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Pork and the mean streets of K-town
November 5, 2009 1:09 PM   Subscribe

Don't you want to watch a critically acclaimed chef get drunk and shout about the wonders of ham? (video is NSFW, due to cursing)

David Chang, chef/owner of the Momofuku family of restaurants in New York, has garnered a lot of praise and awards for his food, including two Michelin stars and multiple James Beard awards. His personality, characterized by an apparent lack of care for the judgement of other people and refreshing honesty, has gained him notable celebrity, especially for a chef that doesn't star on The Food Network. He's been profiled recently by NPR on All Things Considered and Weekend Edition, telling stories from his new book. In the past, he's been covered by The New Yorker, the New York Times, and New York Magazine. He's also appeared on Charlie Rose.

It's hard not to love a man who thinks and talks this openly about himself and his craft, or one who sits down with Anthony Bourdain to call bullshit on various things.

And seriously, this looks delicious.
posted by dnesan (38 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
I do this nightly, without drinking. Ham is delicious.
posted by now i'm piste at 1:31 PM on November 5, 2009


As a bonus, video also features a (presumably inebriated) José Andrés weighing in on the ham issue.
posted by Kadin2048 at 1:35 PM on November 5, 2009


To be fair, ham is delicious.
posted by boo_radley at 1:35 PM on November 5, 2009


Beautiful. You can see him just getting progressively more and more drunk throughout the video. It's the only way to cook.
posted by Mark Lee at 1:36 PM on November 5, 2009


Reminds me of me last night, save for he's not tearing down some Asian guy for saying 'I'm impressed by Hitler'.
posted by ZaneJ. at 1:40 PM on November 5, 2009


I believe in ham.
posted by grounded at 1:45 PM on November 5, 2009


Wait, wait. Are there Korean ham tacos? I'm getting, like, the best idea.
posted by boo_radley at 1:46 PM on November 5, 2009 [2 favorites]


I heard about those buns on NPR Tuesday, and have been craving them ever since. And that was before I saw a picture. *drool*

Anyone been to the noodle bar? Ruined by the hype yet?
posted by JoanArkham at 1:49 PM on November 5, 2009


Noodle bar is lovely McYumyum. And the cereal milk ice cream at the bakery is so very good. It makes me cry not to live in NYC anymore. I would eat at the Momofukus every week!
posted by Admiral Haddock at 2:05 PM on November 5, 2009


JoanArkham: Yes. Four times. I don't live in New York. No. Go tomorrow. Stop by the bakery after for some banana cake.
posted by voronoi at 2:06 PM on November 5, 2009


Hitler is delicious.

Wait.
posted by Astro Zombie at 2:10 PM on November 5, 2009 [3 favorites]


After trying for months, my girlfriend got a reservation at Momofuku Ko. It was for lunch, which is actually a bigger meal than their dinner. I think lasted for about three hours, and we had something like 17 courses. When she told me the price, I was shocked. Then she told me that it was the price per person. She paid.
posted by jessssse at 2:17 PM on November 5, 2009 [4 favorites]


Worked with a few guys like this... liked their food, but the personality wasn't my style. He's not calling bullshit on stuff, he's admitting he's faking it. I'm positive his food is exquisite. If his food is different enough, I'm positive I'd be a regular if I had a chance to be... that is, until I saw him run around swearing about food in plain sight of a camera trying to get famous. Yeah... he's authentic... and he's trying to be as authentic as John & Kate+8, any cast of Big Brother, Celebrity Apprentice, and/or Miami Ink. He's selling you an authentic chef as fake as a celeb chef...

This is where the non-celeb chefs trying to be Anthony Bordain fail... Bordain did it first, did it better and dispite books, money, restaurants, and travel - is still authentic.
posted by Nanukthedog at 2:23 PM on November 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


Momofuku Ssam bar is awesome as well. On our last trip there we had the pork buns, then some ham. Then some more pork buns. Then foie gras. Then another round of pork buns. Dear god I need dinner
posted by slapshot57 at 2:25 PM on November 5, 2009


Fourteen comments and not one Emiril joke. Kudos, MeFi. Kudos.
posted by rokusan at 2:27 PM on November 5, 2009


I don't know, I'm convinced him and his friends were just drunk and having a good time, camera and inhibitions be damned. I like.
posted by naju at 2:29 PM on November 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


Not to derail, as this thread is about Chang's assholishness quotient, but Bourdain is a major asshole, the last time he said anything with any insight was approx. 2003, He has been coasting downhill since then.

David Chang is the first *Food Network (without actually being on the Food Network) Hipster Celebrity Chef* A celebrity to toque/ironic eyewear/skinny jeans wearing urbanites, he's the antithesis of Guy Fieri, or maybe two side of the same coin. Regardless.

