The 2018 Guide to Good Health is here! FIND LOCAL DOCTORS & HEAR FROM EXPERTS close

Rock-Star Chef

Google+ Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr +

Top chef Paul Qui wins James Beard Award, bringing it to Austin for a second consecutive year / By Russell Pawlowski

Here is a recipe for a rock-star chef:

1. Depart Austin for the Kentucky Derby. Embrace the pageantry and take in a little Southern flair.

2. Hob nob with celebrities, watch the ponies run, throw in a pinch of relaxation on Millionaire’s Row.

3. Jump on a plane and head to New York City for the presentation of the James Beard Foundation Awards, the veritable Super Bowl of the culinary world.

4. Win the James Beard Award.

5. Breathe.

6. Add heat. Hit New York City to celebrate with friends.

7. Jump on a plane to Paris.

8. Answer press requests with staccato-like efficiency via iPhone from the luxury of your Paris hotel suite. Simmer.

9. Create a designer sushi-flavored breakfast cereal with Kanye West.

10. Eventually return to Austin to a cornucopia of rumors about what is next.

(OK, so number nine may be a slight fabrication for the time being, but I am sure that at some point in the future, phone numbers will be exchanged, text messages will fly, and the next thing you know, we will see a picture of Chef Qui smiling over a bowl of Louis Vuitton Breakfast Bites. You heard it here first. )

So anyone with a television set and basic cable knows what Top Chef is, right? It’s Bravo’s hit culinary competition that somehow always makes you believe that you have the ability to walk to your kitchen and create beef wellington out of tuna fish, orange juice and a few hot sauce packets from Taco Bell. Admittedly, the sole reason I initially watched was Padma Lakshmi (worth the time to Google), but I was quickly drawn in, namely because season two contestant Frankie “The Bull” Terzoli was a drinking buddy of mine back in San Diego. Damn you, Frankie! If you only knew back then how to make that quiche on the beach in episode seven, I would have had the pleasure of enjoying the culinary creations of two Top Chef winners. I digest. Err, I mean digress.

The show is great and, yes, there it is, a test of a chef’s skills. But think of it as more of a backyard Olympics filmed by your creepy uncle who has really great video-editing skills and knows the value of product placement. The James Beard Awards are very much the real deal. They are absolutely The Oscars of the culinary world, and the winners are voted on by 600 of their peers. How you look on camera has nothing to do with these awards, although I am sure that Tom Colicchio has one of those 600 votes.

Qui’s response to which one he enjoyed winning more? “Both,” he says. “It’s impossible for me to compare the two experiences. I didn’t expect to win on a first-time nomination. I was just soaking up the moment of being around chefs that I admire.”

A very diplomatic response, but rest assured, the James Beard Award provides our hometown sushi phenom with enough street cred to ensure that he will be around for years to come. Just ask the 2011 Southwest James Beard Award winner, Tyson Cole. Yep. Qui’s sensei in the sushi realm was the winner last year. Two James Beard winners out of Cole’s Uchi Kitchen? Beyond impressive. So what’s next?

I pressured the jet-lagged Qui for the scoop on the rumors of the a new restaurant, hoping he would crack under the lack of sleep. Unfortunately he did not. My gut instincts tells me to be on the lookout for the following:

1. We are not losing him to Dallas or Houston.

2. A bricks-and-mortar establishment to follow along the same menu as Qui’s very popular East Side Kings. If you’ve never enjoyed a couple of cold beers at Liberty Bar on the Eastside then wandered to the back of the beer garden to the ESK food trailer and ordered Tongue Buns—roasted beef tongue in steamed buns, homemade peanut-butter curry, fresh basil, cilantro, mint, onion and jalapeño—well darlin’, you have not experienced the joy that $7 can bring you in Austin.

A lower-cost establishment. Uchiko is great, but the price point surpasses what many Austin residents can afford. I’m betting on a lower-cost option still showcasing Qui’s talents. My advice would be to grab a date and start camping out now for a reservation. Want to splurge on a night out and see just why Qui won both Top Chef and the 2012 James Beard Award? Head over to Uchiko for the chef ’s omakase (literally translated from Japanese, it means “I’ll leave it to you.”) Sample everything without prejudice and enjoy. A recent trip yielded the following results:

Kusshi oysters with green strawberry sorbet: The absolute flavor of the ocean with just the perfect amount of sweetness. I imagine this is what a peck on the cheek from a mermaid would feel like.

Mada nigiri: Japanese sea bream, shiso, Meyer lemon zest, olive oil. Japanese sea bream has the perfect consistency and mild flavor. It’s a favorite go-to staple for Qui. If you are new to sushi, please allow this to be your entry drug.

Hama chili: yellowtail, Thai chili, orange supremes. Admittedly, I’ve eaten enough yellowtail in my life to make Nemo cringe. I was already looking forward to the next dishes.

