hearts of palm, jack fruit, coconut vinegar and coconut milk at James Beard Award-winning chef Paul Qui's new restaurant, Aqui, at 520 Westheimer. Karen Warren/Houston Chronicle Show More Show Less

2 of 24 James Beard Award-winning chef Paul Qui in his new restaurant, Aqui, at 520 Westheimer. Karen Warren/Houston Chronicle Show More Show Less

3 of 24 The Perfect Bites: Tapioca Dumpling, ground pork, peanut, and salted radish at Aqui. Karen Warren/Houston Chronicle Show More Show Less

4 of 24 Chef de cuisine Gabriel Medina at Aqui. Karen Warren/Houston Chronicle Show More Show Less

5 of 24 Bar area at James Beard Award-winning chef Paul Qui's new restaurant, Aqui, at 520 Westheimer. Karen Warren/Houston Chronicle Show More Show Less

6 of 24 The Perfect Bites: left top-down Tapioca Dumpling, Fois Gras, and Ensaymada White tile top-bottom: Turon, Dinuguan & Rice Cake, and Tsamporado. Gold tile Curry Puff, Chilean Uni Toast, and Scallop Nam Chim. Black tile Cured Salmon Roe, Duck Tar Tar, and Shrimp and Betal Leaves at James Beard Award-winning chef Paul Qui's new restaurant, Aqui, at 520 Westheimer. Karen Warren/Houston Chronicle Show More Show Less

7 of 24 The Chilli Crab and Fried Bao (Port Arthur blue crab meat, tomato chilli, egg, and galangal) at James Beard Award-winning chef Paul Qui's new restaurant, Aqui, at 520 Westheimer. Karen Warren/Houston Chronicle Show More Show Less

8 of 24 The Perfect Bites: Shrimp and Betal Leaves at Aqui.
Karen Warren/Houston Chronicle Show More Show Less

9 of 24 The Perfect Bites: Duck Tartar, rice puff cracker, muscovy, and roasted chili paste at Aqui.
Karen Warren/Houston Chronicle Show More Show Less

10 of 24 The Perfect Bites: Cured salmon roe, fermented salmon ikura, and avocado toast at Aqui.
Karen Warren/Houston Chronicle Show More Show Less

11 of 24 Interior of James Beard Award-winning chef Paul Qui's new restaurant, Aqui, at 520 Westheimer. Karen Warren/Houston Chronicle Show More Show Less

12 of 24 The Perfect Bites: Curry Puff, top, coconut, banana heart, and relish and Chilean Uni Toast, bottom, pandesal and dulce caramel at Aqui.
Karen Warren/Houston Chronicle Show More Show Less

13 of 24 The Perfect Bites: Tsamporado, chocolate rice pudding, avocado cream, and anchovies at Aqui.
Karen Warren/Houston Chronicle Show More Show Less

14 of 24 The Perfect Bites: Turon, banana cream, feuille de brick, and coco jam at Aqui. Karen Warren/Houston Chronicle Show More Show Less

15 of 24 The pork belly (lechon) at Aqui.
Karen Warren/Houston Chronicle Show More Show Less

16 of 24 Detail of the plate setting with Lego's as rests for chopsticks at James Beard Award-winning chef Paul Qui's new restaurant, Aqui, at 520 Westheimer. Karen Warren/Houston Chronicle Show More Show Less

17 of 24 Blood Noodles, beef broth, brisket, pork blood vinaigrette, tripe, and liver at Aqui. Karen Warren/Houston Chronicle Show More Show Less

18 of 24 The Tuna Kinilaw, coconut, hearts of palm, jack fruit, coconut vinegar and coconut milk at Aqui. Karen Warren/Houston Chronicle Show More Show Less

19 of 24 The Perfect Bites: Ensaymada, brioche, iberico, scamorza, and manchego at Aqui. Karen Warren/Houston Chronicle Show More Show Less

20 of 24 Exterior of James Beard Award-winning chef Paul Qui's new restaurant, Aqui, at 520 Westheimer. Karen Warren/Houston Chronicle Show More Show Less

21 of 24 Detail of the plate setting with Lego's as rests for chopsticks at James Beard Award-winning chef Paul Qui's new restaurant, Aqui, at 520 Westheimer. Karen Warren/Houston Chronicle Show More Show Less

22 of 24 Detail of the plate setting with Lego's as rests for chopsticks at James Beard Award-winning chef Paul Qui's new restaurant, Aqui, at 520 Westheimer, Friday, Aug. 18, 2017, in Houston. Karen Warren/Houston Chronicle Show More Show Less

23 of 24 Interior of Aqui. Karen Warren/Houston Chronicle Show More Show Less

24 of 24 Outdoor patio area at Aqui.
Karen Warren/Houston Chronicle Show More Show Less

Who knows if Paul Qui made a birthday wish on Monday, Aug. 14 when he turned 37. But if he did, maybe he got his wish &ndash a big one &ndash in the form of Houston's buzziest new restaurant.

