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Q&A: Paul Qui IS Top Chef!
The 'Top Chef: Texas' winner dishes on the finale and what he'll do with the prize money.
Bravotv.com: Did you do anything special while you were at home before the finale to prepare?
Paul Qui: Not really, just got back into the groove of Uchiko. Being on Top Chef, is just like being in a restaurant during a hectic service. Never assume anything.
Bravotv.com: Were there any sous-chefs that you had wish you’d gotten that you didn’t?
PQ: Not at all. I loved my whole crew.
Bravotv.com: It seemed a little dicey with Barbara Lynch at first — how were you able to turn it around?
PQ: I was intimidated at first to work with such an accomplished chef. She's just a really cool person and we got along.
Bravotv.com: Emeril made a point to bring up Restaurant Wars before you started cooking/serving. Did that have an impact on how you approached this challenge?
PQ: Absolutely. I hate failing, but it's also the best time to learn.
Bravotv.com: What was the inspiration behind each of your courses?
PQ: I wanted to orchestrate at meal that represented my style of cooking, using the freshest ingredients Vancouver has to offer. So I stuck with a lot of seafood, eggs and fruit.Bravotv.com: Did you ever consider going out of your comfort zone more and not doing a strictly Japanese meal?
PQ: I don't necessarily know what my comfort zone is per se, because I push myself out of it all the time. The menu I created reflected the ingredients Vancouver had to offer. I let what I discovered at the market determine, most of my final decisions.
Bravotv.com: When you found one of your dishes overcooked, did you ever consider not serving it at all?
Bravotv.com: What was the first thing that came into your mind when Padma told you the news?
PQ: I won?!? I can go back to Texas!!!
Bravotv.com: What are you going to do with this money?
Student loans, savings, Deana.
Bravotv.com: What does it mean to you to win Top Chef: Texas as a Texas chef?
PQ: It represented Texas well and brought the title to Austin! I think that there are a lot of Chef's that deserve recognition and I'm happy to be able to shine a national spotlight to what we do in Texas. It isn't all about BBQ and Tex Mex.
Bravotv.com: What was the first thing you did/ate when you got home?
PQ: Absolutely nothing. Bravotv.com: You’ve stayed pretty out of the fray the entire season — what did you think of all the stuff going on around you with Heather, Beverly, etc?
PQ: It wasn't cool.
Bravotv.com: What are your plans for SXSW?
PQ: Sadly I'm missing the first week of SXSW. I'll be in Manila for my cousin's wedding. Party, party, party the second week. Oh, and get my butt kicked from East Side King.
Bravotv.com: And, I’m sure all your fans want to know if you’re still with your girlfriend.
PQ: Of course! She's the best!
Bravtov.com: Any message you’d like to send to your fans?
PQ: Thank you for all your support. Keep pushing in whatever it is you do. Eat more raw fish!!!