David Chang Talks Toronto, Smoke, and Fermentation (Video)

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If you feel like you haven’t got your David Chang fix lately, check out this interview with Steve Dolinsky, who caught up with the Momofuku frontman at the Terroir Symposium in Toronto last month. Chang talks a bit about some of the ways the various arms of the growing Momofuku empire—including seiōbo in Sydney—remain distinct from one another, noting that a lot of it has to do with working with local ingredients that taste completely different from one another, then figuring out how to incorporate them into the fundamental dishes and flavor profiles of Momofuku. For example, the pork bun at daishō in Toronto is a riff on the city’s beloved peameal bacon sandwich, a local speciality.

Another interesting difference between the New York and Toronto outposts is the use of smoke, which Chang sees as an underlying element of Japanese food that not many people talk about. In NYC, a lot of the smoky elements on the meny come from ingredients you can’t get up north, most notably hams and bacon from Allan Benton in Tennessee. In Toronto, they’ve got an in-house smoker running nonstop to infuse similar flavors in local ingredients.

After talking a bit about his more recent obsession with fermentation, he gets philosophical, explaining that the key to creative success is having the space to make mistakes—something he says he’s able to do more of outside of NYC. “I think one of the reasons you’ll never see a Ferran Adrià again, or even a restaurant like Noma, is they were able to toil away in relative obscurity before any media latched on. For Ferran it was near 20 years of making mistakes. You need that incubation period to find your voice.”

[via Steve Dolinsky]

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