What do you think?
Rate this book
288 pages, Hardcover
First published September 8, 2020
The mental and physical toll of working in restaurants is corrosive. It will take generations to undo the harm and build an industry that is equitable for people of all genders, races, ethnicities, sexualities, and beliefs. We need to be responsible for one another.
David Chang burst out onto the culinary scene with Momofuku - a noodle restaurant located in Manhattan.
You never know who's going to hold the keys to the castle.
But for years, my best coping strategy has been work.Eat a Peach is Chang's memoir - from his childhood balancing a tiger mom and wild golf career to convincing his dad to loan him enough money for restaurant.
The paradox for the workaholic is that rock bottom is the top of whatever profession they’re in.And he speaks about what the fallout of that was.
But if you've fought depression or know somebody who has, you know that no amount of money can fix it. No amount of fame. No logic.Overall, this was a lovely memoir.
The Written Review
Just published my November Reading Vlog!
work is the last socially acceptable addiction
...when it was more theory than restaurant, Momofuku was about carving out some form of identity for myself.
Work made me a different person. Work saved my life.
Recovering alcoholics talk about needing to hit rock bottom before they are able to climb out. The paradox for the workaholic is that rock bottom is the top of whatever profession they're in.
I believe in han. There's no perfect English-language equivalent for this Korean emotion, but it's some combination of strife or unease, sadness, and resentment, born from the many historical injustices and indignities endured by our people. It's a term that came into use in the twentieth century after the Japanese occupation of Korea, and it describes this characteristic sorrow and bitterness that Koreans seem to possess wherever they are in the world. It is transmitted from generation to generation and defines much of the art, literature, and cinema that comes out of Korean culture.
The downside to the term tiger parenting entering the mainstream vocabulary is that it gives a cute name to what is actually a painful and demoralizing existence. ...Not all our parents are tiger parents, tiger parenting doesn’t always work, and not all Asian kids are good at school. In fact, not all Asian kids are any one thing. To be young and Asian in America often means fighting a multifront war against sameness.
Cuisine has always evolved through collision, even if we don’t always notice.
I began to question the validity of various cultural truths. Who gets to assign value to certain foods? What makes something acceptable or not? Why was MSG villainized in Chinese restaurants but fine when it occurred naturally in Parmesan?
False cultural constructs tell us that pasta can be expensive, while noodles have to be cheap. The same dichotomy exists between almost any Asian (or African or Latin American) dish and its Western analogue. To me, there is literally no other explanation than racism. Don’t even try to talk to me about how the price differential is a result of service and decor. That shit is paid for by people who are willing to spend money on safe, “non-ethnic” food.
I could tell that race played a major role in America’s slow uptake on this concept, which only made it more personal for me.
All I ever wanted was to be normal, to think normal. I’m not a naturally loquacious person. I’m not outgoing or inclined to be a leader. I’m a wallflower. It’s been like that since I was a kid. For the majority of my life I was somewhere between ashamed and afraid of my Koreanness. I wanted not to be me, which is why drugs—both illicit and prescribed—appeal to me.
But if you've fought depression or know somebody who has, you know that no amount of money can fix it. No amount of fame. No logic. The continuing stigma around suicide and mental illness tells me that not enough people truly understand it. I don't really blame them---its impossible unless you've lived it.
And if you’re reading this book, hoping to glean some tidbits about the key to my success, know that you’re looking right at it. Depression and the choice to resist it are the only reasons you’re hearing from me now.
"Tony never worked in the upper echelon of restaurants. That gave many of us in the industry reason to thumb our noses at him, but it's also exactly what made him remarkable. He was a lifelong line cook--the kind of guy who never aspires to climb the ladder of fancy restaurants. He represented the majority of cooks, and he wrote about our world with extraordinary intelligence and empathy."
"When he visited the French Laundry for 'A Cook's Tour,' the full weight of Tony's genius dawned on me. Maybe he couldn't keep up with a chef like Thomas Keller in the kitchen, but he understood what made Keller special and he masterfully communicated it to his audience. He was the guy you wanted to hang out because he was, first and foremost, a fan of food and restaurants. Many of the stories he championed in his writing and television shows were the ones that chefs care about: camraderie, honesty, creativity, and the Latin American cooks who prop up the whole business. The person who may have done the most to legitimize our profession was the one we originally didn't think had the chops."
"Very early in the book, I mentioned that I consider the myth of Sisyphus to be an inspirational tale. It's an idea I obviously adapted from Camus. In the eyes of the gods, Sisyphus's endless task of pushing a boulder up a hill is a punishment. But by accepting his fate as unchangeable and continuing to do the task, Sisyphus can reject the gods' view of him and thus be happy."