On November 12, Chef David Chang, who recently caught heat for dissing San Francisco chefs for only putting figs on a plate rather than manipulating food in interesting ways, is a featured speaker at the IdeaConference, sponsored by Advertising Age in New York. I’m intrigued to see what awkward badassery Chang will pull out next.
He was in fine form on Munchies, the new food show from VBS (see video clip below). Quick digression: I love VBS for three reasons. First, Spike Jonze is the creative director. And they have the rights to use any Black Lips song (and they make good use of it). Then there’s the cute show Special-Needs Pets, which is a real winner.
Munchies’ first episode profiles Chang. On the show, I enjoyed how candid he was, admitting he’s not the greatest chef and that he couldn’t keep up with the other cooks while working at Café Boulud. But the episode never followed through on how he actually got to where he is now, instead fast-forwarding to a night on the town with Chang and a New York Times writer who’s the coauthor of Chang’s new book. They didn’t seem to have enough to say to each other, and it looked like the producers off camera had to keep asking Chang more questions. When they arrived at Chang’s Ssam Bar, he got drunk and made some food for Chef José Andrés, who responded to a Chang condiment by saying, “Only a crazy mind would come up with a coffee-mayo bullshit.”
The whole thing felt a little uncomfortable and forced, and nothing actually happened in the unnecessarily long 12-minute video. So here’s my pitch to you VBS producers: Just get famous chefs into a tiny apartment, get them really, really drunk, and then have them cook something for you. Of course you’ll need five hot semicelebrities just hanging out at the shoot for no reason other than to try the chefs’ severely compromised dishes.