Monday, July 13, 2009

A Day OFF in the Life of a Chef

Being part of a generation of "Facebookers," I admit to taking interest in how people spend their days...a little insight into the lives of others. Combine that intrigue with the profile of one of the top chefs in the city and I'm hooked -- at least for a few solid minutes of procrastination time. I'm referring to a small article tucked away in the Metropolitan section of yesterday's Times (you know, the section most people never read). David Chang, famed chef of the Momofuku empire in the East Village shares what he does (or in this case, doesn't do) on Sundays, his day off. Aside from being a phenomenal chef, Chang also grew up in Northern Virginia just like moi, so I have additional reason to give him a quick shout out.
Here's what Chang does when he's not in the kitchen:
David Chang, 31, is a noted chef and the owner of four establishments in the East Village: Momofuku Noodle Bar, Momofuku Ko, Momofuku Ssam Bar, and Momofuku Bakery and Milk Bar. He lives alone in Chelsea, hates cooking at home and tries to do nothing on Sundays.

SURFACING Around 9 a.m., I might wake up. And go back to sleep. Or occasionally if my girlfriend’s there, we’ll go out for lunch or dim sum at Oriental Garden in Chinatown. These are very rare occasions. Usually, if anything, I’ll order from Grand Sichuan. I’ve been ordering their dry and sautéed string beans with minced pork. This might happen when they open up at noon. Then I drink water. And go back to bed.

HIDING OUT If it’s the most beautiful day in the world outside, I’d still stay inside until 2:30 p.m. Because it’s just as nice inside as it is outside. I love outside, but inside is nice. People think I should feel guilty. They say, “You should go out and do this.” I’m like, “No, it’s nice inside.”

ZONING OUT I try to do nothing. I don’t know — I’m not trying to reach nirvana or anything, but doing nothing is awesome. I’m trying to do more of nothing. I wish I could say, “Hey, I’m reading The Paris Review or crushing The New Yorker.” But you know what? That’s not happening.

TUNING IN Usually that’s also the day I watch a lot of TV. I DVR a bunch of stuff. A lot of VH1 Classic. I try to catch up on all my Charlie Rose. And all that weird Discovery Channel stuff. And “Dhani Tackles the Globe.” And I catch up on ESPN and sporting events, definitely, definitely if the Redskins are playing — I’m from the Washington, D.C.-Virginia area.

SUNDAY BLUES One of the terrible things about Sunday is that you can’t watch movies in theaters because everyone’s watching them. That’s one of the best things about having days off during weekdays. Nobody has those days off. And brunch is totally overrated. Who wants to wait in line for that? It’s just too crowded on a Sunday. I’d rather stay inside in my little cave.

HOME COOKING I think I might’ve only cooked twice in my kitchen, and that might’ve been drunkenly. I have nothing in my refrigerator. I don’t like cooking at home; it really loses its luster for me. It’s so much better to cook at the restaurant. We really have the best things, nice ingredients. I don’t have to buy stuff that I’m not ever going to use.

WORK COOKING Maybe around 5 p.m., I go to the restaurants. I hit Ssam Bar all the time. And Milk. Then I go to the office and then to Ko and then to the Noodle Bar. I try to stay out of everyone’s way. I try to sneak out around 9:30 p.m. I don’t know. This year has been strange, a lot more travel going on, and a lot more food events and stuff like that. There is no repetition in my schedule. It is the one good and bad thing about the job and the life that I live.

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