Qui's new Montrose restaurant Aqui opened to the public that day &ndash by any measure a cause for culinary celebration. After all, Qui isn't just any chef, he's a James Beard Award-winning toque and "Top Chef" champ with a handful of well-regarded restaurants in Austin including the rebranded Kuneho (formerly his flagship Qui), Otoko, East Side King, and the Thai Kun food truck, as well as Pao by Paul Qui at the Faena Miami Beach hotel in Miami Beach. Aqui, his first project in Houston, brings him back to the city where he lived between 1998 and 2003 and where he maintains a strong connection of family and friends.

Monday also ushered in an important new chapter for Qui (Aqui is his biggest, most expensive project to date), who loves Houston so much he's considering opening even more restaurants here.

"Absolutely," he said, "East Side King and Thai Kun would kill it here."

And he adds, in a bit of confession/apology: "I have a hard time saying no to projects."

But that's getting ahead of ourselves. There is, after all, the opening of Aqui to take in. The new construction at 520 Westheimer, with its two dramatically pitched roofs, opened quietly after a few days of private dinners. The building, designed by Parallel Architecture in Austin (who designed the original Qui), is a serene space dominated by vast, undecorated planes of blonde wood and glass interrupted by glimpses of stone walls and pops of gray and slate blue. An enormous open kitchen &ndash an amazingly long pass that gives unimpeded views into the inner workings &ndash is remarkable pure culinary theater.

But the star of the show is obviously the food &ndash a collaboration between chef/owner Qui and chef de cuisine Gabriel Medina, long a local foodie favorite for his work at Kata Robata, Soma Sushi, an a year at the world-famous Narisawa Japanese restaurant in Tokyo. The kitchen team is completed by sous chef Niki Vongthong, former sous chef at Uchi Houston, and Jillian Bartolome, former executive chef of Common Bond who serves as pastry chef.

The Southeast Asian menu with strong Filipino influences (both Qui and Medina share Filipino heritage) is a well-edited document offering a few raw preparations, nearly a dozen "Perfect Bites" (small morsels priced between $2.50 and $12), a few hot entrees, rice and noodle preparations, and desserts. The foods and flavors of the Philippines assert themselves often in the menu, much to Qui's delight. "My secret hope is that it's really more of a Filipino restaurant," he said.

One thoroughly Filipino dish, lechon (roasted pork belly), is presented immaculately sliced on a wood board accompanied by small bowls of sweet pickle, house-made kimchee with shrimp, sweet chile sauce, and pork liver sauce). Other dishes hailing from the Philippines include kinilaw (a raw tuna salad made with coconut, hearts of palm, jack fruit dressed in coconut milk and coconut vinegar), pandesal (Filipino bread rolls), dinuguan (a savory stew of pig's blood served with rice cake), and for dessert bibingka (Filipino coconut cake).

The chefs have lavished attention on the small "Perfect Bite" preparations &ndash bonbon-size morsels of jewel perfection: a tiny toast with fermented salmon, avocado and cured salmon roe a rice puff cracker topped with Muscovy duck tartar a knuckle of diver scallop and radish an orb of brioche holding Italian cheese and ham wearing a blizzard of grated manchego translucent tapioca dumplings holding ground pork and peanut and shrimp tempura on a deep emerald betel leaf.

Larger dishes include blood noodles (beef broth, brisket, tripe, liver) fried bao balls served with blue crab meat with chili sauce, egg and galangal) roast Cornish hen with sticky rice and garlic ginger oil and an American wagyu steak with charred onions.

Gorgeous sweets: Filipino-inspired turon (banana cream roll) chocolate rice pudding chocolate curry mousse tamarind hibiscus granita and coconut sorbet with salted watermelon gazpacho.
Qui praised Medina's "genuine passion for food" and his ability to inspire the kitchen team, "which is a huge blessing."

Qui said that the restaurant's culinary identity came together, like most of his projects, in an organic manner working with the entire team. "More than cooking, I like working with people, encouraging talent and discovering talent," he said. "To me that's more exciting than making a delicious bite."

He likens the process to creating music with Qui as the producer and his kitchen team as the talent. But it is definitely work as his team "discovers the language that's in my brain together &ndash it's a bit of a process."

But a process that culminated this week with the opening of what is sure to be one of the season's most talked about restaurants.


Related Articles

“Thai Kun Tributary formed under a new partnership group to help grow chef Thai Changthong’s vision for authentic Thai street food,” Hoang said. “I can only speak for what we are doing at Tributary, and I can (say) Paul is not involved with the management group for the Thai Kun in Tributary project.”

