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David Chang Will Officially Open in DC

David Chang Will Officially Open in DC

Momofuku’s David Chang will definitely be opening a restaurant in his hometown in DC

David Chang is definitely coming to DC soon!

UPDATE: Chef David Cahng has confirmed that he will definitely be opening Momofuku in his hometown, Washington DC. "I haven't been this excited in a long, long time," he told the Washingtonian.

The restaurant will be his largest yet at 4,500 square feet, and will be opening in the Washingtonian. Here's what we know so far: this location most likely won't be serving burgers, and will be a bit mor experimental than his other Momofuku locations. Expect a non-pretentious, unique menu that yes, will definitely include pork buns, and may even have chicken fingers.

David Chang keeps hinting that he will be opening up a restaurant in his hometown, Washington DC, but much to the dismay of many Georgetown-ians, it hasn’t happened yet. It’s been 10 years, since Chang opened his now-infamous Momofuku Noodle Bar in Manhattan, instead of in DC. Rumors have been circulating for awhile, that Chang will soon make the plunge to open up a location in the nation’s capital, and recently Chang addressed these rumors with the Washington Post that he would be opening up in CityCenter DC.

"Right now, it's just wishful thinking," said Chang. "It's on the radar, but nothing's done. If it happens. I’d like it to, that’s all I can say.”

So that pretty much means that there’s no definitive plans to open the restaurant yet, but we can still hope.

For the latest happenings in the food and drink world, visit our Food News page.

Joanna Fantozzi is an Associate Editor with The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter@JoannaFantozzi


InStyle Checks Out: David Chang&rsquos New Korean-Italian Restaurant, Momofuku Nishi

ICYMI on just about every food blog out there, Momofuku Nishi, superstar chef David Cheng&aposs latest culinary mash-up, has officially opened its doors in N.Y.C.&aposs Chelsea neighborhood. This iteration specializes in Korean-Italian fusion𠅋y far his most unique combo to date𠅊nd we were therefore doubly excited to check it out.

But let&aposs not get too ahead of ourselves. Before I made the pilgrimage to worship at Chang’s latest altar, I took to Instagram for some preliminary research (because how awful would it be to order the least hyped menu item?). Since the restaurant’s opening, Chang has been uploading daily snaps of Nishi’s offerings, a complex array of bowls and plates created by chef Joshua Pinsky, the former sous chef at Momofuku Ko. I clicked the Nishi geotag to see what previous diners had enjoyed, noting heavy documentation of the ceci e pepe, a play on the traditional Italian pasta dish cacio e pepe (translation: cheese and pepper).

Speckled across the Instagram grid of mouth-watering entrees were blurry shots of a terrifyingly long queue. The line to get into Nishi, which opens at 6 p.m. daily and currently doesn’t take reservations, appeared to extend halfway down 8th Avenue and snake all the way around 22nd Street. One patron’s caption even mentioned a four hour-long wait for a plate of tender scallops in a harlequin green broth of shio kombu and tiger’s milk.

With this in mind, my loyal dining companion and I reached Nishi’s front door at the neurotically early hour of 4:50 p.m.—needless to say, we were first in line. Fellow eager eaters began arriving about 20 minutes later. As more people gathered around the discrete window front (the only signage consists of a small Momofuku peach logo on the glass door), curious passerby stopped to ask me what the fuss was about—one woman innocently inquired, 𠇊re they giving away free food or something?”

We were seated promptly at 6 p.m. at one of the communal tables, made of the same simple blonde wood found in Chang’s Noodle Bar and Fuku. With the guidance of our friendly waitress, Elizabeth, and my prior Instagram research, we ordered six items from the menu’s five sections. Our starters included the much-hyped romaine and walnut bagna cauda, a plate of crisp romaine leaves and chopped walnuts marinated in a flavorful house-made dressing sirloin crudo with watermelon radish and a divine bowl of fried whole shrimp, aggressively seasoned with salt, sansho pepper, and lime, and meant to be eaten head to tail, shell and all. And so we did.

Our second course was the clear highlight of the evening, consisting of two noodle dishes from the menu’s “myūn” (noodles) section. Pinsky’s ceci e pepe forgoes classic Pecorino Romano for chickpea hozon, a miso-like paste made with chickpeas that have been fermented in-house for six to nine months. The pasta, which is dairy-free save for a touch of butter, was delightfully creamy, nutty, sweet, and perfectly peppery—my friend declared that it made him feel joyful, “like the first day of school.”

