David Chang on his new Netflix show, stepping away from the kitchen, and embracing fatherhood

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Over the past couple of years, Momofuku chef David Chang has made a remarkable pivot into food media. Not long after releasing his hit Netflix show “Ugly Delicious” in early 2018, he began hosting his own podcast and announced the creation of his own media company, Majordomo Media—which earlier this year announced a multi-show deal with Hulu. 

This week he released a new series on Netflix, “ Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner .” Directed by Morgan Neville, this show goes further afield than Chang’s previous efforts. Over four episodes, he eats his way through a different city (Vancouver, Marrakech, Los Angeles, Phnom Penh) with a celebrity friend (Seth Rogen, Chrissy Teigen, Lena Waithe, Kate McKinnon). The format is simple, using three meals as a way to learn the local culture and uncover personal truths. 

The first episode takes place in Vancouver, B.C., Seth Rogen’s hometown. In one scene, Rogen tells Chang that his best skill is writing, yet it’s what he spends the least amount of time doing. Chang replies that for him, it’s inventing recipes and playing in the kitchen. 

David Chang picks out a mangosteen for Seth Rogen at a market in Vancouver in “Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner.” Photo credit: Netflix 

Chang explained his changing relationship with the kitchen to Good Food’s Evan Kleiman. “For me to have better work life balance, number one, I needed to step away from the restaurants. But ironically, I [still work] a lot on the restaurants. I'm just not doing the day to day,” he says. “I'm working with the chefs, more of I would say a producer trying to get the best out of them. Because I've been through so many of the problems, and I've made every stupid mistake possible, and I'm trying to be a good parent for them.”

Stepping away from daily restaurant life has meant more room for media endeavors, Chang says.“The way I looked at it was: yes, spending less time in the kitchen, but more productive in the kitchen . . .  And aligning media with what restaurants could be, if that makes any sense whatsoever. I'm still it figuring out.”

Chang has been undergoing another transition, though on the home front. Earlier this year, he and his wife Grace gave birth to a new son. “It's humbling to realize that you're just figuring this out, and everyone in this world is going through this process as well,” he says of fatherhood. “So I'm trying to figure out how to get balance, number one. But in terms of the struggle of work and all of these things, weirdly, it's caused me to work more efficiently. And I have a reason to work now.”

David Chang walking in Vancouver in “Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner.” Photo credit: Netflix 

-- Written by Amy Ta



Evan Kleiman