It’s official, Austin now has two James Beard Award winners. Monday night, at the 2012 James Beard Awards, Uchiko’s Paul Qui won the award for Best Chef: Southwest, bringing both Uchi and Uchiko another feather in its perpetually growing culinary cap.
The distinguished award, often referred to as an Oscar of the culinary world comes after Qui’s recent win of Bravo TV’s Top Chef and only a year after boss, mentor and long-time friend, Tyson Cole won the same award at the same celebratory event.
“I’m so thrilled for Paul,” says Tyson Cole chef/owner of Uchi and Uchiko. “This is a huge affirmation of all of the hard work he has done over the years and I couldn’t be more proud.”
Qui was in the company of culinary greats as myriad esteemed chefs walked the stage to accept an award. Among them included Christina Tosi, pastry chef for Momofuku Milk Bar who took the honor of Rising Star Chef of the Year and Daniel Humm of Eleven Madison Park in New York.
The win marks yet another occasion for Austin to celebrate its rising status as a first-rate culinary town. While the future is unknown for Qui — will he stay on with Uchiko for a while or cut ties completely and start his own place — based on the steady commentary on Twitter and Facebook, the current vibe among his wide fan base of Austinites is elation and pride.