SCMF Musings: Techie Pub Write-up on David Chang a Catalyst for Adventure…

David Chang Wired Lucky Peach
We subscribe to the “take home” version of Wired magazine. Not sure how or why it happened, but we do know that it has an intriguing layout — one that you want to sit down and spend some time perusing. Sure, we get daily emails from, but this is different. And what we found is that there are some pieces that can wind us up and propel us out on an adventure where we lose all track of time. In the #SCMF (Stay Curious My Friends) world, that’s actually a good thing.

It all started with the cover.

Wired Magazine Food issue

Food, right? In at techie pub?!

Just the concept was mind-boggling. We decided that the prudent thing to do was flip through from the front until we reached pages 78-79, where we encountered a Wusthof-holding David Chang (@davidchang) — owner of Momofuku (13 restaurants, a bakery, 2 bars, a culinary lab) NOT in traditional chef clothes.

David Chang Wired magazine Deliciousness

We are told he’s wearing a Michael Kors shirt, Levi’s jeans and has a snazzy, “luxo” Tag Heuer Carrera watch on his left wrist.

Turning the page, we encounter a neat graphic: What You’re Eating vs. What You’re Eating.

David Chang Wired Magazine page 2

Food is about memory. The most powerful dishes evoke familiar flavors in a completely unfamiliar context.

How’s that for a call to adventure?

Now for one of his notable quotables:

Chef David Chang quote Wired magazine

…To me this is what separates the good dishes from the truly slap-yourself-on-the-forehead ones. When you eat something amazing, you don’t just respond to the dish in front of you; you are almost always transported back to another moment in your life. It’s like that scene in Ratatouille when the critic eats a fancy version of the titular dish and gets whisked back to the elemental version of his childhood. The easiest way to accomplish this is just to cook something that people have eaten a million times. But it’s much more powerful to evoke those taste memories while cooking something that seems unfamiliar—to hold those base patterns constant while completely changing the context.

Source: David Chang’s Unified Theory of Deliciousness.

Got that? And there’s more…

We liked his “true confession” about the Ceci e Pepe dish made at his restaurant:

If I could do it again, I wouldn’t call it that—I’d name it something like chickpeas with buttered noodles. Ceci e Pepe is too explicit. It’s telling diners what to think instead of letting them draw their own conclusions. The element of surprise is part of the magic…

David Chang Cacio e Pepe plated

And Ceci e Pepe is?

We first came to “heart” David Chang for his Lucky Peach quarterly which started publishing in 2011.

>> Lucky Peach is a quarterly journal of food and writing. Each issue focuses on a single theme, and explores that theme through essays, art, photography, and recipes.<<

Referenced in a “What We’re Reading” post (What We’re Reading – the 0316 edition) and back in 2011, in Annie’s Thanksgiving post inspired by Issue #1 of Lucky Peach.

We Googled and found this.

David Chang Cacio e Pepe recipe

The recipe that also appeared in the very first Lucky Peach: The Ramen Issue and was featured in the PBS “Mind of a Chef” series, shows Chang doing an instant-ramen spin of the dish.

More on Instant Ramen…

The Instant Ramen got us thinking about another Mind of a Chef episode where David Chang eats raw Instant Ramen. It’s “must see” TV because you really do need the context.

AWSI, this is a really creative / imaginative chef. For more proof, check out this recipe for Ramen Fried Chicken.

David Chang Ramen Fried Chicken

INGREDIENTS Makes 12 pieces
2 C water
3/4 C (158 g) salt
3/4 C (185 g) sugar
1 3-4 lb chicken
1 C buttermilk
2 4.2 oz. packages Shin ramen noodles, seasoning packets reserved
2 3.5 oz. packages Ichiban ramen noodles, seasoning packets reserved
+ canola oil, for frying

A favorite quotable:

…smells like cool ranch Doritos…

Ramen Fried Chicken was written about fairly recently here.

That’s a Wrap!

We could go on and on about the “where to next” parts of our David Chang adventure (For example, Joey is researching two book references and will report back in a subsequent post), but it is time to put pencils down.

So let’s close with another notable quotable:
David Chang quote Wired magazine

…Now, most diners probably aren’t consciously drawing connections between what they’re eating and the favorite meals of their youth. They probably don’t fully understand why they’re enjoying it so much. But I think deep down, whether they realize it or not, they’re having that Ratatouille moment, tasting one of those underlying base patterns and feeling that interplay between the exotic and the familiar

Stop! Our Enchanted Jukebox has Something to Share

Before we bow out, our Enchanted Jukebox has piped up to let us know of some musical examples of that interplay mentioned in the quote — all from the soundtrack of Baz Luhrmann’s “Moulin Rouge!”..

Moulin Rouge soundtrack

First push play on this — Patti LaBelle’s “Lady Marmalade” from 1975.

And now for the version (Christina Aguilera, Lil’ Kim, Mya, Pink) featured in the 2001 jukebox musical film (Moulin Rouge!) directed, produced, and co-written by Baz Luhrmann.

If you are familiar with Baz films/productions, he pretty much does things “because he can.”

Great segue to this — also from the “Moulin Rouge!” soundtrack —

Everybody can-can…

Fatboy Slim’s take:

Now the “old school” version:

Moulin Rouge soundtrack songs

As seen on iTunes


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