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Chef Paul Qui: ''The Quality of the Ingredient Dictates my Dish''

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Chef Paul Qui: ''The Quality of the Ingredient Dictates my Dish''

Fine dining and the art of sailing will be the highlights of the upcoming 2013 S.Pellegrino Cooking Cup to be held in Venice June 14-15th.

The 12-mile regatta for foodies features an exciting competition among 10 chefs vying for the prestigiuos Acqua Panna & S.Pellegrino Young Chef of the Year 2013. As sailors race between Lido in Venice to the Island of San Giorgio, chefs will be below deck preparing their best signature dishes for the judges.

In anticipation of the grand event, we'd like to introduce you to some of the talented young chefs who will go head to head for the big prize.

Meet Paul Qui, a chef from Austin, Texas. You may recognize the 32-year old as the winner of Top Chef season 9 but there's a lot you don't know about him. His much-anticipated Qui Restaurant will finally open on June 20th. Here's what he revealed about his life and career:

Describe your cooking style with three keywords 
Simple, concise, umami.

Which is the first taste you remember and why?
Yeast and butter. My family owned a bakery in Camiling, a province of Manila, Philippines. I remember smelling bread baking in the morning whenever I visited my family there.

If you were a dish, which one would you be?
A piece of nigiri. I love the simplicity and complexity of a great piece of sushi.

Which is the dish you prefer to prepare and the one you prefer to eat?
I prefer to prepare seafood dishes and I prefer to eat comforting foods.

Who or what is your main source of inspiration? A flavor, a situation, a dish you tried... And why?
My main source of inspiration usually starts with the ingredient, because the quality of the ingredient will dictate the potential of a dish. 

Tradition and innovation: which is the relationship with these words, and how is it applied to your cuisine?
Innovation is a means to creating new traditions. Innovation to me works along side tradition to create delicious foods. It is impossible to have innovation without tradition.

What is fine dining for you? How do you think new generations are changing this idea and making it evolve? 
Fine dining to me is dictated more by the service style. New generations are changing this by serving fine dining level cuisine in more casual settings.

Which will be, according to you, the next big trend related to food and conviviality?
Going back to the classics and revisiting old school techniques.

If you weren’t a chef, what would you be?

Year 2050: what food do you think we’ll bring to our table?
Sea creatures not yet known to us and yes...bugs.

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