What was going through Paul Qui's head when Padma Lakshmi named him Top Chef? "I was honestly so tired that I think I missed it and I had a really delayed reaction," he tells TVGuide.com. "But then I realized she [said my name] and I was super excited." In addition to his big win over Sarah, the Austin-based chef set a record this season for most elimination challenges wins (eight) and won another $60,000 on top of his $125,000 grand prize. How does he plan on using the money? And why is he so calm, cool and collected? Find out below.
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Congratulations! The judges kept reiterating that it was really close. Did it feel that way to you?
Paul: Thanks! Yeah. I didn't have any idea. I wanted to win, but it could've gone either way. You never know what's going to make or break it and sometimes you still don't.
Your dad was adorable crying on the side after you won.
Paul: Oh yeah! I've never seen my dad cry like that. It was pretty...
[SPOILER ALERT: The following story reveals the winner of Top Chef Season 9. Read at your own risk.]
After trekking through Texas and enduring more all-nighters and meat challenges than you can imagine, Paul Qui and Sarah Grueneberg faced off for the last time for the Top Chef Season 9 title.
Overseasoning a dish is pretty unforgiveable on Top Chef, but "Malibu" Chris Crary didn't think his ultra-salty rub for his team's barbeque meat would doom him. "I knew I made a mistake, but I didn't think it was going to be me at all," he tells TVGuide.com. "I was pretty surprised. It seemed pretty close between the five of us." Alas, the resident eye candy got eliminated — but not before we got an eyeful of his favorite non-cooking pastime: painting naked women. See what "Malibu" Chris has to say about his hobby, Beverly's RV fire and more.
Chuy Valencia won the first two elimination challenges on Top Chef, but he couldn't make it a three-peat. Instead, the Chicago-based chef got the boot after overcooking his salmon with goat cheese dish. "I knew I was screwed so I was expecting it," he tells TVGuide.com. "It's hard to forgive overcooking something." Find out when he realized it all had gone wrong and why he's happy he got eliminated.
Keith Rhodes became the first to pack his knives and go on Top Chef: Texas after he used flour tortillas in his enchilada instead of corn tortillas and, most unforgivably, bought pre-cooked shrimp for teammate Lindsay. The North Carolina-based chef admits the purchase was "not the best decision," but thinks things could've turned out differently had Lindsay and Sarah not thrown him under the bus and "kept rolling over me" by harping about the shrimp at Judges' Table. But why did he buy the shrimp in the first place? Read on.
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Why did you buy the pre-cooked shrimp? Was it really a money issue?
Keith: Well, one thing that I'm really adamant about stressing ...