Andrew Zimmern, in a recent interview with an Andrew Harper staff member, poetically and animatedly described his dining experience at the Austin, Texas, rightfully popular Qui restaurant. Zimmern's kind words about chef and restaurant owner Paul Qui reflect both the support and appreciation felt amongst chefs in the tightly knit culinary industry. We chose to reserve this portion of the interview in anticipation of an exciting announcement: next week, as part of our Summer Food and Drink Series, we will share an interview with Paul Qui.
Please enjoy the delight that Zimmern found in Paul Qui's Filipino flavors and point of view in the interview excerpt below.
ANDREW HARPER STAFF (AHS): If you had to narrow it down, what is your favorite food city?
ANDREW ZIMMERN: I happen to be a big fan of Filipino food. I think that Manila is underrated in terms of food in the Philippines.
AHS: Paul Qui’s hometown.
AZ: Yeah, that’s right. We were just eating [at Qui] last night. Here is something really dorky: I almost started tearing up when I ate his pulutan, his bar snack food.
AHS: It doesn’t sound dorky to me. His food is that good.
AZ: Well, it wasn’t really the why. It was just that, I've been talking about Filipino food culture for 15 years and have been ignored. Then, every year for the last five years I've been saying this is going to be the next big thing. Someone two years ago said to me, “You keep talking to me about Filipino food as the next big thing. What do you think it’s going to take to break into the public conscience?” I said, “There is going to be a chef who cooks at a higher level than others, who puts Filipino food at the front of his menu, not at the back, and that is going to reshape the destiny of how Americans look at that food for the next 20 years.” And that is Paul’s restaurant. I’ve known Paul for about four or five years now. He’s a great young man, and I just can’t say enough about Qui restaurant. He’s very passionate; great point of view. He has taken that food that he loves – that is really him – and he has put it front and center. And I think that’s awesome.