Most chefs who tell their patrons “no reservations and no vegetarian options” would soon find themselves wondering, “Hey, where did all my guests go?” But David Chang’s take-no-prisoners approach to cooking consistently yields incredible results, which more than makes up for the rigidity with which he serves his dishes.
It would not be a stretch to say that David is one of the most famous chefs in America, nor is it a stretch to say that title is well-earned. Since 2004, David has been the proprietor of Momofuku Noodle Bar in NYC’s East Village, and though restaurants tend to come and go rather quickly in New York, Momofuku has stood the test of time. It is a credit to David’s inventiveness as a chef and entrepreneur that his patrons consistently find new ways to enjoy his creations at the Noodle Bar, but also at Momofuku Ssäm Bar, Momofuku Ko, and Momofuku Milk Bar.
In addition to his accomplishments as a chef and restaurateur, David has also found success as a cookbook author, magazine publisher and actor, so it’s no surprise that Time magazine listed him as one of their “100 Most Influential People” in 2010.
Specialties & Resources
David’s first endeavor was focused on two staples: ramen and pork buns, and they remain the mainstays of his menu at Momofuku Noodle Bar. Momofuku Ssäm Bar took a different approach, focusing largely on wrapped food (ssäm literally means “enclosed.”) Ssäm Bar eventually became known for the Bo Ssäm, a whole-roasted pork shoulder with oysters designed for a group to share.
Momofuku Ko is considered the most high-end of David’s restaurants- there are no set menu items and it only serves a tasting menu, and the 12-seat space takes reservations only online and only 10 days in advance, making it famously difficult to get a seat at the proverbial (and literal) table. The exclusivity of Momofuku Ko is well-earned; in 2009, Ko received two Michelin stars, and it has retained them ever since.
David’s culinary style is a blend of classic American, French and Korean dishes, with elements of Vietnamese cuisine mixed in as well. His varied influences give him a broad foundation from which to build his creations, and his keen eye for spotting two disparate flavors that somehow complement one another is unmatched.