A streak of pluckiness, or at least a commitment to persist, as well as a capacity to think deeply and grow out of the shallows — these traits peek through David Chang’s glimpse into his personal tribulations and his sober take on the plight of his industry.
We’re still a conservative steak-and-potatoes country, and that bums me out. There’s less risk-taking. That’s OK if you want to be a craftsman, but there’s fewer people that want to do that, too.
What would the alternative to a steak-and-potatoes country look like? Every country has its staples.
That’s a great question. I guess for me it’s: How do we find openness? So much of my life is because of the hell I experienced as a kid. [Chang is a son of Korean immigrants. He grew up with three siblings in suburban Arlington County, Virginia.] A lot of it was like, as silly as it seems, Oh, Chang, you eat dog, or you eat poo, or your house smells. All of these things. What bothers me about steak and potatoes — and I love steak, I love potatoes, I love them together — is when people don’t want to try anything else. That myopic viewpoint scares me. If I learn to appreciate something, then it better allows me to understand someone else’s culture.
(David Marchese, “David Chang Isn’t Sure the Restaurant Industry Will Survive Covid-19,” NYTimes, 3-27-20)
(c) 2020 JMN