Who is David Chang?
David Chang is an American restaurateur, author, and TV personality, best known as the founder of the Momofuku restaurant group. The group includes several bars including the Momofuku Ssam Bar and Ma Peche Milk Bar. Chang has a culinary degree from the French Culinary Institute. He worked at Mercer Kitchen and various other restaurants before finally opening his first restaurant Momofuku Noodle Bar. It was named after Momofuku Ando, the inventor of instant noodles. He is widely known for popularizing the modern Asian cuisine and has won the James Beard Award seven times. It is remarkable that he began his culinary career only in his mid-twenties after spending his early years trying his hands in various other professions. Chang has also served as a guest judge for reality shows such as ‘Top Chef: All Stars’ and ‘Masterchef Australia.’ He is the creator, host, and producer of the Netflix series ‘Ugly Delicious’ as well. The show combines elements of cooking, travel, and history. Chang appeared in Time Magazine’s list of ‘100 Most Influential People’ in 2010.
While studying at the French Culinary Institute (FCI)—now known as the International Culinary Center—David Chang also worked at the Mercer Kitchen and Tom Colicchio’s Craft restaurant. Later, he moved to Japan to work at a small soba shop. Eventually he returned to the US and started working at Café Boulud. However, before long he became "completely dissatisfied with the whole fine dining scene".
He opened his first restaurant named Momofuku Noodle Bar, in East Village, in 2004. According to his website, “Momofuku” means lucky peach. The restaurant also shares its name with Momofuku Ando, the inventor of instant noodles.
He opened his second restaurant in 2006. Named Momofuku Ssam Bar, it was just a few blocks away from the first one. Two years later, he opened another restaurant, Momofuku Ko. In 2008, he also expanded Momofuku Ssam Bar into an adjacent space, which he named Momofuku Milk Bar. It served items such as milk, pies, and cookies.
His first restaurant outside the US was in Sydney, Australia. Named Momofuku Seiōbo, it was opened in October 2011 at the Star City Casino. Later he also launched Fuku, a chain of fast food restaurants. He launched a digital-only restaurant as well which delivers only in Midtown East. It takes orders through an app named Ando. He opened his first West Coast restaurant in January 2018 in Los Angeles.
He hosted the first season of ‘The Mind of a Chef’ in 2012. He also created, produced, and starred in the Netflix series ‘Ugly Delicious’. David Chang’s other media appearances include a role in the TV series ‘Treme’. He has also acted as a guest judge in the reality shows ‘Top Chef: All Stars’ and ‘MasterChef Australia.’ He released a ‘Lucky Peach’ food magazine as well, with the first issue being released in summer 2011.
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David Chang was born in Vienna, Virginia, in the US on 5th August 1977. His parents had emigrated from Korea in the 1960s. He has two older brothers and a sister. He attended Georgetown Prep and later, Trinity College, majoring in religious studies.
After graduation, he pursued various jobs such as teaching English and bussing tables. He also held finance positions in New York City. He eventually attended a course in the International Culinary Center before embarking on a career in the food industry.
Coming to his love life, he has been married to Grace Seo Chang since 2017.