Austin celebrity chef Paul Qui will not go to trial on May 1. As first reported by the Houston Chronicle, Caldwell County District Attorney Fred Weber announced on Friday, April 27, that all criminal charges related to an alleged 2016 domestic assault were being dismissed, after Qui’s girlfriend "declined to participate as a witness."
The Top Chef winner was arrested on March 19, 2016, after police received a call related to a domestic disturbance involving Qui and his then-girlfriend. According to the arrest report, officers arrived on the scene to find turned-over furniture and broken glass scattered across Qui’s apartment and "blood smeared on the walls and floor."
The affidavit said that partying turned violent after Qui accused his friends of flirting with his girlfriend. The girlfriend told police that Qui forcibly tried to prevent her and her son from leaving the apartment by throwing her and pushing her to the floor.
At the time, she reported pain in the knee, arm, and hip, and the responding officers noted a cut, bruising, and a swollen jaw. Qui was arrested on the scene on suspicion of two Class A misdemeanors: unlawful restraint and assault causing bodily injury to a family member.
The trial, however, saw several delays and changes, including being transferred from Travis County prosecutors to Caldwell County's Weber. According to the Houston Chronicle, Qui’s lawyer, Christopher Gunter, previously said that the girlfriend had signed a nonprosecution affidavit, a statement "in which the alleged victim in a criminal case expresses a desire to halt prosecution."
Following the incident, Qui has been largely silent in Austin, save for an interview in the Austin American-Statesman. His flagship East Austin restaurant, Qui, shuttered in September 2016. A reboot of sorts, Kuneho, did not last a full year.
But the name still seems to have currency in other cities, including Pao by Paul Qui in Miami Beach and Aqui in Houston, the latter of which was the subject of fierce post #metoo debate. In February, it was announced that he would soon be involved in another project, "Japanese-style taqueria" Tacqui, in Richardson.
CultureMap has reached out to Weber and Gunter for comment and will update this story as it develops.