Leave David Chang Alone!

Photo: Patrick McMullan

In an IM conversation reprinted on Fork in the Road, Voice writers Robert Sietsema, Rebecca Marx, and Sarah DiGregorio debate the merits of David Chang. Is he “grabbing the spotlight just because he can”? Does he “love the attention even though he claims to be so over it?” Or is he “our boy — the downtown chef who most represents us as far as food attitudes go?” Is it true that the “disaffected image he so carefully cultivates distracts from his food?” Or is he merely a victim of the “knee-jerk adulation/obsession that seems to greet everything he does”? And why is it that the blogs are so obsessed with the new soft-serve flavors at Momo Milk Bar, anyway? And is the stuffing flavor not the greatest or what? (We’re in agreement there.) First of all, let’s just point out that Milk Bar now has a newsletter you can sign up for, so yes, maybe it’s time for the blogs to stop advertising the soft-serve flavors. And second, we’d offer that David Chang is not so much the food world’s Judd Apatow as he is the food world’s Ian MacKaye. Allow us to explain.

Part of you admires MacKaye’s steadfast integrity and his determination to do things his own way, while another part of you wonders whether it’s at least in part neurosis and calculated gimmickry, but at the end of the day Fugazi rocks and has inspired a lot of other great, thoughtful bands; the same is true with Momofuku, so who cares if you don’t agree with straight-edge life or Internet reservations — or David Chang’s shit talk about San Francisco chefs.

And really, the conversation is so meta as to be ridiculous (and this post is making it even more meta, sure): a bunch of food bloggers sitting around trying to unwrap the David Chang enigma that they themselves mostly created? (After all, Fork in the Road has itself told readers to “brace themselves” for Milk Bar’s new flavors). But then again, the whole MacKaye analogy kind of falls apart when you consider that the Fugazi front man never really gave interviews, so as to avoid this sort of Chang-banging. (Maybe Kurt Cobain is a better analogy?) But look, the guy is only human. If someone offered to put you in a genius box because they dig your shrimp and grits, wouldn’t you say, “sure, sounds fun”?

Leave David Chang Alone!