This week’s New Yorker has a profile of David Chang, chef/owner of the Momofuku family of restaurants. The profile isn’t online but Ed Levine has a nice write-up with some quotes.
Just because we’re not Per Se, just because we’re not Daniel, just because we’re not a four-star restaurant, why can’t we have the same fucking standards? If we start being accountable for not only our own actions but for everyone else’s actions, we’re gonna do some awesome shit. […] I know we’ve won awards, all this stuff, but it’s not because we’re doing something special — I believe it’s really because we care more than the next guy.
Reading the article, it appears that Chang is using Michael Ruhlman’s The Soul of a Chef as a playbook here. Caring more than the next guy is right out of the Thomas Keller section of the book…with his perfectly cut green tape and fish swimming the correct way on ice, no one cares more than Keller.
Michael Ruhlman is partially responsible (along with my wife, Jeffrey Steingarten, Thomas Keller, Bryan Boyer, and Lance Arthur) for my interest in food. His The Making of a Chef and The Soul of a Chef are two of my favorite books on the subject. His latest is The Elements of Cooking, a Strunk and White’s for the kitchen. Ruhlman explains who this book is for:
Every home cook who cares about getting better and every soul who is in or about to attend culinary school. I want all the young cooks who never went to culinary school and have always been nagged by the not-knowing-what-they-missed (probably not as much as they imagine) to buy it. I want every chef to buy it for his or her line cooks. And maybe most of all, beginners — I can’t imagine a better starting reference for cooking terms to go along with other food books. I want every professional cook to buy it for the people who cook for them when they’re not at work. In short I want everyone who cares about cooking to buy this book.