Scott Ellis 4:30 a.m., Sept. 17
Hot Shot NY Chef Gambles on Dying Medium
David Chang, hot New York chef (founder of the insanely popular Momofuku chain that features Asian street foods in informal (even uncomfortable) settings, including a noodle house and an Asian tapas restaurant, absolutely refuses to do a TV show: “The whole thought of it made me cringe.”
Instead, he has invested in the supposedly dying medium of a print foodie magazine (with the grave of the seemingly-immortal Gourmet Magazine still fresh.) He and his collaborator, writer Peter Meehan, working under the aegis of McSweeney Publishing Company in San Francisco, thought about doing some sort of I-Pod ap of videos, recipes, blogs, etc., but after considering it, they decided, of all things. to do a magazine. A big, expensive, beautiful, totally eccentric quarterly, printed on heavy matte paper with original graphics, each issue devoted to a single foodstuff. It’s called Lucky Peach (the translation of momofuku). It’s the opposite of a typical glossy food magazine: No little snippets of cooking techniques or equipment promos, no inauthentic “adapted for Americans” recipes, no bloggy little infographics – and no ads.
The first issue is devoted to ramen (discussions, regional variations, recipes, a taste-test of noodles by Ruth Reichl, ex-editor of Gourmet), with a few side-street diversions, such as a verbal squabble between Anthony Bourdain, molecular gastronomy star Wylie Dufresne, and Chang himself, on the subject of culinary mediocrity.
Apparently it’s a dynamite read -- even as a beach read. (Unlike some of those terribly, terribly serious foodie mags, it’s reportedly fun.) The first printing of 40,000 sold out, ditto a second of 12,000. The price is $10.00 per copy at your local newstand (ha! local newstands in SD?) On the net for the hard-copy first issue: storemcsweeneysnet.index, or Amazon/Lucky Peach Magazine.