Austin chef and past Top Chef winner Paul Qui was arrested Saturday morning on domestic violence charges. An arrest warrant affidavit says officers responding to a 911 call found his girlfriend weeping with a child in her arms and blood smeared on the walls and floor of his apartment.
Qui, who won Season 9 of Top Chef, was arrested and charged with unlawful restraint and assault causing bodily injury to a family member, according to KXAN. An affidavit obtained by the station says that the victim told police she was asleep with her young son when Qui came home with friends and “began partaking of drugs and alcohol:”
The victim told police “Qui is very controlling and extremely jealous.” The victim said she had been asleep with her son when Qui and his friends came home and began partaking in drugs and alcohol before waking her up and asking her to join the partying. The victim said she agreed and joined the party, having a couple of drinks before she said an intoxicated Qui began accusing his friends of flirting with her before kicking them all out, continued in the affidavit.
The victim then stated Qui became enraged and began knocking over furniture and breaking glass. She then grabbed some of her things and tried to leave with her son, but said Qui “stood in front of the door” and blocked her exit and “forcibly pushed her and her son away.”
The victim also told police Qui threw her against the walls and doors of the apartment while telling her she couldn’t leave. The affidavit says he admitted to responding officers that he “held” the woman to prevent her from leaving, “because he wanted the police to come and see all the damage in the apartment.”
Qui wrote an essay for Vice’s food section in 2015 about getting in trouble “a lot” before he became a chef, calling himself a former “terrible drug dealer”:
As an art major in college, I was waiting tables to make money, then started selling drugs before I realized I was a bad drug dealer. I woke up one morning and there was dog shit all over the floor; people that I didn’t know were passed out in my house. I started wondering, What am I going to do with my life?
Back then, Austin had the shortest and cheapest culinary program, so I decided to move there with a friend who was a DJ. I was so broke. A buddy of mine said, “I can’t really help you out with cash,” but he gave me 500 pills of Xanax. That was my start-up fund.
Qui posted bond and was released Saturday, KXAN reports. Both charges are Class A misdemeanors; if convicted, he faces a maximum of one year in a county jail and fines of up to $4,000.
Qui’s mugshot via Austin Police Department/KXAN