David Chang does good copy. The New Yorker weighs in this week with a whole-hog Larissa MacFarquhar profile (not available online, sorry) of the Momofuku chef “who’s built like a beer mug, and feels that most food tastes better with pork,” and my only complaint was that I wanted more. Chang let MacFarquhar follow him around for weeks before the opening of Ko, and the story is unfiltered Chang: ironic, serious, stressed, generous, profane, and really, really funny. The dialogue between Chang and his chefs is where the story’s at, and although that’s hard to capture in brief, here’s Chang on trying to cook an ostrich egg (the shell is lying next to his computer):
I wanted to pretend I was Fred Flintstone. So I got a big rondeau, put like two inches of oil, and I was gonna deep-fry the motherfucker, but there was so much water content in the white that it just sort of dispersed. It looked like cottage cheese.
As Grub Street says, “Chang comes across as brilliant, inspired, and high-strung to the point of actually giving himself shingles, a diagnosis made by a doctor after the chef literally incapacitated himself with worry and anxiety.” On the other hand, his personal life seems to have improved: He says in the New Yorker, “‘I’m finally dating somebody that I don’t hate her guts,’ he says. ‘We had dinner yesterday and I was like, I don’t hate you at all! You know?’”