And I'm going to a friends house this weekend who is making his Bo Saam (Roast pork with kimchi and rolled in lettuce leaves.)
posted by Keith Talent at 2:31 PM on November 5, 2009


rokusan: "Fourteen comments and not one Emiril joke. Kudos, MeFi. Kudos."

Emiril, Chef of the Silver Glade; friend to the Queen of Vinyards, Maerthae Stewart-nee-Kostyra; known as Sharzbham Bouillabaissebam to the Khazad; Holder of the Essence...
posted by boo_radley at 2:37 PM on November 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


After reading jessssse's comment, I went to the Momofuku ko website to see how the prices compared to other super-fancy restaurants (I won't be coy, it's $175 lunch) and saw that they don't allow people to take photographs. Despite enjoying food blogs myself, I like that call.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 2:45 PM on November 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


I remember eating at Momofuku Noodle Bar around 2006 and fell in love with the food there. My first bowl of noodles felt like a genuinely good bowl of food ... like, don't think about Asian or Western or fusion, just make a good bowl of soup with good ingredients and use whatever techniques work.

I remember eating at Ssam around 2007 and it just felt terribly trendy. Like, Fergus Henderson called and he wants his love for eating odd cuts of pigs back, trendy. And, I wouldn't have minded if the prices were a little more reasonable for what we were getting. No way someone is selling you a couple of pork kidneys for $20 and not laughing at you for being a fashion victim.

I haven't eaten at his latest place, but I have eaten at Baden Baden, which is a Korean fried chicken beer garden in K-town and the fact that this video purports to be about snacking in the mean streets of K-town but doesn't feature any fried chicken holds is suspect in my eyes.
posted by bl1nk at 2:45 PM on November 5, 2009


I met David Chang at Momofuku's cookbook launch party down at 88 Palace a few nights ago. He was drunk as a lord, and shouting about the wonders of my friend Ling, who works for him. This video reminds me of that.
posted by saladin at 3:01 PM on November 5, 2009 [2 favorites]


Fourteen comments and not one Emiril joke. Kudos, MeFi. Kudos.

So I went to Emeril's Delmonico restaurant in New Orleans and I was surprised to see a dog sitting in the dining room, for all appearances looking like he was avoiding eye contact with the customers. So, I yelled to Emeril "Hey, Emeril what's this dog doing in here?" and he yells back, "That's my dog! Don't worry, I trained him not to beg." So, I said to him "Hey Emeril, how did you train your dog not to beg?" And Emeril, he says to me, "I let him taste my food!"
posted by stavrogin at 3:02 PM on November 5, 2009 [4 favorites]


Re: Bourdain, I don't know about "insight", but I feel I'd be remiss in not linking to his guest entry on Michael Ruhlman's blog where he opens fire on the food network.

This is where the non-celeb chefs trying to be Anthony Bordain fail... Bordain did it first, did it better and dispite books, money, restaurants, and travel - is still authentic.

I think there's a difference between trying to be Bourdain and emulating Bourdain's devil-may-care attitude. I think you can do the latter without being the former. And (unsurprisingly since I posted it) I definitely didn't see the video as being fake, it (and most of Chang's interviews) feel really honest and genuine to me.

Keith Talent: I don't know how you can be a Food Network blah blah blah if you're not on the Food Network, but whatever. I can't stand Guy Fieri, precisely because every word out of his mouth, his image, all of that feel processed and contemplated to be *outrageous*. To me, Chang definitely feels like the antithesis of Fieri, but that is a very grand compliment in my eyes.
posted by dnesan at 3:09 PM on November 5, 2009


Emeril walks into a bar and says, "Martini", and the bartender says, "Olives or onions?", and Emeril says "What's the point of anything?"
posted by voronoi at 3:10 PM on November 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


Fine Ham Abounds
posted by Casimir at 3:32 PM on November 5, 2009


dnesan

I mean he's a Food Network star, in that he's benefited from their star making apparatus without being directly manipulated by it. Or maybe I'm confused, I'm having trouble articulating my point. I guess all I mean to say is the food network has made viable the very concept of celebrity chef.

He is Guy Fieri, but for a different (cooler, smarter, more affluent, better educated) demographic. They both are presented as rebels and devil may care types. Chang maybe less calculating in his decision to take on a persona, it may well be his personality, but it still exists, geniune or not.
posted by Keith Talent at 3:42 PM on November 5, 2009


Bourdain may or may not be an asshole, but it's not fair to lump him in with other celebrity chefs.

