City Paper is not for tourists
December is a month of “best ofs”: books, magazines, TV shows, the whole pop culture shebang. Frequently, these choices are predictable. But, this month’s GQ “Men of the Year” issue offered up (to me) at least one unfamiliar, interesting character: David Chang, the chef most worthy of praise and recognition, according to the magazine’s food writer Alan Richman. Chang is the creative force behind New York City’s Momofuku Noodle Bar, Momofuku Ssäm Bar, and the soon-to-open Momofuku Ko. This May, Chang was named “Rising Star Chef of the Year” by the James Beard Foundation for his work at Momofuku Noodle Bar. According to a May New York Times article, Chang grew up in Vienna, Va., the youngest of four boys. His father, a South Korean immigrant, owned two bistros and a golfing goods warehouse.
The best parts of Richman’s article are Chang’s quotes:
About the pork-heavy menus : “We do not serve vegetarian-friendly items.” Just to rub a little suet in the wound, Chang says, “Vegetarians are a pain in the ass as customers. It’s always ‘I want this’ or ‘I don’t want that.’ Jesus Christ, go cook at home.”
About his clientele: “When I worked at Café Boulud, I hated making food for East Siders. I hate their air of superiority. I hate investment bankers. I don’t want Momofuku Ko to come off as elitist or snobbish. I don’t want shithead bankers and the friends of dickhead traders who spend thousands.”
About servers vs. cooks: “I know nobody expects to make money as a cook, but cooks have to live, and they can’t live on $300 to $400 a week. It makes me mad that cooks are treated like shit and servers say, ‘Well, you choose your profession.’ Whatever you guys say, you don’t work as hard as cooks, so go fuck yourselves.”