Sakana mushi: steamed loup de mer, galangal, kaffir lime, hon shimeji, tomato. Imagine the best Thai dish you’ve ever had: spicy, with a broth that warms you through your lungs and in to your sinuses.

Nasu nigiri: Japanese eggplant with lemon miso. I had no idea that it was actually eggplant. Vegans, here you go.

Brussels sprouts: crispy Brussels sprouts with lemon chili. The Brussels sprouts at Uchiko are second to none. I loathed eating this vegetable as a child. Now in my mid 30s, I am 87 percent sure that I would kill a man for a bowl of Uchiko’s lemon chili Brussels as I type this.

Saba sashimi: Norwegian mackerel, tomato, cucumber, myoga. Leave this one to the professionals. Strong. Bold flavor.

Pork jowl: Brussels-sprouts kimchee, preserved- lemon crème fraiche, romaine. Add the most delicate cut of pork to the vegetable that the restaurant knows best. Perhaps one of the best dishes of the tasting, and I guarantee that this is the direction Qui’s new restaurant will go. Sample now. Believe later.

Gyutan toro: grilled beef tongue toro with fish caramel. If you are a sushi lover, then you know that toro is the king of the menu. If you brave the market price, then you know that this cut of tuna really does melt in your mouth. Sample the gyutan toro and know the same feeling, only this time you’re on land. I guarantee you will never be afraid of this cut of meat again.

Hungry yet? Between each course, cleanse your palate with a cold, crisp white wine or unfiltered sake. The variations of texture and flavor make the experience worth every penny. Take your time. Talk to your date. Converse. Criticize. Critique. Keep in mind you are walking through an art gallery. Each creation is a small work of art that the chef has prepared for you using the freshest ingredients. There will be some work that you are immediately drawn to, perhaps a love of yellowtail or Brussels sprouts. It’s OK not to like certain things. Recently, a friend noted the strong taste of the Norwegian mackerel. Invariably, this is a very oily fish that comes across with a bold flavor. The next course? Pork jowl with kimchee, the perfect punch of savory saltiness to whisk her away from her mackerel experience.

Safe travels on your victory tour, Chef Qui. Hurry on back to Austin. We have no problem loaning you temporarily to the rest of the world, but much like the next course, we are eagerly waiting to see what you dish up next.

Share.

457 Comments

  1. Quinn Brady on

    I wasn’t fan of sushi until I started eating at Uchi and Uchiko. I am officially in love now. Great article Russell!

  2. Thank you for some other wonderful post. Where else may just anybody get that type of info in such an ideal way of writing? I have a presentation subsequent week, and I am on the search for such info.

  3. The Birch of the Shadow I feel there may be considered a few duplicates, but an exceedingly helpful list! I have tweeted this. Numerous thanks for sharing!

  4. It as not that I want to copy your web site, but I really like the pattern. Could you let me know which design are you using? Or was it custom made?

  5. Only a smiling visitant here to share the love (:, btw outstanding style and design. Reading well is one of the great pleasures that solitude can afford you. by Harold Bloom.

  6. magnificent issues altogether, you simply won a new reader. What might you recommend in regards to your submit that you simply made a few days ago? Any positive?

  7. The reality is you ought to just stop smoking period and deal using the withdrawals. *I was quite happy to find this web-site.I wished to thanks for the time for this great read!!

  8. I simply could not leave your website before suggesting that I extremely enjoyed the standard info an individual supply to your guests? Is going to be again ceaselessly in order to inspect new posts.

  9. I was recommended this website by my cousin. I am not sure whether this post is written by him as nobody else know such detailed about my problem. You are amazing! Thanks!

  10. Some truly nice and utilitarian info on this web site, as well I conceive the style and design contains good features.

  11. You can certainly see your enthusiasm within the work you write. The sector hopes for even more passionate writers like you who aren at afraid to say how they believe. All the time follow your heart.

  12. This blog is really cool and besides diverting. I have picked many useful tips out of this source. I ad love to come back again soon. Thanks a bunch!

  13. What as up to all, I am also in fact keen of learning PHP programming, however I am new one, I forever used to examine content related to Personal home page programming.

  14. This very blog is obviously awesome and diverting. I have found a lot of interesting tips out of this blog. I ad love to go back over and over again. Thanks a lot!

  15. You made some really good points there. I looked on the web for more info about the issue and found most individuals will go along with your views on this site.

  16. Spot on with this write-up, I actually feel this site needs a great deal more attention. I all probably be back again to read more, thanks for the information!

  17. Wow, marvelous blog layout! How long have you been blogging for? you made blogging look easy. The overall look of your web site is magnificent, as well as the content!

  18. Wow, marvelous blog format! How long have you ever been running a blog for? you made blogging glance easy. The overall look of your website is magnificent, let alone the content material!

