David Chang Talks Honest Cooking, Thoreau, and Failure

Larissa MacFarquhar in The New Yorker:

There are two things the chef David Chang works very hard at and gets very, very anxious about, and in both cases the hard work and extreme anxiety have paid off. One is, obviously, his food, and the other is not becoming a pretentious idiot. Considering how much deserved acclaim has come his way—for his Momofuku restaurants, for his cookbook, and, most recently, for his magazine, Lucky Peach—it’s amazing that he has not permitted even a scrap of pretentious idiocy to stick to him. He’s not quite as neurotic as he was a few years ago, which is good, but he is still excellent company. If you’ve never seen him talk, you should, and here’s your chance: an interview on Paul Holdengraber’s new TV show (on YouTube’s The Intelligent Channel), in which Chang talks about failure, Thoreau, religion, and the honesty of cooking. Holdengraber is the impresario of the “Live” events at the New York Public Library, and when he thinks someone is worth interviewing, he’s always right.