New York chef and Momofuku head honcho David Chang gets a profile in the September issue of Vogue (how fashionable), in which author John Powers refers to him as "America's most relevant chef." (Chang has actually been in Vogue before, when he posed with a bunch of models wearing furs in the September 2010 issue.) And the interview is a doozy: among other things, it reveals Chang is working on a "line of even more casual restaurants" (more Noodle Bars, perhaps?), and is possibly "creating a new enterprise called the Lucky Peach Media Group" (the piece says Lucky Peach editor Chris Ying "previously worked for...McSweeney's"). It's also very dark, full of anxieties about fame and the revelation that Chang recently broke off his engagement. Below, the thirteen best quotes from Chang's Vogue profile; the piece is not yet available online, but this post will be updated when it is.
1: On dining: "I don't like eating in restaurants...I'm always criticizing and only see the mistakes."
2: On his success: "I constantly think I'm a fraud, that this success is not warranted or justified."
3: The chef becomes the critic: "I can't stand going into my own restaurants now...They're so fucking loud."
4: On being starstruck by a celebrity telling him she's a fan of Lucky Peach: "Can you believe it? Tracy fucking Chapman!"
5: Powers on what Chang worries about: "Being ravaged with guilt the second he stops working. Having romantic trouble with his girlfriend, Gloria Lee, a 28-year-old Korean-Australian who worries (not unreasonably) that his fame may crush her. Adjusting to no longer being a young-punk chef but a successful business-man who has been offered a car commercial (he said no) and feels responsible for 500 employees."
6: Powers on Chang's place in time: "Mixing traditions and bored by cultural labels-Which has paired him perfectly with the Obama years-Chang wouldn't let himself be pigeonholed as a Korean, or even Asian, chef."
7: On goals: "I want the diners to smack their heads and think, Fuck, why didn't I think of that? It's like when you go to MOMA and think, I could've done that...But you didn't."
8: Christina Tosi on Chang's success: "'I remember telling him that he'd obviously sold his soul, and someday the Devil would come to collect.' On mornings when some Momofuku crisis is brewing, she will still send him a text that says simply, 'Is today the day?'"
9: On what's next: "The company is working on a line of even more casual restaurants, creating a new enterprise called the Lucky Peach Media Group (Chang and [Peter] Meehan are talking about doing another cookbook), and Momofuku is launching several products out of its food lab: Pine-nuts! Miso!"
10: On selling out: "If getting rich were all that mattered, he and [business partner] Salmon could have already sold off Momofuku to a corporation that offered what Chang calls, not without a hint of regret, 'hundreds of zeroes, thousands of stores, [the chance to be] a millionaire, maybe a hundred times over.'"
11: On what would happen if he sold out: "I could see myself becoming a miserable fuck, like going on a drug binge and blowing my head — I'd be one of the those rich guys who feels so guilty and hates the money."
12: Chang on Jean-Georges Vongerichten: "I don't envy other chefs...but his chef 's jacket has got this beautiful monogram, white-on-white, just so subtle. He's amazing. He drives everywhere, and he told me that in 25 years, he's only gotten three parking tickets. He always finds a space."
13: Charlie Rose on Chang: "Here's the big question: Is David Chang Einstein or Edison?" Chang's response: "Are you kidding me?...I'm just a chef."