“The greatest forms of creativity are born of paradox” — David Chang
I was shopping at the nearest food co-op and noticed the cashier with a closed book on the counter. Always curious about what others are reading, I asked her about it. The book had an interesting cover. DAVID CHANG’s name was in large white letters across the top and a small figure was pushing a huge orange peach up an incline. At the bottom, the title, EAT A PEACH A Memoir was nestled in a sea of black ink swirls. The cashier explained that it was celebrity David Chang’s memoir and it was about much more than food or becoming a chef.
As it turned out, David Chang’s story is complex, intense, and extraordinarily adventurous. Diagnosed with bipolar, his life has manic highs, and downward spirals of suicidal ideation. A passionate and inventive chef, David uses cooking and ambition as an outlet for coping with his low self-esteem. The memoir shares childhood memories, his culinary background, business relationships, and entrepreneurial drive. David has opened over 14 very successful restaurants around the country under the Momofuku brand.
Chang’s final pages list his 33 guiding principles for becoming a chef or a cook. These rules are practical. Take, for example, his rule #13, Embrace paradox. He challenges us to reconsider our traditional idea of flavor. Food combinations that may seemingly contradict our idea of what tastes good, will often balance each other and create food that is “both delicious and unpredictable”.
I recently made a shrimp dish from David Chang’s new cookbook, Cooking at Home, Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying About Recipes (and Love my Microwave). It was a SUPER easy recipe to make with unusual flavors! The interesting selection of herbs in Chang’s “killer sauce” recipe made it fun. My husband raved about the great taste of this shrimp dish. It was exciting that something so delicious took just minutes to make.
I’m sold on the David Chang paradox technique! — Carole