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David Chang Books In Order

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Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

Momofuku (With: Peter Meehan) (2009)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Eat a Peach (2020)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

David Chang is a literary fiction and memoir author who is also one of America’s most celebrated restaurateurs and chefs. Chang gained much notoriety when he opened Momofuku, his first-ever restaurant that “Bon Appetit” would name America’s most important restaurant in 2013. He started the restaurant in East Village Manhattan in 2004 and the joint soon became popular for its casual atmosphere, pork buns, and ramen noodles. Since then he has opened more than a dozen restaurants in Australia, New York, Toronto, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas. Over the years, he has won several awards including outstanding chef, best new restaurant, and five James Beard Awards. He has since expanded into a Netflix series titled “Ugly Delicious” that is all about the foods of different cultures. “Eat A Peach” is his debut memoir and is full of insights about restaurants and food. The author who is a child of North Korean immigrants also shares a lot of insights about his struggles with depression and fitting in. Growing up in Virginia, he was often embarrassed by the Korean foods his family prepared and that his kitchen smelled very different from that of his friends. Suffering from bipolar disorder he found an escape in restaurants and cooking that he believes is what saved his life.

Chang got into cooking very early on but he believes that it was the fact that he was terrible at cooking French cuisine as compared to his peers that he decided to take a different route. Because he could not fit in the restaurants they worked in and never belonged with his peers, he had to obtain a unique kind of expertise that none of his peers had. He needed to get out of fine dining and French dining in particular because of traveling abroad. David Chang found cities such as Tokyo in Japan very expensive in all aspects of living except when it came to food. He would never have thought that all manner of people whether rich or poor could get a very good meal for a fraction of what it costs in America. In China, one could eat very well for less than a dollar which was unheard of in the States. He still remembers how snobbish and elitist it felt to tell people that one was going out to eat in New York or Los Angeles in the early eighties or late nineties. This is when he started imagining what it would be to make food that was affordable, accessible, and delicious for all people in the United States. It was this that made him decide to launch his signature restaurant Momofuku.

When the world-renowned author and chef Anthony Bourdain who was his friend died in 2018, he knew he needed to shift gears. He had also struggled with mental issues and wanted to write a memoir about his struggles, the restaurant business, and how to become successful. He had always done his best to be honest which is probably because he had always preferred to work in an open kitchen. As he told the story of his life he was thinking of three buckets. What he wanted to write about in his memoirs was mental illness, his Asian American identity, and the massive changes that had happened in the restaurant and culinary landscape over the past two decades. He was writing for what he wanted to be in the future and what he believed was his younger. It was something of a tattoo and a reminder of where he came from including the bad and the good. The memoir exhorts people to not be too hard on themselves and using himself as an example, Chang says that if a neurotic and fallible man like him can make it then anyone has options.

David Chang’s “Momofuku” became a phenomenon unlike any other before it. He took what had at one time been an unknown word and made it an instantly recognizable word that is associated with the award-winning restaurant he established in New York. The Momofuku Milk Bar, Noodle Bar, Ko, and Ssam Bar single-handedly revolutionized the art of cooking in the US with impeccable ingredients and bold Asian flavors. Chang’s mastery of Asian cuisine including his unparalleled devotion to pork and the ramen noodle has made him one of the most sought after chefs in the US. The novel is about the recipes and the story of the cuisine that would become one of the most sought after in America. Chang candidly tells of how he rose to become a superstar even though he had to delay with all manner of mishaps to get to where he is. He tells an amusing story of how he discovered hipster food that would eventually result in so much success. There is some humble bragging and some self-promotion even though Chang does it in an intelligent manner and a friendly tone with a touch of humor. He tells the story in a manner that makes one feel like a co-conspirator in what is a very entertaining memoir.

“Eat a Peac”h by David Chang is a novel set in 2004 when the author opened Momofuku, a noodle restaurant in New York. He never expected the business to live past its first birthday but surprised himself when in 2018 he found himself with fifteen locations across the world from Australia to New York among many other cities. He was named one of the most influential people of the century with more than 1.2 million following him on social media, a star of a podcast and a hit show that streams on Netflix. It is a heartfelt, honest, and inspiring memoir that tells of Chang coming of age in the culinary world. As the son of Korean immigrants, he had always felt inadequate and had to deal with loneliness, isolation, and abandonment throughout his childhood. After he graduated from college, he looked for a job in vain and finally convinced his father to lend him some money to start his restaurant. Momofuku has great tasting even though simple recipes and unpretentious air to take the pork buns and ramen bowls which have earned the restaurant culinary awards and rave reviews and made Chang a celebrity chef. Chang’s love of cooking and food has remained a constant through the years and despite having to deal with so many adversities, he overcame. He had a deal with anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts and it is in this novel that he pulls back the curtain on the learned lessons, failures, and struggles he has gone through.

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