Thai Kun’s webpage describes its business as a “spinoff” of East Side King that was “conceptualized by” Moto Utsunomiya, Changthong and Qui.

Qui lists Thai Kun on his Instagram page alongside his other restaurants, including two shuttered Tacqui and Aqui concepts.

Even after the failed attempt to open East Side King at Avanti, Qui’s team said they still planned to bring their concept to Denver.

“Throughout the process, chef Paul and the team have been forthcoming, collaborative and working in good faith towards a common goal,” Qui’s team said in a statement in March. “We still believe Denver is a wonderful community that is diverse (and) open minded and plan on bringing the concept to the city. The support we have received is greatly appreciated and (we) look forward to being here in the near future.”

When asked about Qui’s involvement in the Thai Kun at Tributary, food hall co-owner Josh Dinar sent this statement: “Paul Qui was arrested for an abhorrent act. We do not know him personally or professionally, and we are not doing business with him. We have been assured that he is not associated with Thai Kun in Golden, directly or indirectly.”

The chef was arrested in his home state in 2016 on suspicion of assaulting his then-girlfriend and preventing her and her young son from fleeing, but the charges were dropped in 2018 after the alleged victim declined to participate in trial.

Qui has since opened and closed a number of restaurants around Texas. When he opened Kuneho in Austin in 2017, one reviewer for the Austin Chronicle asked if the chef’s new concept could “offer redemption” for himself. The wording prompted a fury of responses to the notion that opening a good restaurant might redeem charges of assault.

In the post-#metoo climate, Qui has been criticized for not making much of an effort to right his past. After laying low for a while in Texas, he announced last month that he has another restaurant coming soon to Houston. But his Instagram post about it has since been deleted.

Amy McCarthy, editor of the food news websites Eater Dallas and Houston, told The Denver Post that when Qui’s Instagram post was deleted, the Houston food hall “refused to confirm” that he was involved in the new restaurant.

“The real issue when Paul Qui did what he did … he hurt his restaurants, he hurt his business partners, he hurt everybody that was involved in those projects,” McCarthy said. “To me if (business partners) are not willing to take a real stand against that, to distance themselves as far as they can… then they’re culpable. They’re not as culpable. But if you are still working with him, why? And if you’re not, then why are you protecting him?”


But one contestant's cheesecake was so delicious that Fuller took the rest of it home

Fuller told Insider that many dishes on the "Baking Championship" series are great, but no dessert's ever impressed her more than a macadamia-nut cheesecake.

"I, for the first time, put a dessert under my desk to take home with me. It was that good," Fuller said. " . It was the best flavored cheesecake I've ever had. It was macadamia cheesecake and it had a macadamia crunch on top

She continued, "The flavors were so well-balanced. It was just perfect, you just couldn't stop eating it. It was amazing."


9 Easy Pork Belly Recipes

There is no argument that pork belly is a crowd-pleaser. And the fatty richness found on this boneless cut provides great comfort in frigid weather. Although braising takes time, preparation is quite easy. Here are nine melt-in-your-mouth recipes to get you through the chill.

This one-pot stew comes from Chef Paul Qui, winner of Top Chef Season 9. It is a recipe inspired by his childhood in the Philippines. This recipe features sweet kabocha squash (a Japanese pumpkin) and Filipino shrimp paste stewed with other vegetables and finished with crispy pork belly.
Pinakbet recipe and photo from CHOW

2. Beer-Braised Pork Belly

Fatty pork braised in beer. Is there anything more to say? The richness of the pork is balanced with light and peppery arugula.
Photo and recipe from Saveur

3. Pork and Watermelon Salad

Pickled watermelon rind, lime leaves, and sweet Chinese black vinegar play nice with spices like Thai bird chile, ginger, and Vietnamese coriander in this refined salad.
Photo and recipe from New York Times Cooking

4. Curry Rice with Pork Belly

Parsnips, sweet potatoes, and other diverse vegetables are stewed in a curry roux to make a sauce to serve over rice.
Photo and recipe from Wall Street Journal

5. Emeril’s New Orleans’ Asian-Style Braised Pork Belly

The pork is surely the star in this recipe, served over a light salad of frisée and drizzled with a citrus-ginger sauce.
Photo and recipe from Food Network

6. Momofuku Pork Bun

My first day living in New York included a trip to Momofuku Noodle Bar to try the “iconic” pork bun. I was then introduced to sweet hoisin, crispy cucumber, and the fluffy steamed bun. As it turns out the recipe is extremely easy to re-create. Even making the bun!
Photo and recipe from Huffington Post via Food52

7. Ultimate Pork Tacos with Spicy Black Beans & Avocado Green Salad

Creamy avocado, crispy corn tortillas, and juicy pork are used in Chef Jamie Oliver’s zing-filled taco.
Photo and recipe from jamieoliver.com

8. Korean-Style Spicy Pork Belly

This is a good recipe for entertaining. The Korean BBQ pork is served with rice in a lettuce wrap. If you substitute tamari for the soy sauce, it’s gluten free!
Photo and recipe from Spoon Fork Bacon

9. Sweet Potato–Pork Belly Hash

And it isn’t just for breakfast. This simple hash is perfect for a lazy Sunday supper.
Photo and recipe from Bon Appétit header image from Simple Comfort Food

Nyanyika Banda has worked as a chef for over 15 years in restaurants in Massachusetts, San Francisco, and New York, and as a recipe tester for a national publication. She currently runs a ramen popup and catering business in Minnesota while pursuing a degree in Food Studies.


