Author: David Chang
Publisher: Clarkson Potter Publishers
Publication Date: September 8, 2020
Book Description: 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—and certainly Chang would have bet against himself—but he, who had failed at almost every endeavor in his life, was about to become one of the most influential chefs of his generation, driven by the question, “What if the underground could become the mainstream?”
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, candor, grit, and humor, Eat a Peach chronicles Chang’s switchback path. He lays bare his mistakes and wonders about his extraordinary luck as he recounts the improbable series of events that led him to the top of his profession. He 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, in which he balances his deep love for the kitchen with unflinching honesty about the industry’s history of brutishness and its uncertain future.
Rating: 4 Stars
Mini Book Review: I was lucky enough to get a copy of the audiobook from my library the day this was published. I have been hearing so many good things about this delicious memoir from celebrity chef David Chang. The Audio was such a joy because Chang does narrate the entire book.
This is a no holds bar memoir, you really get the good, the bad and the extremely ugly. He shares his personal life with his family, his many failures when he was learning to be a chef, to finally getting his restaurants running. He comes across as aggressively mean to people at times, but he shares how he continually works through this with therapy.
Running many restaurants is difficult and, Chang paints a very real picture of everything that goes into it. As the proprietor of many restaurants, communication is a core tenant, he does not want to be left out of anything. I think anyone going into leadership could take the time to read his story and learn a lot.
This is a not an easy book at times, but I felt David Chang laid every card on the table. Be aware, you will get very hungry reading and/or listening to this book. It was a pure delight.