Today, Momofuku honcho David Chang unleashed his much-anticipated chicken-sandwich concept, Fuku, on the people of New York City.
We caught up with the star of the show, the spicy fried-chicken sandwich, to find out what it thinks about the hype, competition with other menu items, and what the future holds.
So, how’s it going on the day of your big debut?
It’s fine. There’s already a line. I guess we expected that.
I’m just a chicken sandwich, man! I mean, am I the crispiest, juiciest chicken sandwich this side of BoJangles? I’m pretty sure I am. But, like my buddy ShackBurger always reminds me, I’m still just a fuckin’ sandwich, you know?
True. But you’re a sandwich that’s seeing a lot of action today.
I mean, I’m only getting eaten—it’ll be over soon. It’s poor John [DeBary, Momofuku bar manager] who’s got to deal with these lunatics at the door.
Are you worried people might find you overrated right off the bat because you are—like you said—“just a sandwich,” and not something more artful?
Those people are fucking idiots. I don’t want them to eat me. They can, however, eat [Momofuku Ko executive chef] Sean [Gray]’s ass, if it’s art they’re looking for.
You’ve done a good job getting out ahead of Chick-fil-A’s arrival into New York, and—
Look: I can appreciate what he’s done, how he paved the road in many ways for me to be here today.
Didn’t Chang say your creation was inspired by the Chick-fil-A sandwich?
Hey, man, that Bible-thumping, soggy-bread-hugged knuckledragger of a foodstuff might have been the tipping point, sure, but so were the apes at the monolith, you know? The reality is that we’re two very, very different things, and come from two very, very different places. I’m sure a lot of people are gonna say, ‘Oh, yeah, you’re just re-appropriating his culture for New Yorkers.’ Well, most New Yorkers don’t get out to see him that much because he’s basically the Grand Wizard of sandwiches, you know? And if we can serve up the best parts of what he does without any of that bullshit, or the inbred short-busers serving him, what’s wrong with that?
Those seem like fighting words—
No, really, tell me: What’s wrong with that?
I’m not sure what you’re getting at here.
You wouldn’t. [Looks behind him, over his bun.] Are we done yet? This line’s around the block. Look at these people; it’s like they’re lining up for communion.
What about the level of spice? What’s with not moderating yourself to be less spicy for some people?
You already know what the boss said, so I’m not going to answer that question, except to say that we’re trying to start a conversation about what it means to be “spicy,” and if you’re too dumb to be in on that conversation, go shove some fucking Chobani or a ghost pepper or your whatever preferred level of spice is…just go ahead and shove it right into your dumb fucking gullet. It’s like René [Redzepi] says: We’re trying to do something bigger, and we’ll see you on the other side.
So you won’t even—
A conversation, guys.
Are you worried that you’re going to be overshadowed by some of the other items on the menu?
Overshadowed? What do you mean?
Well, there’s a lot of buzz about that salad, and I just thought—
Hey, look, we’re all on the same team here, alright? Salad makes a sale, the boss wins. I make a sale, people come to see me, the boss wins. Ultimately, we’re just happy to wear the pinstripes.
You get it. Alright, I got people to feed. You had one yet?
No, not yet.
Sucks to be you.