Top Chef: Portland S18E05

Quickfire Challenge: In reference to Portland’s nickname as the “City of Roses”, the chefs had to incorporate roses or rose products into their dishes. The winner received immunity from elimination and an advantage in the Elimination Challenge.

Winner: Chris
Elimination Challenge: The chefs, split into two teams, competed head-to-head catering for patrons at a pop-up drive-in theater located at the Portland Expo Center. Each team was responsible for six dishes, which had to be inspired by the following film genres: comedy, drama, action, sci-fi, horror, and romance. The judges and guest diners voted for their favorite dishes in each round. In the event of a 3-3 tie, the best overall dish determined the winning team. The chef with the judges’ favorite dish received US$10,000. As the winner of the Quickfire Challenge, Chris was able to join the team of his choosing.

Green Team: Avishar, Byron, Dawn, Gabe, Maria
Yellow Team: Chris, Gabriel, Jamie, Nelson, Sara, Shota
Winner: Byron
Eliminated: Jamie

Top Chef Show Summary

Top Chef is an American reality competition television series that premiered March 8, 2006, on Bravo. The show features chefs competing against each other in culinary challenges. They are judged by a panel of professional chefs and other notables from the food and wine industry with one or more contestants eliminated in each episode. The show is produced by Magical Elves Productions, the company that created Project Runway.

The show has spawned multiple spin-off series, including Top Chef Masters, featuring established award-winning chefs, and Top Chef: Just Desserts, featuring pastry chefs. Top Chef Junior, which features contestants in their early teens, premiered in October 2017 on Universal Kids. A spin-off featuring home cooks, Top Chef Amateurs, is scheduled to premiere in 2021. Numerous international adaptations of Top Chef have also been produced.

In September 2020, Bravo announced that Season 18 would be filmed in Portland, Oregon, to be aired in 2021.

Top Chef FAQ

How long does Top Chef filming last?

Do you ever watch the show and think, ‘I could do that … or better! ‘ The application itself says filming will take place “for approximately ten (10) days or possibly longer or shorter around October 2020 and November 2020,” though, as always, that’s subject to change.

How much do Top Chef contestants get paid?

According to “USA Today,” the would-be pop stars don’t get anything unless they reach the final 12, at which point they must join the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists union, and they begin receiving a proper paycheck of at least $921 per episode.

Is Top Chef scripted?

There are scripted aspects of the show. Many parts of Top Chef are spontaneous, but when it comes to judging, it’s not all off the cuff commentary.

Who is the most successful Top Chef contestant?

After Tom Colicchio singled him out as the most talented Top Chef contestant ever, the season six champ opened the hotly anticipated ink.

What happens to leftover food on Top Chef?

The producers of Top Chef have more to do with the show’s leftovers than just scraping it into the trash can, however. The crew members actually take home the waste! Any pieces of the meals, unused ingredients, and those which are due to expire, go home with whichever producers want them!


Paul Qui

No less an authority than Tom Colicchio said that Paul Qui was the most talented chef he’d seen in the first 12 seasons of “Top Chef,” so it should come as no big shock that Paul won Season 9 of “Top Chef” and secured a place on this list. In addition to his “Top Chef” win, Paul has also earned a place on Food & Wine magazine’s “Best New Chefs of 2014” list, and he has also been awarded “Chef of the Year” by Esquire magazine in 2014, the James Beard Foundation’s “Best Chef: Southwest” award in 2012, and was the winner of the 2013 “S. Pellegrino Cooking Cup Young Chef of the Year.”

Born in Manila, Philippines and raised in the United States, Paul has tapped into his varied cultural experiences to become one of the more unique chefs on this list. After graduating from Le Cordon Bleu in Austin, TX, Paul began his culinary career working for Tyson Cole, the chef and owner of Uchi and Uchiko restaurants in Austin. After having worked his way up to the role of executive chef and chef de cuisine at Uchiko, Paul opened his eponymous restaurant Qui in Austin in 2012.

Qui closed earlier this year, but fans of Paul’s need not worry: he’s planning on opening a new restaurant in the same location called Kuneho next month.


Watch the video: Kristen Kishs Journey to Becoming Top Chef. The Journey


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