Charlie Rose talks with David Chang, chef/owner of Momofuku Noodle Bar, Momofuku Ko and Momofuku Ssäm Bar in New York City.
Some choice bits excerpted below.
He describes what you don’t get at his restaurant:
We wanted to strip away all the nonsense. Do we really need a sommelier? Do we really need all the other accoutrements that you see at a 3 star or 4 star restaurant? Our goal was not to be a three star. Our goal was to serve the best food we can. Our goal was to try and make the best food in New York City regardless of anything else, regardless of the environment.
On how Henry David Thoreau has influenced him:
There’s a great line in Walden: “I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestioned ability of a man to elevate his life by conscious endeavor.” And that’s always stuck with me. That basically means if you really try and you want to do something, then go for broke. At the restaurant, that’s something we go for.
On how he feels about vegetarians:
I respect them, just not in our restaurants…You don’t go to a BBQ restaurant and be like, “I want everything vegetarian.” You don’t go to a sushi restaurant and say, “Please remove the fish, I just want the rice.” Our restaurants are what we serve. And if you don’t like it you can go eat somewhere else.
On avoiding the fear of losing what you have:
I want to be sure we don’t lose that recklessness. And I think that was the catalyst for a lot of the things that happened when we first started. No one cared about us. When you have nothing to lose, you can be as reckless as possible.
David Chang’s recipe for sustaining food/business mojo [SvN]
David Chang Is So Stressed Out [Serious Eats]