The Austin-based James Beard Award-winning chef, who recently opened Pao by Paul Qui at the ritzy Faena Miami Beach, was arrested Saturday morning in Austin on charges of "unlawful restraint" and "assault causing bodily injury to a family member."
KXAN television broke the story, and New Times' sister publication Houston Press provided further coverage.
According to the arrest affidavit, Qui was taken into custody at 7:46 a.m. March 19 after Austin police responded to a disturbance-with-violence call that suggested that a male and female couple was fighting inside the apartment and breaking things and yelling.
Upon entering the apartment, officers found it "in complete disarray and furniture and glass were broken and/or turned over throughout the apartment." The officers also observed blood smeared on the walls and floors.
According to the affidavit,
Qui then allegedly kicked his friends out of the apartment, leaving himself alone with Rodriguez and her son. Qui then "became enraged and started knocking over furniture, shelves, tables, and breaking glass all over the apartment." When Rodriguez tried to exit the apartment with her son, Qui blocked her path, "forcibly pushing her away from the door or pushing her on to the floor."
Qui was released on bail the same day. According to the arrest affidavit, bond was set at $5,000 by the Magistrate Court of Travis County, Texas.
Qui later issued a statement to Austin360.com saying he would seek treatment:
“On Saturday morning, I asked my friend to call the police to aid in an argument with my girlfriend that had escalated beyond my control. I was arrested and charged with two misdemeanors. I am innocent of the charge of assault. This situation made me realize that I need to take more time for my health and myself. I will be checking myself into a treatment facility in the coming days, and I am appreciative of the support of my family, friends and partners. Thank you for respecting my privacy.”Qui won the James Beard Award for Best Chef: Southwest in 2012 while at Uchiko in Austin. He also won Top Chef season nine. In December 2015, Qui opened Pao by Paul Qui at the Faena, which features both modern Asian cuisine and a golden unicorn sculpted by Damien Hirst.
The 35-year-old chef also has a history of drug abuse. In an essay published in Vice titled "How I Went From Being a Terrible Drug Dealer to Top Chef," Qui states he sold drugs as an art major in college.
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