Yesterday’s reading of Anthony Bourdain’s new book, Medium Raw, proved that Tony still has some enemies, but one of the book’s most riveting chapters doesn’t call out Tony’s enemies — it lists David Chang’s. When Bourdain gave us a preview of the book back in December, he said his profile of Chang would involve “reflections on golf and God.” And yes, the chapter does contain Changisms such as, “If God were to exist, I’d rather burn in hell” and “golf fucked me up in the head,” but Chang, who is introduced to readers with the words “I run on hate and anger,” also goes on to rattle off the names of some people he doesn’t like. Apparently Chang and Bourdain didn’t get enough of this during the infamous “fig on a plate” conversation.
First, there’s Josh Ozersky, who was banned from the Momo empire; Ozersky has said it was because he “mocked them,” but this account says it’s because he published a menu on Grub Street without Chang’s blessing. Writes Bourdain: “There is no question in my mind that buffalo will graze in Times Square — and pink macaroons will fall from the sky — before Josh Ozersky ever makes it through the door of a Momofuku anywhere.”
Chang also says, “I hate Antoinette Bruno,” the Star Chefs honcho who once mouthed off (to Chang’s cooks, it turned out) about how “overrated” he was. And he also claims to hate someone Bourdain describes as “the saintly proprietor of a good-for-the-world restaurant, a pioneer of conscientious, sustainable food production.” (No, it’s not Alice Waters, who is a “mom figure” to Chang — it’s a he, and Chang says he’s “weirdly manipulative.”) And Chang also hates “another beloved figure in cuisine, the hugely talented chef-owner of an innovative restaurant specializing in cuisine that might be called ‘experimental.’” (No, it’s not Ferran Adria, and it’s not Wylie Dufresne — the latter is one of Chang’s friends, though at one point Chang “sadly” confesses to Bourdain, “I don’t talk to anybody.”)
So who are Chefs X and Y, as Bourdain calls them in the book? Dan Barber and Grant Achatz are two obvious guesses — any others can go in the comments …