Once upon a time, David Chang and Peter Meehan were absolutely not friends, because 1) Peter Meehan was the Times food critic and 2) David Chang had no idea what he looked like, even though Meehan had eaten at Momofuku many, many times. Fast forward a few years, after Mark Bittman forcibly introduced the two, and a Hold Steady concert where Meehan supposedly grabbed Chang’s ass (“It was more of a gentle mounting,” Meehan joked), to yesterday’s podcast with Food Is The New Rock, and the two men are now close friends, co-authors for the Momofuku Cookbook, and partners in the food quarterly Lucky Peach.
“If I was never introduced to Peter, this relationship would never have happened,” Chang told host Zach Brooks, adding that he’d been “respecting the dance” between critic and chef.
The two dudes spend a good hour talking about everything from music to critics (because this is the podcast where chefs talk about music and musicians talk about food), and recapping is dumb for a too-interesting podcast that lasts an hour, so here are some interesting quotes:
- On the disappearance of critic anonymity: “Everybody knew who [Sam] Sifton was, but it didn’t matter.”
- Chang on Momofuku’s anti-vegetarian crusade: “We’ve always had vegetarian items on the menu, always. It was just easier not to deal with them.”
- Meehan on everyone’s obsession with Momofuku’s anti-vegetarian crusade: “It’s like the Soup Nazi from Seinfeld. This is a story that just carries. The fact that there are so many media outlets reporting on this, it just amplifies the effect.”
- Chang on celebrities who ate at Momofuku at the exact same time: “David Bowie is an extraordinarily handsome man. Lou Reed has not aged well.”
- Chang on the best types of critics: “When the Michelin guys come in, that’s the best, because you don’t fucking know.”
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