It’s a whole new ballgame for the competing chefs on Bravo’s Top Chef: Texas.

Paul Qui’s love of food began as a child with the “sweet smells of freshly baked breads in the morn­ings and the diverse culture of the Philip­pines” that he found in the bustling bakery of his family’s grocery store.

Qui moved to Spring­field, Virginia at the age of ten and then on to Houston to attend college. Qui spent his colle­giate years waiting tables at several restau­rants, igniting his passion for food and his curiosity about the restau­rant busi­ness.

This growing enchant­ment with cuisine led Qui to Austin’s Texas Culi­nary Academy in 2003 and ulti­mately to Uchi…as a customer: “I was intro­duced to Uchi by a friend – I was so impressed with my meal there that I asked if I could work in the kitchen for free,” recalls Qui. When Cole offered Qui a job, every­thing just seemed to fall into place. “I’ve worked for him going on three and a half years now, and I have gained a tremen­dous amount of knowl­edge both in the kitchen and the sushi bar,” said Qui.