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Embattled Celebrity Chef Paul Qui Plans an Austin Revamp

Qui will close his eponymous restaurant and open something new at the same address

Jonathan Leibson/Getty Images

Four months following an arrest on assault charges, celebrity chef Paul Qui has revealed he's planning to close his namesake establishment. But, he isn't going anywhere. Eater Austin reports Qui will shutter on September 3, and the chef will open a new restaurant called Kuneho in the same space this November.

Qui was arrested on the evening of March 19 and charged with "assault causing bodily injury to a family member" and "unlawful restraint." His girlfriend alleged the chef violently attacked her in a fit of jealousy during a long night of drinking and drug use. An arrest affidavit described Qui as "knocking over furniture and breaking glass" and "throwing her against the walls and doors while telling her she wasn't going to leave" their shared apartment. The affiant described the alleged victim as having "a fresh cut on her right forearm," "bruising on her upper arms," and the right side of her jaw being "slightly puffy and swollen."

In a statement released two days later, Qui denied the attack and said he instructed "my friend to call the police to aid in an argument with my girlfriend that had escalated beyond my control." He entered a 30-day rehabilitation program for drug addiction shortly after the alleged assault.

Now, a sober Qui says closing one restaurant and opening something new in its place is an attempt to move on from an ugly episode. "I need to make amends in all parts of my life," he told the Austin American-Statesman. "There's no question about that, and I'll do whatever it takes to express that to people. I don't expect anything out of it, I just want them to know that this is who I am." While he admits the need to "make amends," the chef maintains he did not hit his girlfriend (but did knock her and her son over).

The Statesman reports Kuneho, which translates to "rabbit" in Qui's native language of Tagalog, will focus on sushi and other Japanese fare, with the kitchen turning out "global influences and, a Qui hallmark, major flavor." A cocktail bar called Rabbit Hole is also part of the project.

The shutter of Qui the restaurant marks the end of an era for Qui the chef. He opened his eponymous eatery in 2012 with prize money that came from winning Top Chef Season 9 in 2011.

• Top Chef Winner Paul Qui to Close His Hit Restaurant Qui [EATX]

• Chef Paul Qui Arrested on Assault Charges [EATX]

• All Paul Qui Coverage [E]

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