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Best New Chefs

Paul Qui on Costco Cooking and His Favorite Hot Sauce

Best New Chef 2014 Paul Qui

Photo © William Hereford

Chef Paul Qui of Austin's Qui is one of Food & Wine's amazing 2014 Best New Chefs. Here, he reveals his current obsessions.

The Philippines

I was born in Manila and lived there until I was 10. All the cultures that inspire Filipino cuisine—Spanish, Japanese, Chinese—influenced me. But I didn’t appreciate Filipino cooking for a while. My parents would take me to Costco for food that I could microwave. I didn’t get into good cooking until I was in my late twenties.

Food Trucks

When I launched the first East Side King truck in 2009, I was chef de cuisine at Uchi. The original truck kitchen was eight-by-six feet. I’d go there every night after I closed Uchi; on weekends, I’d work 16 hours a day. It was a lot of fun, but I don’t know how I did it. I’d take off my chef coat, put on an apron and get to work.


My friend Peelander-Yellow paints all the East Side King trucks. He’s in a Japanese punk band from New York City called Peelander-Z. His imagination is crazy and his work is so refreshing and fun. He designed our website, too.

Commercial Condiments

I look at ingredient lists on the labels of my favorite condiments to understand the breakdown of flavors. I especially love Tabasco, Jufran banana sauce, Crystal hot sauce, Kewpie mayonnaise, Red Boat fish sauce, Bull-Dog tonkatsu sauce, Heinz ketchup, Maggi seasoning and Colman’s mustard.

Related: Best New Chefs: 25 Years of Recipes
Paul Qui's Midnight Suppers
Insider Austin Travel Guide: Top Chef’s Paul Qui Loves BBQ and Vietnamese Sandwiches

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