Korean-American celebrity chef David Chang bans tipping at his new Momofuku Nishi restaurant

Tucked away in NYC’s vibrant Chelsea district lies Momofuku Nishi, the newest restaurant by celebrity chef David Chang which opened its doors for the first time last week. With locations already in Toronto (Momofuku Daisho), Washington, D.C. (Momofuku CCDC), and Sydney (Momofuku Seiobo) in addition to its Noodle Bar headquarters in NYC, Nishi is the first full-service, original Momofuku restaurant to open in the past five years.

What else is new for Momofuku? Plenty. With his latest venture Chef Chang takes it back to his Korean roots with an Italian and Korean cuisine-inspired menu infused with classic Cantonese barbecue and of course, dishes inspired by his mother and grandmother.

Nishi is what Noodle Bar would be if I opened it up as a 38-year-old, not a 26-year-old. We know how to play all our instruments now. The skill level here is higher,” Chang told Lucky Peach in a recent interview.

Chang had a few words to share about his menu’s price points:

“I’m done with people telling me that I can’t charge what I want to charge for things. The only difference between these dishes is price point and regionality. It pisses me off that Asian food has to be cheaper. Why? Not one person has given me a reason why. All the ingredients that we’re getting are top quality, and just as expensive as any other restaurant. Look at the version of cacio e pepe we’re serving here. The only expensive ingredient we’re not using is parmesan—and guess what parmesan is? MSG. We’re replacing the parmesan with our own fermented chickpea paste that took us six to nine months to make. So fuck you guys. I’m not getting on the phone and ordering a wheel of parmesan. Don’t tell me that I can’t charge like Italian food.”

His stance for a no-tip system stems from the restaurant’s success at their Sydney location:

“We have a restaurant in Australia where tipping is not like it is here. I got to see just how much our cooks and servers make. It’s a considerable amount, and there is greater parity between the front and back of house. I don’t know if anyone has a restaurant in Australia who can say that, but we can. It is crazy how much money a cook can make relative to NYC—still not enough, but a lot. It was an idea that we want to try. Bottom line is we want to pay sous chefs, cooks, and dishwashers a living wage. People say, ‘Why don’t you just charge more money?’ They’re idiots. Margins are slim to none. Restaurants are not a very profitable business. This is an opportunity to pay our cooks more… We want to be able to grow as a company so we can provide for more people. This is a way we might be able to do that. And if it doesn’t work, we can always go back to the old way.”

Nishi’s menu has not been released yet, but the eatery is now open five days a week, from Tuesday to Saturday.

Momofuku Nishi
232 8th Ave. (between 21st and 22nd streets)
New York, NY 10011

Lucky Peach presents: David Chang Cooking Ramen Fried Chicken

Think you can’t change the world of dining with ramen? David Chang already has. And now he’s going to do it all over again.

Chang — the man (and chef) behind upscale ramen eatery Momofuku— has just blown our minds with a video tutorial on how to make Ramen Fried Chicken. In the Lucky Peach video above, Chang transforms the traditional Southern dish he mastered long ago into an explosive combination of goodness that he rates as “the best seasoning I’ve ever had on chicken.”

Here’s how Chang prepared it:

Step 1: Brine your chicken in salt + sugar mix for 3.5 hours

Step 2: Grind your instant ramen into flour

Step 3: Season ramen flower and buttermilk with ramen seasoning packets

Step 4: Dip chicken in seasoned buttermilk

Step 5: Dredge in seasoned ramen flour

Step 6: Deep fry for 10-12 minutes

Step 7: Sprinkle on more ramen seasoning

Eat hot!

Basically, this video gives us hope that we can make Momofuku-quality goodness in our own homes, and surprise the sh*t out of our Southern mothers when we make this for them. No way this tastes anything but awesome.

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Chef David Chang wants to buy Washington Redskins from Dan Snyder

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In case you weren’t aware, the Washington football team is bad this year. Really bad. So bad, in fact, that coach Mike Shanahan is benching RGIII just to keep him healthy for next season. Yeah, even the coach has pretty much given up on this season.

While many are calling for Shanahan to be fired, most are still pointing fingers at the same guy they’ve been pointing fingers at for years: Dan Snyder. Many think that Washington will never be good so long as Dan Snyder is the owner. But how do you get rid of the guy who says he’ll never sell the team? Make him an offer he can’t refuse.

Restauranteur and chef David Chang—whose Momofuku restaurant group has nine restaurants in three countries, most in New York City— wants to raise enough money via Kickstarter to buy the Washington football team from Dan Snyder. How much money? $6 billion. Chump change, am I right?

I”m going to try and raise $6 billion on @kickstarter to buy @redskins from Dan Snyder. I’m serious…who’s coming with me?

— Dave Chang (@davidchang) December 10, 2013

In an interview with the DC Sports Bog, Chang—who grew up in the D.C. area—reveals that yes, he is very serious about this. “I was catching up on the day’s news on my DVR when I got home, and it was just sad,” Chang tells the Sports Bog. “I couldn’t take it anymore. We recently did a project on Kickstarter and I was like, why not? Let’s see if we can do it.”

But unfortunately, Chang is going to have to find a different fundraising method as he learned that “Kickstarter doesn’t allow this type of fundraising campaign.” He’s now looking around for other options.

Check out this link:

Chef David Chang wants to buy Washington Redskins from Dan Snyder

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Chef David Chang talks to WIRED Magazine on the joy of cooking with science

Momofuku chef/owner David Chang has an essay in WIRED Magazine called “The Joy of Cooking With Science” in which he outlines the mission of his test kitchen, talks about umami and MSG, and calls cooking “the only science in which innovation is frowned upon.”

Check out this link:

Chef David Chang talks to WIRED Magazine on the Joy of cooking with science

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