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S9 - Paul Qui: From Pot to Pots and Pans


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#1

ibmjones

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Posted Nov 11, 2011 @ 8:40 PM

Paul Qui reference to No Reservations piqued my interested, so I dug into my iTunes stash and found he was in the episode "Heartland" (season 9). A followup search in youtube yields this gem:

http://www.youtube.c...tailpage#t=121s

#2

rabidfangirl

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Posted Nov 11, 2011 @ 8:59 PM

If he manages to last till the final few episodes in Austin, he's going to have a slight advantage. I imagine that at least one of the Austin challenges will be a trailer challenge. Trailers are HUGE here and he's got one of the best in town.

#3

hissyfit

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Posted Dec 10, 2011 @ 3:34 PM

He seems really solid and strong. Also nice. I hope he sticks around.

#4

HawaiiTVGuy

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Posted Dec 21, 2011 @ 7:20 PM

I agree...he is my favorite right now for his seeming ability to cook well along with what has come off as a good personality.

#5

Zzingerific

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Posted Dec 22, 2011 @ 5:12 AM

So Paul was a drug dealer. Wow, I didn't see that one coming. This season really seems to relish the redemption arcs.

#6

stinamaia

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Posted Dec 23, 2011 @ 5:35 PM

Paul is one of my favorites! Iím rooting for him.

Hmmm 3 of my favorites are Asian. Take that Heather!

#7

ratgirlagogo

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Posted Dec 24, 2011 @ 9:58 PM

I like him too. But I still don't understand how selling weed made his dogs shit all over his apartment.

#8

hissyfit

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Posted Dec 25, 2011 @ 11:28 AM

I like him too. But I still don't understand how selling weed made his dogs shit all over his apartment.


My guess would be that he meant his lifestyle left him such a mess he was neglecting important things in his life, such as his pets. I'm glad he turned his life around. He seems like a good guy.

#9

Xazeal

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Posted Jan 5, 2012 @ 12:43 AM

I have yet to see a thing I don't like about this guy.

Obvious frontrunner at this point, amazingly creative and interesting recipes, works well in teams, seems generally pleasant. And he has the whole "I used to be a drug dealer"-backstory going for him. As long as he survives RW, he's a lock for the finale.

And so far I'm not really seeing anyone who would be able to give him a run for his money once he's there.

#10

rabidfangirl

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Posted Jan 5, 2012 @ 6:46 PM

I think the brussel sprout has become Paul's scallop. Isn't this like the 3rd time he's made them? He also serves them up in both Uchiko and Eastside King. I'm waiting for him to whip out his awesome beet dish. I suspect he has a thing for making people eat the food they grew up hating.

#11

pez10s

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Posted Jan 6, 2012 @ 12:48 PM

I just went online to vote for Paul as Fan Favorite and I was surprised by two things: first, that Malibu Chris has such a huge lead but also that Keith is one of the leading vote getters. Keith was only around for an episode and regardless of what Mean Heather or anybody else said, he ultimately made the decision to buy pre-cooked shrimp. How is he a favorite?

Anyway, Paul regularly turns out good food and seems to have a nice personality. I'm hoping he stays strong and ends up with the victory, but at least he's already going home with $35K.

#12

stinkytofu

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Posted Jan 6, 2012 @ 1:49 PM

Right now, if Paul didn't win the whole thing, I'd be pretty surprised. He is almost always near the top, if not at the top. Seems like a generally pleasant guy, too.

#13

kfried

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Posted Jan 13, 2012 @ 10:57 AM

Right now, if Paul didn't win the whole thing, I'd be pretty surprised. He is almost always near the top, if not at the top. Seems like a generally pleasant guy, too.


I agree. Paul is definitely my favorite this season, followed by Greyson. Did you see his facial expressions during the RW judging table? He looked so sad and disappointed. He certainly bit off too much in that challenge, but I interpreted that as a symptom of his ambition and love of cooking--he wanted to win so badly that he overextended himself a bit too far. I wanted to crawl into my TV and give him a hug.

#14

DollEyes

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Posted Jan 18, 2012 @ 11:44 AM

Delurking with more love for Paul. He has what it takes to win, both in skills and backstory. He may have had an off week at "Restaurant Wars," but where this show is concerned, I believe that sometimes it's better to have a chef like Paul who tries too hard than one like Chris Jones who doesn't try hard enough.

BTW, thanks for picking my thread title!

#15

arc

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Posted Jan 26, 2012 @ 9:06 PM

From the 9-12 episode thread:

Tom mentioned on twitter that Paul has won 70k to date.

I've gone over the Wikipedia summaries and I only count $50K. $20K for the ep 4 QF (ghost Scoville pepper), $10K for the ep 8 QF, $5K for his share of the ep 9 EC win, and $15K for the ep 12 EC win. Did I miss something?

#16

ladymadonna512

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Posted Jan 27, 2012 @ 1:31 AM

I've gone over the Wikipedia summaries and I only count $50K. $20K for the ep 4 QF (ghost Scoville pepper), $10K for the ep 8 QF, $5K for his share of the ep 9 EC win, and $15K for the ep 12 EC win. Did I miss something?


