My Obsession with Chef David Chang

Bucket List #1: To Meet David Chang

Obsession with Chef David Chang
Obsession with Chef David Chang
I would first like to state for the record that I am totally sober and clear of mind as I write this. I say this first because what I’m about to put into words is a little nuts and will make you wonder if I’m “Stoned to the Bejesus belt” as Carl the greens-keeper in Caddyshack would say, but I’m not.
I am just obsessed with David Chang.

When I say “Obsessed” I don’t mean it in a sexual stalker want to make a necklace of his hair kind of way. Well, not entirely. I just have this thing for him that I cannot shake no matter how I try. I promise you that how this obsession came to be is interesting to say the least. It was not your usual love at first sight, or first bite as it may be, with a world-renowned celebrity chef. This was a series of coincidences that were put into motion by something bigger than me. Something in the universe wants me to meet David Chang. To have a picture with him I can post on my Instagram and make it my profile picture for life on every social media page I have and ever will have.

How it began: Strangely enough it started in Sydney, Australia a few years ago. I had just retired from being an adult film actress (I do not claim to be an actress, it just sounds better than porn star!) I was on holiday traveling in Australia and had been in Brisbane for 5 days. The weather was shitty so we left a day early for Sydney and caught a late flight that got us in around 9pm. After a long day we were tired and decided that Chinese food for a late supper sounded really good and certainly simple enough.

After checking in to our rooms at the Vulcan Hotel near Darling Harbour, we asked the clerk for a good Chinese place nearby. We were directed to a place called Golden Century that turned out to be one of the best meals I have had in a very long time. While we were there we struck up a conversation with some other people who heard our American accent and they told us that they had seen a famous American chef eating there the night before. They told me his name was David Chang and I had never heard of him. I was a blooming foodie at the time but didn’t know the names of the rock stars of the culinary world just yet. They went on telling us about his restaurant in New York with a crazy name that sounded like Momma Fuck You. I had never heard of it so they told us about the fried chicken meals at Noodle Bar and I knew I had to see this place!

So fast forward a month and I find myself in New York to do a guest appearance on the Howard Stern show. I was there at 7am and done by 10am so after some window shopping we ended up in the East Village looking for something to eat. We saw this sign that stopped me dead in my tracks. The name hit me like a wet towel. Momma Fuck You!!!!!!!!! I nearly ripped my friends arm out of the socket pulling her across the street as I was drawn to it like a teenager is drawn to a set of bouncing tits. It was not quite noon yet so we had beat the lunch rush. I was telling my friends about my encounter with the couple in Sydney the month prior and how they raved about this very place and about the owner, who’s name I couldn’t remember who had eaten at Golden Century the night before me.
I asked our server the name of the owner and how I came to hear about him and this place. I asked if he was actually in the restaurant but sadly he said he was not. I was told he has no real schedule but does make regular appearances. So after one of the greatest meals of my life of pork belly on steamed buns I made it my mission to try the other Momofuku restaurants. I read up on all that I could on David Chang and found out he was opening or had just opened a restaurant in Sydney! I also learned of the bakery, Milk Bar and made it a point to find my way in there for the next 3 days before leaving to head back home.

I have since eaten at every single Momofuku restaurant that exists. I was there opening weekend at the Toronto noodle bar. I have eaten at ssam late night after a night of indulging in too much booze and strippers with some of the guys from the Stern Show. I got dressed up and had a meal I will never forget at Ma Peche before going to see “The Book of Mormon”. I had meals 3 nights in a row at Seiobo in Sydney that were incredible! And of course the Korean fried chicken at Noodle bar which requires at least 4 in each party for a reservation. I had only one friend with me and she and I found a couple walking on the street and invited them to eat with us so that we could keep our reservation!

The one thing that all of my adventures into the culinary world of David Chang have in common, is that I have yet to meet David Chang in person. I have yet to see his boyish grin with those adorable dimples aimed directly at me.

I have submitted op-ed pieces to his magazine that I have been a loyal subscriber to since it’s first edition, Lucky Peach. But without any luck. But I did get a tweet from the @LuckyPeach twitter account that introduced me to another wonderful man, David McMillan of Joe Beef fame in Montreal.

To prove my devotion, I even ran a contest where I took the winners of 3 drawings to Noodle Bar for dinner! I did receive some nice emails from a very nice woman at Momofuku who kindly asked me to be sure to mention that Momofuku was not in any way a part of the drawing, which is totally understandable. I was just happy to get the email with at the end of it!
But sadly I have yet to shake my hero’s hand and alas this item on my bucket list remains without a check mark next to it. I will continue to send a positive vibe in his direction on a daily basis. I will always enjoy fried chicken with friends at Noodle Bar and Crack Pie at Milkbar. I will soon again have the lamb at Ma Peche that haunts me still.

That sexy little Korean man is never far from my mind and one day, when the time is right, I will get my wish. I will kiss his cheek and shake his hand and give him a hug and thank him for his gift to the world. I will go on about my life and think often of that moment in time and how fortunate I was to have had a dream come true.

Good night David Chang. Wherever you are.
Mariah Milano

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