From the chef behind Momofuku and star of Netflix’s Ugly Delicious—an intimate account of the making of a chef, the story of the modern restaurant world that he helped shape, and how he discovered that success can be much harder to understand than failure.
“David puts words to so many of the things we all feel, sharing generously of his own journey so we can all benefit in the process.”—Chrissy Teigen
In 2004, Momofuku Noodle Bar opened in a tiny, stark space in Manhattan’s East Village. Its young chef-owner, David Chang, worked the line, serving ramen and pork buns to a mix of fellow restaurant cooks and confused diners whose idea of ramen was instant noodles in Styrofoam cups. It would have been impossible to know it at the time—and certainly Chang would have bet against himself—but he, who had failed at almost every endeavor in his life, was about to become one of the most influential chefs of his generation, driven by the question, “What if the underground could become the mainstream?”
Chang grew up the youngest son of a deeply religious Korean American family in Virginia. Graduating college aimless and depressed, he fled the States for Japan, hoping to find some sense of belonging. While teaching English in a backwater town, he experienced the highs of his first full-blown manic episode, and began to think that the cooking and sharing of food could give him both purpose and agency in his life.
Full of grace, candor, grit, and humor, Eat a Peach chronicles Chang’s switchback path. He lays bare his mistakes and wonders about his extraordinary luck as he recounts the improbable series of events that led him to the top of his profession. He wrestles with his lifelong feelings of otherness and inadequacy, explores the mental illness that almost killed him, and finds hope in the shared value of deliciousness. Along the way, Chang gives us a penetrating look at restaurant life, in which he balances his deep love for the kitchen with unflinching honesty about the industry’s history of brutishness and its uncertain future.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Before David Chang opened Momofuku Noodle Bar in 2004, he thought that fine dining had been stuck in a decades-long elitist rut and inexpensive restaurants rarely reached for greatness. The Virginia-born son of Korean immigrants, Chang realized that his fellow chefs never ate what they served to customers, preferring simple preparations with adventurous ingredients. Inspired to take the underground to the mainstream, Chang brought this improvisatory aesthetic to America’s palate through his restaurants; his food zine, Lucky Peach; and the often-hilarious documentary series Ugly Delicious. Chang’s regular-guy charm is on full display as he narrates this memoir, but for the first time, he goes deep about his personal life and things get very intimate. Chang pulls no punches when talking about some of the highs and lows of being diagnosed with bipolar disorder. But Eat a Peach isn’t a depressing listen: Chang’s irrepressible enthusiasm when he’s talking about the joys of inventing a new dish or the roughhousing camaraderie of the kitchen is downright infectious. Fair warning, though: Listening to this book might just make you hungry.
His words, his voice!
Such a unique guy and such a pleasure to learn about his experiences. Great audiobook and really enjoy that he reads it.
Amazing I love Dave Chang
I loved every minute of the book.