The celebrated chef behind Momofuku and star of Netflix’s Ugly Delicious gets uncomfortably real in his debut memoir.
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, but he was about to become one of the most influential chefs of his generation.
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, candour, grit, and humour, Eat a Peach chronicles Chang’s journey. He lays bare his mistakes, 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, balancing his deep love for the kitchen with unflinching honesty about the industry’s history of brutishness and its uncertain future.
An intimate account of the making of a chef, the modern restaurant world that he helped shape, and how success can be much harder to understand than failure.