Paul Qui was named Esquire’s Chef of the Year 2014, and was selected as one of Food & Wine magazine’s 2014 Best New Chefs and Top 10 Empire Builders of 2012. Paul is the recipient of the James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef: Southwest 2012, winner of Top Chef Season 9, and winner of the San Pellegrino Cooking Cup 2013. In 2013, Paul was honored by the Texas Legislature for his work and achievements as a chef and restaurateur, and also joined the prestigious ment’or BKB Foundation Culinary Council (formerly Bocuse d’Or USA). His former restaurant, qui, received the honor of Best New Restaurant in America, 2014 by GQ. Additionally, Thai-Kun, a food truck co-owned and operated by Paul, was named one of Bon Appétit magazine’s Best New Restaurants in America 2014.
Born in Manila, Philippines and trained in classic French and Japanese cuisine, Paul takes a modernist approach towards food, where there are no boundaries. Starting as an intern, Paul worked his way up the ranks of Uchi to Chef de Cuisine and later opened Uchiko as Executive Chef. While training under Uchi Chef and Owner Tyson Cole, Paul learned to adapt traditional Japanese dishes with an eye towards local flavor, all while incorporating influences from South East Asian and European cuisine.
Paul is currently the chef/owner of restaurant Kuneho. He is also the co-founder and chef/owner of East Side King and Thai-Kun, a group of Asian-inspired street food trailers and restaurants in Austin, TX. In December 2015, Paul opened his first project outside of Texas, Pao, located in Faena Hotel Miami Beach. Otoko, his 12-seat omakase sushi restaurant, opened in Austin’s South Congress Hotel in March 2016.