Chef Chang to test Momofuku magic abroad

Tue Mar 22, 2011 9:15am EDT
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By Claire Sibonney

TORONTO (Reuters Life!) - Chef David Chang says that after seven years of building his critically acclaimed Momofuku restaurant empire in New York, he's ready to start exploring the bounty of other cities around the globe.

Known for his American-Asian brand of aggressive, adventurous comfort food, Chang, 33, is set to bring his unapologetic, un-fine dining culinary crusade to Sydney in the autumn and Toronto late next year.

He spoke to Reuters from New York about setting up in new cities and the bane of his existence -- the pork bun that made him famous.

Q: How would you describe your approach to food?

A: "It's not fine dining ... that much I know we were aiming for. The only thing that I want, sort of similar, to our New York restaurants is that we want to be a place where you can eat very well in a casual atmosphere ... I think the big Asian flavors that we're always after are umami ... So we're using American ingredients to replicate Asian flavors as much as we can. Umami is the fifth taste, it's meaty, you can actually get it as monosodium glutamate. Umami is the natural form, MSG is the synthetic form. That's a formula that we're always after."

Q: Why Sydney and Toronto?

A: "It sucks to be in New York in the summer, it's terrible, so we can go to Sydney and work. We can work with new ingredients, it can be rejuvenating. We can bring people as a reward to go work in Sydney (and) the more I visited Toronto, the more I understood that ... it's a great place to live."

Q: How did your early experiences working in Tokyo and some of New York's most reputable restaurants shape what you did on your own?   Continued...

<p>New York chef David Chang in an undated photo. REUTERS/Courtesy of Gabriele Stabile</p>