Although the mystique and innovation of New York City has dimmed over the last few years -- what was once, as countless New Yorkers have described it to us, a mecca for richly-textured thought and poeples has now revealed itself as simply a large museum city brimming with tell-it-like-it-is-esque reality show contestant types -- the food culture there is as popular as ever. Even the chefs there still think of themselves as rock stars. Which is adorable.
The most recent example? David Chang. A couple of weeks ago, he had the unmitigated gall to criticize the food in Baghdad by the Bay.
When asked about San Francisco, Chang verbally fist-bumped:
Fuckin' every restaurant in San Francisco is just serving figs on a plate. Do something with your food.
Whoa. Talk about cutting the bullshit and being real. Alice Waters just passed out in her polenta.
As intentionally annoying as Chang comes off, he can't be all that bad; he loathes cupcakes. "I hate fuckin' cupcakes," he cursed. (He's right. A cupcake's frosting-to-cake ratio should only be enjoyed by children with underdeveloped palates, or your girlfriend at the peak of her menstruation cycle.) He also (rightfully) calls out Waters on her elite food philosophy, an idea that will never trickle down to the masses.
Chang's terse comments, however, got him in trouble. The Asia Society in San Francisco recently canceled a cookbook signing with Chang over his anti-Frisco comments. Which was a bizarre move on ASSF's end. Of course, his comments might have been taken out of context. Much like all things New York, we're sure it was more complicated than we could possibly imagine.
Update: Over at Eater, Anthony Bourdain admonished Asia Society program director Robert Bullock for silencing Chang's book appearance. Bourdain, shockingly, has a point. Bullock effectively made San Francisco look like the butt-hurt buffoon it sometimes is. (Then again, this is California and this kind of reaction is all too common. If you get all up in our face, we won't go toe-to-toe with you at the nightclub; we'll just have you thrown out of it. Alas.)