He became famous as a writer, not a TV personality or a chef, and his show really hangs on his writing — without his well-written voiceovers, his fairly reserved demeanor on camera would make it unwatchable. And when he does cook on the show, he always goes out of his way to be humble about it, mentioning that he hasn't cooked professionally in many years, etc.
posted by mubba at 4:21 PM on November 5, 2009


I came in here hoping/fearing it would be Alton Brown. I'm disappointed/relieved to find out it wasn't.
posted by DU at 4:48 PM on November 5, 2009


David Chang is an ass as a person. He's gotten to finger from SF for making an idiotic comment about our restaurants and then following up with a list of dumber comments

You wanna bad mouth a city before you show up to sell some cookbooks, go ahead. Hope your roux burns and all your chickens come out dry.
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 4:51 PM on November 5, 2009 [2 favorites]


Keith Talent: Ah, now I get what you mean by "Food Network...", the creation of the food celebrity culture is a good point. To me though, if Chang is less calculating about the rebellion, if it's just his nature and his personality, then I'm happy with that. The same way that I'm ok with him being a "celebrity" that takes advantage of the Food Network's ridiculous profile without being manipulated and processed by the network itself. I don't like Fieri (and quite a few others on the Food Network) because they don't feel real, I'm not exactly interested in the food equivalent of The Hills.

All of this hinges on the belief that this persona Chang presents is really him, but it sure feels authentic to me.
posted by dnesan at 5:01 PM on November 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


"I haven't eaten at his latest place, but I have eaten at Baden Baden, which is a Korean fried chicken beer garden in K-town and the fact that this video purports to be about snacking in the mean streets of K-town but doesn't feature any fried chicken holds is suspect in my eyes.
posted by bl1nk at 2:45 PM"


HUH?!? they eat fried chicken... there is a whole big weird bubbling beer contraption while they are eating it too. it's where the drunken behavior begins.

BTW, Korean Fried Chicken is the greatest food ever. That is all.
posted by rare_g at 5:19 PM on November 5, 2009


It is to some extent calculated. He essentially is his own PR guy. I'm not saying it is totally phony, but come on the guy rented a party bus for the Beard awards, filled it with chef buddies and then let selected media people on to party with the cool kids. Pretty genius in guaranteeing positive press.

He really is a better entrepreneur and identifier of talent then he is a chef. I've been told he hasn't actually been the head chef at any of his places post the early days of noodle bar. But he is a great story of a guy who scraped money together from friends and family and hit on a concept that benefited perfectly from the bubble economy of NY in the mid oughts. I think his places are pretty good. Ssam being significantly better than the rest.
posted by JPD at 5:28 PM on November 5, 2009


Momofuku Ko's price per person is downright reasonable to people used to the NY dining scene (I am not one.) $150 per person is the starting point for high-high-end tasting menus, and you can easily do worse. If I found myself in NYC with 200 bucks to blow, I would love to get a reservation there. It's money well spent. And for the record, if eating strange delicious cuts of animals becomes trendy, GREAT!

Anyway, you might like to check out Chang's new cookbook.
posted by mek at 6:50 PM on November 5, 2009


Ko was a lot more impressive when it opened Winter 2008 with a $85 dinner menu. Once the NYTimes and NYMag reviews hit, Ko quickly became THE hottest reservation in town, with a price inflation to match (bump to $100 dinner). As of a month ago, it's at $125. I know they advertise rotating their dishes to fit the seasons, but honestly nothing lately has tasted as good as their first menu with the fried short rib and sour cream apple pie. Mmm.
posted by chalbe at 8:35 PM on November 5, 2009


Reading the Bourdain guest-blogging bit mentioned above, and then watching Chang... (I was under the impression that's pretty much who he is)... HBO should do a Mario Batali cooking show that leaves in all the drinking and swearing and crassness, because he's the (current even more so than Bourdain) archetype of the 'crazy-drunken-brilliant' chef.
posted by From Bklyn at 1:08 AM on November 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


I ate at Momofuku last weekend, and it was a revelation. All the mediocre food I eat now is unfulfilling. I wish I could eat Chef Chang's dishes every night.
posted by reenum at 10:02 AM on November 6, 2009


I guess all I mean to say is the food network has made viable the very concept of celebrity chef.

That's silly. Julia Child, Paul Prudhomme, Wolfgang Puck and Marco Pierre White were all highly regarded celebrity chefs who are still current now, well before the Food Network.
posted by DarlingBri at 1:15 PM on November 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


I go to Noodle Bar weekly and almost always get the $30 (!) four course prix fixe. I haven't been disappointed yet. *Loved* Ko and my dining companion said it was the best meal she'd ever had.

Chang's approach is to make good food, however it occurs to you to do so, and serve it simply and straightforwardly. This is not Food Networky at all, it's just great. And the rotating in of new ideas like the prix fixe and the chicken dinners helps to keep things fresh.

It wouldn't naturally occur to me to compare him with Bourdain, much as I love them both, because Bourdain doesn't do the variety of things Chang does and never has. Les Halles is/was a very good steakhouse with great fries, that's it. But I guess the very New York no-bullshit approach is common to both of them.
posted by lackutrol at 4:10 PM on November 6, 2009


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