Top Chef Season 9 winner Paul Qui and fourth runner-up Edward Lee dazzled a large seated crowd at Asia Nine for a ticketed “Asian Fusion Redefined” cooking demonstration on Saturday (tickets sold out weeks ago).
Fans of the hit Bravo TV show, whose 9th season was held in Texas with finale episodes in British Columbia, were treated with wine pairings to a three-course dinner, two cooked by the Top Chef stars and a third by Asia Nine’s executive chef.
Following the lunch, the chefs fielded questions from the audience about the show and their plans for the years ahead after Top Chef. One fan asked if the chefs liked the show’s newest feature, Last Chance Kitchen, a new way for ‘cheftestants’ to earn a spot back on the show by beating other defeated chefs. “I’m not that much of a fan,” joked Lee, who was eliminated in the same episode in which Beverly Kim was allowed back into the contest. “I didn’t mind it too much,” Qui then joked, which prompted laughter from the audience.
Paul Qui was very much the hometown hero in Top Chef Season 9, having moved from the Philippines to Springfield, VA at age 10. When asked about his favorite DC restaurants growing up, Qui named the famous DC insider spot Peking Gourmet Inn, a favorite of the Bush family, US generals and visiting diplomats.
Edward Lee prepared a delicious quick-fried squid and bacon salad with ginger-apple zest, which was served paired with an Italian Prosecco. Qui followed up with a green curry mussels dish, topped with spiced potato chips and basil and paired with a Californian sauvignon blanc. Both were to die for.
Asia Nine chef Rod Yotmanee served perfectly braised short ribs, a staple of Asia Nine, the modern Asian fusion restaurant located near the spy museum in the heart of downtown DC at 915 E Street NW.
[Paul Qui] [Edward Lee]
DC is home to several former Top Chef contestants, who seek to take advantage of DC’s booming fine-dining industry. Among the former notable contestants are Spike Mendelsohn (Good Stuff Eatery), Art Smith (Art and Soul), Mike Isabella (Graffiato), and Carla Hall (Alchemy). Brian Voltaggio (Volt) is based in nearby Frederick, MD.
[top, group photos by Hannah Colclazier]