Last night, Bravo television’s Top Chef Season 9 came to an end in a rightful and righteous win for contestant Paul Qui. Unlike previous seasons when unkind and lowly people won the top title, Paul’s win was necessary and appropriate for a continuation of that series franchise.
Unlike his final competition, Sarah Grueneberg, Paul Qui was always kind in every situation, immensely likable, and appropriately talented to take the top title. Paul was consistent and he wowed the judges by being precise in planning and insanely accurate in creating interesting tastes.
Paul Qui is executive chef at Uchiko restaurant in Austin, Texas. 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 a stage, Paul worked his way up the ranks of Uchi to Chef de Cuisine and eventually Executive Chef at Uchiko. 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.
The sad substructure of Top Chef season 9 was the story of abuse victim Beverly Kim and how she was similarly emotionally abused by others on the show. Beverly was a little odd and curious and she was an unfortunate, but convenient, punching bag for other contestants — like Sarah Grueneberg — who picked on her for sick pleasure even though Beverly was clearly the superior chef and person. It was uncomfortable watching how Beverly was mocked and denied and belittled throughout the season and it was painful hearing how others on the show continuously stabbed her in the back.
We came to hate Sarah Grueneberg as the season progressed because we realized early on what she still needs to publicly confess: She is an ugly person with a rotten heart and every intention she has is cutting and self-motivated. We rooted against her every step. We hoped for her demise, and when she made the finals, we were certain Bravo would, once again, pick the anti-winner, anoint the eternally bad energy, and the bad guy would win the day.
It was such a pleasure watching Paul win last night. A shocked Sarah was in tears — not just because she lost big time, but because she had to know somewhere in her precipitous mind how her nasty personality and haughty treatment of Beverly, and others, lost her the most important day of her life. What a catharsis for us washed in her insincere sobbing!
I congratulate Bravo and the Top Chef judges for finally giving us a season nine winner we can love and support and believe in to the end; and we know Paul Qui will be one of the best winners in the history of show because we have already experienced his eternally good heart that fed us all season long.