It’s not a trip to Austin without sampling some of the best local cuisine the town has to offer. Armed with our best appetite, we stopped by SouthBites, a food truck courtyard curated by Top Chef season 9 winner Paul Qui. The Austin local tells us the food truck gathering is a collection of things he enjoys eating, but what we want to know most is how to gear up our kitchen like a Top Chef would. And surprisingly? Qui’s a big fan of electric induction appliances.
Digital Trends: Not everyone can cook like a Top Chef, but we sure as heck wanna look like one. What would a Top Chef dream kitchen have?
Paul: For cooking equipments, I definitely want a Gastrovac, Pacojet, a freeze dryer, centrifuge … I’m a big fan of induction, actually. It’s slightly more expensive than what we can afford in the kitchen right now but I really like running electrical equipment in the kitchen. It’s a lot cleaner.
DT: That seems to be the opposite reaction people have – most people say they want fire and gas burners.
Paul: I love working with gas and wood, so I would do a combination of both. I have three Green Egg [smoker grills] in the restaurant – so you gotta combine high and low: Old school and new school altogether. I like the flavor from smoke, but at the same time I enjoy the convenience of electrical equipment. With the technology these days, for me, it’s not about fire to bring out flavors; there are other ways to extract flavors from things.
DT: One of DT’s fascinations with cooking is molecular gastronomy, which you’ve dabbled with during your run on the show. Do you like cooking in that style?
Paul: I do quite a bit of molecular gastronomy, I use it for very practical reasons and try out different techniques. As far as a modernist’s approach towards food, I do a lot of monochromatic style of cuisine. I used to do Roy G. Biv-inspired tastings where each plate is based on primary colors. I just like to play with food, so any new technique, I’m always game.
DT: What’s one must-have cooking equipment I should own if I want to attempt things Top Chef style?
Paul: I’m a big fan of the Vitamix blender – you can do so many things with it. It’s a very handy tool.