I was following Tom's live tweeting during last night's show, and went back through the recaps to figure that out myself. At the time Tom tweeted that, Paul's tally was only at $35k ("only," ha). He was referring to Ed's commentary about Paul always being nervous before challenges. Tom tweeted "The guy is already up 70k what is he nervous about?". I assumed at first it was hyperbole or a typo, but after Paul ended up winning again to bring him to 50 grand, I'm kind of wondering if he picks up another $20k before it's all said and done.

#17

Zach808

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Posted Jan 27, 2012 @ 2:34 AM

Holy crap this guy is good. So far, he's won, what, 6 challenges?

#18

VirginiBound

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Posted Jan 27, 2012 @ 8:00 AM

Holy crap this guy is good. So far, he's won, what, 6 challenges?

I totally agree, and think he's right up there with the Volt's, and Kevin G, and Stephanie Izard. I think beside his techniques being spot on, he is extremely creative, and thoughtful.

#19

HawaiiTVGuy

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Posted Jan 28, 2012 @ 12:15 AM

I wonder if the DEA is going to do an audit on his books to make sure none of his business was started up with his pot money! :p haha...I wonder what he will do if he wins. I am sure his food truck business is already taking off, the question is, do you stick with the food truck concept that has a lot less headaches in overhead and cost, or try your luck with the "real" restaurant?

#20

ladymadonna512

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Posted Feb 4, 2012 @ 10:18 PM

I'm both apprehensive and excited about this week's upcoming "Mentors" episode. The preview snip of Paul crying and apologizing for not finishing is a bit terrifying, since a Qui-less finale would be simply incorrect. But I have a feeling the editing elves are fucking with us and Paul was getting choked up by the emotional theme and not a failure in the kitchen. I'm guessing (hoping) he was having trouble finishing his story and not his food.

I'm excited because I suspect the chefs are going to really rise to the occasion when cooking for Michelle Bernstein, Tony Mantuano, Tyson Cole, and whoever Edward and the LCK winner trained under. I love these types of challenges (like Ellis Island in AllStars) because we really get to see the cheftestants' personal style, and they always seem to produce dishes with real soul when they are cooking with such personal stakes.

I've read some press about Tyson Cole and the culture of learning and experimentation he encourages in his kitchens, and it's really not surprising that Paul has done as well as he has on TC this season. At Uchi, the sous each spec a new dish each week for family meal, and the best one is tweaked and then put on the daily special board. The chefs also hold a running "Chopped" style battle judged by Chefs Cole, Qui, and Phillip Speer. I think they do blindfolded palette challenges too. And at Uchiko they have their seafood purveyor in Japan include a "mystery box" in their shipment once a week - whatever is in it gets used at the sushi bar that night.

Cole wrote a blog documenting the opening of Uchiko from concept through its first year, and it's a pretty fascinating look into launching a restaurant. Lots of interesting tidbits on Paul plus tons of amazing looking food in the archives.

#21

sloper96

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Posted Feb 6, 2012 @ 1:37 PM

Thanks for the link and all the background information about Uchi! I agree that a finale without Paul would be just wrong. I may travel to Austin just to eat his food.

#22

ladymadonna512

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Posted Feb 6, 2012 @ 10:56 PM

I may travel to Austin just to eat his food.


Not sure how far you'd be traveling but chances are it would be well worth the trip. Uchiko is, in my opinion, the best restaurant in Austin, period. Uchi is and continues to be fabulous, but I find the food at Uchiko slightly more unexpected, the vibe a little more fun and accessible. It's also right in my neighborhood, which rules. If I had the means I would eat there very week - it consistently raises the bar for me in terms of food and service and just the whole dining experience. Since I don't always have the means, it's a treat to be able to sample Paul's food via his East Side King trailers. All three locations are fantastic (they maintain different menus at each) - creative, casual, cravable street food. Very fun to be able to sit out on the patio at an East side dive bar and have some of the best chefs in town make you a late-night snack to devour with your beer.

This profile of Paul from a few years ago has some intresting quotes, including this from the chef de cuisine at Uchi when Paul first started there as a fry cook:

"Chefs get a reputation for being sort of high-intensity screamers, short-fused," Clouser said. "That's just not Paul at all. Paul is very even-keeled, very sweet and gentle, and I think that's going to reflect in his food."


And this, from a chef at Parkside (another great restaurant in town):

"He works about a hundred miles a minute. Very fast and furious in the kitchen."


Seems to reflect what we're seeing on the show every week. My obvious hometown bias aside, I think the dude really has the goods. Go Paul.

Edited by ladymadonna512, Feb 6, 2012 @ 11:04 PM.


#23

aquamarine9

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Posted Feb 7, 2012 @ 10:10 AM

Paul is the only solid talent this year. It would absolutely suck in one of the suckiest seasons EVER if he does not win! I love how he casually pulled out the liquid nitro in the pancake QF. He said something like how it's not a focus of what he does but he will use it if it's a useful technique for something he wants to do.

#24

Xazeal

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Posted Feb 9, 2012 @ 3:44 PM

Man, I hope he's the first one to beat the car curse.

