By Gloria Hong

I first heard of David Chang on a trip to New York a few years back. Everyone told me I HAD to go to this place called Momofuku because this David Chang person was dishing out some mean Asian food.  Well, the lines at the resto were ridiculous long and we just didn’t have time in our visitor’s schedule to wait. I was bummed for sure – but that didn’t last too long.

After months of anticipation, David Chang’s Momofuku Empire has swept Toronto. With 4 unique concepts: noodle bar, nikai, daisho and shoto, Chang has definitely impressed our city’s food critics to start. Torontonian’s rejoice and foodies work on some fantasy fulfillment.

And while everyone is going to tell you about how great Chang’s food is, I’m going to talk about something else. People love David Chang.

But Why?

I think the simple answer is – David Chang doesn’t care if you love him. He doesn’t care if you’re a vegetarian. He doesn’t care if you want reservations. All he cares about is the food. And we love him for that.

While you’ll find a lot of “bad boy” chefs emerging as personalities in pop culture, Chang is still an active chef focused on getting the food part down. Don’t get me wrong, the bad boy persona really does cut through the clutter and help shine a particular focus on his Momofuku brand. But he’s hit this magical sweet spot that balances chef cred and a distinctive brand voice like no other.

There is also something very endearing (to me) about this Korean- American chef who has built something so successful with the food I’ve grown up with and love.

P.S. David, next time you’re in Toronto, come over and try my umma’s white kimchi. It’ll change your life, guaranteed.