I concurred, although I was busy engaging in a torrid love affair with the clams grand Lisboa, a bowl of roasted chow mein cooked in clam broth, oregano, and cabbage, and topped with buttery, herby clams (currently Chang’s favorite menu item at Nishi). I immediately fell for the noodles, some tender and others satisfyingly crispy. An intense wave of sadness washed over me as Elizabeth whisked away our diligently cleaned bowls. Our last savory dish of the night was the pork shoulder with white kimchi, similar in appearance and taste to sauerkraut. Like everything we𠆝 eaten, the meat was delicious, but the real standouts were the noodles.


David Chang Isn’t Sure the Restaurant Industry Will Survive Covid-19

Since 2004, when David Chang helped to reconfigure the dining establishment’s ideas about what a great restaurant could be with Manhattan’s Momofuku Noodle Bar, he has opened more than a dozen restaurants around the world hosted two seasons of his Netflix documentary series, “Ugly Delicious” started a hit podcast, “The Dave Chang Show” published the defunct, much-loved food magazine “Lucky Peach” and now written a memoir, the forthcoming “Eat a Peach,” with a co-author, Gabe Ulla. In doing all that, Chang, 42, has become a food-world icon, broadened the country’s palate and made us more thoughtful about what we eat. None of which is much help with moving forward in the wake of the economic destruction that the coronavirus has wrought in the culinary world. “I’m not being hyperbolic in any way,” Chang said about the future of the field in which he made his name. “Without government intervention, there will be no service industry.”

Can you describe the state of things on your end right now? We’re still trying to sort that out. We made the decision to close our restaurants before it was mandated, and we’re currently in the process of trying to figure out the best way to help our employees. I’m not being hyperbolic in any way: Without government intervention, there will be no service industry whatsoever. There’s so many people that work for me whom I am incredibly concerned about. Where are they going to get their next meal? Do they have health care coverage? How are they going to pay their bills? But this is the way I’ve been weirdly internalizing it: It’s as if aliens came from outer space and decided to totally destroy restaurants. I wouldn’t be like, I can’t believe I didn’t see this coming. In some way coronavirus is an invisible enemy that we could not have anticipated. No one could have.

What needs to happen next for restaurants? We may be headed for the worst-case scenario. Even with more government intervention, I’m afraid that it’s not going to be adequate for the people who need it the most. I feel like it’s the polar opposite of 2008, when they helped the big banks and insurance companies because they had to or the world as we knew it would end. And now, in 2020, we’re talking about “nonessential” businesses and people who don’t have the clout to be able to speak to the government. I have a hard time seeing all the mom-and-pop shops getting help from the government.

Ideally, though, what would that help look like? More than anything, David, I do not want to incite panic and hysteria, but I think for restaurants and the service industry, there is going to be a morbidly high business death rate. My fear is the restaurants that survive are going to be the big chains, and we’re going to eradicate the very eclectic mix that makes America and going out to eat so vibrant and great. And there is a lot of feeling that even in good times, if chefs can’t make their numbers, they’re going to lose everything, so imagine what they must be feeling now. When the economy is booming, it’s hard for restaurants to get loans from the bank because there’s no assets to back them. I don’t know if it’s going to be feasible for the government to give out a stimulus loan to a restaurant or restaurant groups the way they were able to do in 2008 to the auto companies. So I’m trying to figure out what the best way is. The government should give a greater bailout package to real estate owners so that there can be relief for restaurant owners. It has to move up the chain.

And the hope there would be that bailing out real estate owners would give restaurants a little bit of financial breathing room? Correct. Most restaurants don’t own their real estate, so if they are going to get help, it’s going to entail helping out the landlords and lenders who are higher up the chain. Then the next thing to help the restaurants out would be an amnesty of accounts payable and bills. I don’t know how that plays out. This industry has a trickle-down effect in the sense that you have purveyors, you have farmers, you have delivery people. It’s a massively intertwined, connected system. So if a restaurant can’t pay its bills, that’s a problem, but we need to figure that out. There are so many restaurants in different scenarios, from ones that do $70 million a year to $5,000 a week, and every one of those restaurants is going to need help because the burn rate per day is astronomically high. We have ingredients that if you don’t sell, they literally deteriorate. It’s the most exposed business. There’s a lot of successful chefs I know who have five to nine days left of money. And then what do you do? I don’t know. Lastly, I think every hospitality worker should get universal basic income of $1,000 a month or minimum 500 bucks or whatever to stay afloat. On top of that, they all need to have some kind of health care assurance. Something like that probably has to happen. But I don’t expect the government to actually come through on any of that.

I saw that the White House had a call with representatives from the restaurant industry, and it was McDonald’s, Papa John’s All of Trump’s [expletive] that he eats on a daily basis.