I just won't accept any sort of scenario where he doesn't win. His EC track record is insane at this point - if you count the first episode as a win (which I probably wouldn't, but they seemed to give the win to the entire team) then he has won more ECs in a single season than any other cheftestant, ever. Yes, this includes the Volts, Kevin G, Stephanie, Stefan and Blais. Yeah, they got more top mentions, and I guess one could argue that any of those people (and probably quite a few others) would dominate this season as well, but I do think Paul's consistency and general awesomeness earns him a seat in the "Best cheftestants ever"-club.

If he loses and Beverly wins, I guess I won't be pissed, but it would be one of the worst decisions of all time. Right up there with eliminating Antonia over Mike and letting Hosea of all people win season 5. Sure, if he screws up, it's fine and whatever, but I don't see that happening.

#25

ladymadonna512

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Posted Feb 9, 2012 @ 4:33 PM

Man, I hope he's the first one to beat the car curse.


Michael Voltaggio won a Prius in Napa during the Vegas season finale, so that should clear the cosmic path towards Paul's win. Any other outcome has become inconceivable...but then I remember Hosea.

Gail had some incredibly high praise for Paul in her Bravo and EW blogs this week. She certainly seems to be of the opinion that Qui should be considered amongst the best contestants ever, at least based on his food. Factor in his apparent humble professionalism, leadership in the kitchen, generosity, and the respect he seems to garner from the other chefs and I think he's clearly in the TC pantheon.

From Bravo.com:

Tyson loved it. He tried to stay quiet because he was so obviously biased. He didn’t have to say anything, because all of us sat around that table literally licking our plates and moaning in pleasure. It was embarrassing. It was quite obvious at the time to the eight of us sitting at that table...I’m so curious as to how he thought of that soup. Had he made it before? Was this just a total inspiration out of nowhere? I can’t imagine it was, this dish tasted like a three-Michelin star restaurant dish in Tokyo. It was not something you just make on the fly.


From EW.com:

There’s no point in hitting you over the head with it, but I can say with complete confidence that in all my seasons of shooting Top Chef, [Paul's dish was] pretty much the single best thing that I have ever eaten on the show. It was so unbelievably mature and creative and I don’t think that in our description of it we did it justice. It was so beautiful the way he hand-placed the vegetables, [which] he then made into tubes and stood upright in the base of this bowl. Then poured in this dashi-sunchoke soup, the flavor of which I can’t even describe. All of us took one bite and we were sold. It was a really extraordinary dish and it was one I will remember for a very long time. It wasn’t even a question who won that challenge. It was so obvious to all of us that day.


I hope Colicchio posts a blog this week because I would like to hear his take on this dish. I've noticed on several occasions he gets this bemused half-smile on his face when he tastes Paul's food. Having eaten at Uchiko & ESK I recognize the look - "how the heck do these seemingly disparate ingredients come together to taste so amazing?" I'm guessing he's a fan but would be curious to hear more of what he thinks about Paul's cooking.

Edited by ladymadonna512, Feb 9, 2012 @ 6:30 PM.


#26

stinkytofu

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Posted Feb 9, 2012 @ 9:14 PM

His EC track record is insane at this point - if you count the first episode as a win (which I probably wouldn't, but they seemed to give the win to the entire team) then he has won more ECs in a single season than any other cheftestant, ever.

I was thinking about that today, actually. I don't think anyone has dominated a season of Top Chef like Paul has done. And Gail's blog about Paul's dish was hilarious. She made it sound as if the table of judges had a collective orgasm while eating his soup.

#27

jeansheridan

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Posted Feb 10, 2012 @ 2:27 AM

Totally random, but he and his girlfriend must have offspring. The cuteness! Too damn cute, both of them.

He's got a sneaky charm--good smile, nice voice, and patience. Oh and apparently he can cook.

I can't really blame Bev for feeling him up during the blindfold challenge (I know she wasn't really, but man why not!).

#28

Butch718

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Posted Feb 10, 2012 @ 8:53 AM

Paul needs to hang out with better company.

#29

MissAmy

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Posted Feb 10, 2012 @ 12:04 PM

Paul needs to win. He is obviously the best, and he is so nice, it really couldn't happen to a better person.

I'm in Austin a couple of times a month, I agree with LadyMadonna - if I had the means, I would eat at Uchiko every time I was in town. It is just that good. The service, atmosphere, food, everything has been refined and honed to perfection. Since it's obvious he's going to win, I hope it doesn't get too difficult to get in! Does anyone know what happens to a restaurant after the chef wins TC? Does it just rocket into the stratosphere or do things calm down eventually to where us regular people can go there again?

#30

Kosmonaut

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Posted Feb 10, 2012 @ 12:18 PM

Does it just rocket into the stratosphere or do things calm down eventually to where us regular people can go there again?

I'd imagine it gets very busy for quite a while. I mean, imagine what a mass email or newspaper article does for a regular restaurant and multiply that by 100, you know?

If Paul doesn't win, I think I might actually break my television. Or at least my remote. I AM a bit paranoid that TPTB won't let a Texan win the Texas season, though, for fear of people calling shenanigans. Although, come on, who in their right mind would call shenanigans on a Paul victory?