Books: “Eat a Peach” by Chef David Chang
At the end of his wild, discursive, but ultimately absorbing memoir, Chef David Chang (of Momofuku fame) gives 30 rules for becoming a chef, one of them being “Study Shakespeare instead.” Let us be eternally thankful he did not.
For this former high-school golf champion and teacher of English yakuza wives in Japan went on to become one of the most acclaimed, and fearsome, characters in New York’s dining stratosphere. PS: as his new book “Eat a Peach” demonstrates, he’s not a bad writer, either.
To hear him tell, Chang couldn’t quite figure out what to do in life, but once he found his passion in the world of food, he didn’t hit pause for a second. He burned his way through Craft and Cafe Boulud, worked for Andrew Carmelini and Marco Canora (we’ve met him at Hearth; nice guy) beside realizing his dream: to create an unfussy dining atmosphere with top-notch food.
And so Momofuku Noodle Bar, Ssam Bar, and the great great Momofuku Ko came to pass. As did spin-offs in LA and Sydney and Hudson Yards.
What makes this book a bit out of the ordinary is that DC doesn’t just prattle on about restaurants, or great chefs he’s cooked with worldwide (Redzepi, Adria) or the troubles with maintaining and growing a business. He also speaks candidly about his manic depression, his hair-trigger temper, his hunger for recognition from Pete Wells, his dependence on Klonopin, and his ambivalence about his Korean heritage. Through therapy, DC believes he has learned from his mistakes, striving to be less of an egotist and more of a humanist.
“Eat a Peach” is a book that doesn’t have the literary panache of Gabrielle Hamilton’s life story but will be of interest to those who like reading about food, dining out (raises two hands) and just plain deelish gossip about the eats industry.
Oh and here’s a fun fact: “momofuku” means “lucky peach.” With any luck, we’ll nail our next res there soon.