TORONTO – David Chang can really rack up the frequent flyer miles. When I caught up with him here during the Terroir Symposium last month, he had just gotten back from visiting his restaurant in Sydney, Australia, and was already planning on flying out to help cook a dinner back in the U.S. later that same day. Chang’s Momofuku group now runs 11 different concepts in three cities, and he’s up for the James Beard Award for Outstanding Chef in the U.S. on Monday night. While his Ssäm Bar in New York dropped out of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants earlier this week to #86, Momofuku Seiobo in Sydney came in at #89; Ko at #93.
Over the course of a relatively quiet morning in the glass-enclosed House of Momofuku – which contains not only three different restaurants but a nifty cocktail lounge to boot – we talked about the reasons for opening in this city, how he’s able to find inspiration while traveling among disparate properties and the joys of fermentation, of course. But I was also curious to know why he wants to be known as the King of Mistakes, and more important, what it might take to get him to open another Momofuku in Chicago.