Top positive review
David Chang's Memoir Is Food for Thought (terrible pun but I can't help it!)
Reviewed in the United States on September 29, 2020
I first came to know about David Chang when my niece took me to eat at his Momofuku Noodle Bar in NYC's East Village in the early 2000's. I thought of him only in terms of the spare look of the (tiny) restaurant and the delicious Asian-inspired food. Then I accidentally came across The Mind of a Chef on PBS. Chang was the featured chef in season one (and according to his memoir, was the originator of the series). I found him to be an original, innovative, wide-ranging, deep thinker and an excellent, engaging communicator and so have followed his career ever since. His memoir, Eat a Peach, is a chronicle of his life in food as a chef, restauranteur, tv star, podcaster, author, colleague/mentor, but even more so it is a set of brutally honest yet eloquent reflections on his struggle to continuously develop as a human being. Chang doesn't mention Socrates, but I'm sure he believes that the "unexamined life is not worth living." In Eat a Peach, we read that his bipolarism, difficult relationship with his father, and close friendship with Anthony Bourdain (who appeared to live with similar demons and ended his life by committing suicide) seem to drive Chang to question his considerable success with not a small degree of self-flagellation but, thankfully, with a great sense of humor and exceptional generosity towards young chefs as well. Written in a fast-paced conversational style (with the help of Gabe Ulla and Chris Ying), the book addresses the existential question of "Who am I?" Because Chang's life is a remarkable one, the book is a fascinating read.