  19. Wohh exactly what I was searching for, regards for putting up. Be nice to everyone on your way to the top because you pass them all on the way down. by Fred Hufnagel, Sr..

  20. uvb treatment There are a lot of blogging sites dedicated to celebrities (ex. Perez Hilton), love, fashion, travel, and food. But, how do I start one of my own specialty?.

  21. Normally I don at learn article on blogs, however I wish to say that this write-up very compelled me to check out and do it! Your writing taste has been amazed me. Thank you, quite nice article.

  22. It as not that I want to duplicate your web-site, but I really like the style and design. Could you tell me which theme are you using? Or was it especially designed?

  23. This particular blog is obviously educating and also factual. I have found many helpful things out of this amazing blog. I ad love to go back every once in a while. Thanks a bunch!

  24. You have made some really good points there. I looked on the web for additional information about the issue and found most individuals will go along with your views on this web site.

  25. Wow! This can be one particular of the most helpful blogs We ave ever arrive across on this subject. Actually Wonderful. I am also a specialist in this topic so I can understand your hard work.

  26. It as really a great and useful piece of information. I am glad that you shared this useful information with us. Please keep us up to date like this. Thanks for sharing.

  27. You made some good points there. I looked on the internet for the subject matter and found most persons will go along with with your site.

  28. Wonderful blog! I found it while searching on Yahoo News. Do you have any tips on how to get listed in Yahoo News? I ave been trying for a while but I never seem to get there! Many thanks

  29. This is really interesting, You are a very skilled blogger. I ave joined your feed and look forward to seeking more of your fantastic post. Also, I have shared your website in my social networks!

  30. This blog is definitely entertaining and factual. I have picked up a bunch of interesting advices out of this blog. I ad love to come back again and again. Thanks a bunch!

  31. Truly appreciate the posting you made available.. Great thought processes you possess here.. sure, investigation is paying off. Enjoy the entry you offered..

  32. My brother recommended I might like this blog. He was totally right. This post actually made my day. You can not imagine simply how much time I had spent for this information! Thanks!

  33. I’а†ve read various exceptional stuff right here. Surely worth bookmarking for revisiting. I surprise how lots try you set to produce this sort of great informative internet site.

  34. whoah this weblog is wonderful i like reading your articles. Keep up the good paintings! You already know, many people are looking around for this information, you can help them greatly.

  35. You made some decent factors there. I appeared on the internet for the difficulty and located most people will go along with along with your website.

  36. You could definitely see your skills within the paintings you write. The arena hopes for more passionate writers such as you who aren at afraid to say how they believe. At all times follow your heart.

  37. It’а†s actually a nice and useful piece of information. I’а†m satisfied that you shared this useful information with us. Please keep us up to date like this. Thank you for sharing.

  38. This very blog is obviously entertaining and besides informative. I have chosen a bunch of interesting stuff out of this amazing blog. I ad love to visit it again soon. Cheers!

  39. Wow! This blog looks exactly like my old one! It as on a completely different topic but it has pretty much the same layout and design. Excellent choice of colors!

  40. What as up, after reading this remarkable piece of writing i am as well delighted to share my know-how here with colleagues.

  41. What a funny blog! I in fact enjoyed watching this humorous video with my relatives as well as along with my friends.

  42. You made some decent points there. I looked on the internet for the subject and found most people will go along with with your site.

  43. Wow, amazing blog layout! How long have you been blogging for? you make blogging look easy. The overall look of your website is magnificent, let alone the content!

  44. Keep up the superb piece of work, I read few posts on this website and I conceive that your website is very interesting and holds lots of excellent information.

  45. This very blog is no doubt cool and informative. I have chosen many interesting things out of this blog. I ad love to visit it again soon. Thanks a bunch!

  46. Your style is really unique compared to other people I ave read stuff from. Many thanks for posting when you have the opportunity, Guess I will just book mark this blog.

  47. I savor, lead to I discovered exactly what I was taking a look for. You ave ended my four day long hunt! God Bless you man. Have a nice day. Bye

  48. You definitely know how to bring an issue to light and make it important. I cant believe youre not more popular because you definitely have the gift.

  49. I and also my guys were viewing the nice information located on the blog then suddenly came up with an awful suspicion I had not thanked the blog owner for those tips. These people came so warmed to read all of them and have in effect actually been using them. Thanks for getting so thoughtful and for choosing this kind of nice topics most people are really desperate to understand about. Our own honest apologies for not expressing gratitude to sooner.

  50. It`s really useful! Looking through the Internet you can mostly observe watered down information, something like bla bla bla, but not here to my deep surprise. It makes me happy..!

  51. You have made some decent points there. I checked on the web to find out more about the issue and found most individuals will go along with your views on this site.

Leave A Reply

Banner