Besides holding the champion title and being $125,000 richer, Qui now faces a higher public profile than he's ever held before. Whether you watch the show or now, there's no doubt you'll be seeing much more of him — so here are a few things you should know about the newly crowned Top Chef.
- He's a James Beard Award semifinalist. Qui's been nominated as a semifinalist for the Best Chef: Southwest award and will find out if he's a finalist come March 19. Qui was named a semifinalist in the Rising Star Chef award category last year but didn't make it to the finalist round. Perhaps this year's TV win will give him the extra edge?
- He hopes to expand his culinary presence. Qui has expressed interest in opening an eatery in New York someday.
For more on Qui, keep reading.
- His last name rhymes with "knee." In case you're ever in a room alone with him, here's a heads up that his last name, Qui, is pronounced "kee," not "chee" or "kwee."
- He's a little camera-shy. Check out a video demo of sea bass sashimi that he did back in May 2011. He gets a little tripped up by the lens, apologizing briefly, saying, "Sorry, I'm a little nervous." We're pretty sure Top Chef has helped with some of that onscreen shyness.
- He grew up running down the aisles of a grocery store. According to Uchiko's website, Qui grew up with the "sweet smells of freshly baked breads in the mornings" in his parents' Manila market.
- His passion's not just for food. "My passion is partly for food, but a lot of it's definitely for the industry," he said in his intro video.
- In a past life, he sold a lot of weed. Yes, it's true: the chef sold weed from the ages of 15 to 22. He pursued a culinary career when he decided he needed to do something more with his life.
- He's very close to his knives. Knives are important to this sushi chef, who polishes his knives on a polishing stone for 10 minutes each day. According to Qui, his knives are very close to him. His words, not ours!
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Photo courtesy of Bravo