Do you have any reason to believe the White House will be responsive to independent restaurant operators? This is why it matters what you eat! I get really mad about this because of how Trump talks about immigrants, Mexicans, Chinese — anyone that’s not in his circle, why would he care about them? If he doesn’t care about them as human beings, why would he care about the food that they make? But listen, if he decides to actually help out everyone, it may be the only time in my life I want to give him a hug and a kiss. If Momofuku and restaurants like Le Bernardin and Daniel Boulud’s and Danny Meyer’s are exposed and in high-trouble situations, I cannot imagine the fear of someone who just opened up a restaurant or some immigrant who came to this country five years ago who just opened up a pizza shop and this is their American dream.

What about people who want to help the restaurants they care about? Is there anything they can do? Call your representatives. We’re going to need to have our leadership make decisions for people whose vote they might not always represent. And support any restaurant that’s doing delivery. The short-term solution is to buy as much as you can from a restaurant. If this thing goes as bad as it’s going, the landscape is going to be forever changed. It’s going to be a whole new world.

Is there a sustained move toward delivery and away from in-restaurant dining in that new world? Yes. Not to sound callous, but that’s it. I thought that shift was going to happen over the next 10, 15 years, and no one would have noticed because it would’ve happened gradually. This change is now going to happen instantaneously. I’m not sure what that looks like. The same issues of delivery are going to remain: who delivers food and what kind of food is delivered.

You’ve talked on your podcast about how food delivery is already changing insofar as more people are trying to deliver good-quality food that’s not just pizza or Chinese. What would that change being accelerated mean for the restaurant business? I see the complete destruction of the midmarket restaurant, the mom-and-pop restaurants. If delivery can be a model that is viable and people can work fewer hours and have better balance, then it is something that we should explore. I’m really worried for this industry. Sometimes cooks have gotten into this being sold a false bill of goods. No one’s told you what’s going to happen at the end of the rainbow. There is no rainbow. It’s like glamorizing being an oil-rig worker or a coal miner. Yes, there is beauty and success, but for the most part cooking is a hard job, and it bothers me that there’s not a better way to do it.

What could be better? With delivery, you have two completely different worlds: the tech world and the restaurant world. The tech world is all about scaling and throwing money at something. But you can’t fully automate cooking. Maybe someone will. I’m worried about what that looks like. Would I like to be at home and be like boop, press a button and get something delicious delivered? That would be amazing, but it also scares me. We’re not supposed to live this way.

You mean with the expectation of near-instant gratification? Yeah, if we just think about meat — maybe it needs to be extremely expensive, and if it is expensive, we’re probably going to treat it how the Japanese cook their beef. Very thinly, very delicately, and eating it is a celebration. As humans, we don’t want to suffer. It’s not in our DNA. It’s natural that we want to enjoy immediate gratification, and that has [expletive] everything up. Even steakhouses today, they’re getting the aging room removed because people don’t want to see the meat. They used to trolley out the meat to people. Now that’s gone. We don’t want to be reminded of suffering. Just bring me the food. People don’t even know where their food comes from, and that is a metaphor for a lot of our problems.

It’s indisputable that lots of Americans are now open to foods that maybe they weren’t open to in the past, which seems like an obvious positive outgrowth of the rise of interest in food culture in this country. Has there been any downside to that rise? It’s weird that in the history of the world, no one has ever known more about food than this generation. I talk to younger people that know different kinds of kimchi. That never stops boggling my mind. So what do we do with that knowledge? It’s got to be two schools. You need the people who are going to try to maintain tradition. You have people cooking food who are artisans. Like Anthony Mangieri at Una Pizza Napoletana. There’s something religious about that. I admire it more than anything in this food world, to be like a Dom DeMarco. But then we have all this other stuff, and everyone’s doing the same. We should be seeing the most insane things. We’re still a conservative steak-and-potatoes country, and that bums me out. There’s less risk-taking. That’s OK if you want to be a craftsman, but there’s fewer people that want to do that, too.

What would the alternative to a steak-and-potatoes country look like? Every country has its staples. That’s a great question. I guess for me it’s: How do we find openness? So much of my life is because of the hell I experienced as a kid. A lot of it was like, as silly as it seems, Oh, Chang, you eat dog, or you eat poo, or your house smells. All of these things. What bothers me about steak and potatoes — and I love steak, I love potatoes, I love them together — is when people don’t want to try anything else. That myopic viewpoint scares me. If I learn to appreciate something, then it better allows me to understand someone else’s culture.

What’s the connection between more people being interested in food culture and the risk-aversion you just mentioned? When we talk about food, it almost always is about how awesome it is, how accessible it is. But how do you get to a place where it has meaning? Having so much accessibility maybe dulls our ability to appreciate things. I think about moments that are real, like when I had my first fresh-squeezed orange juice. I grew up with that frozen stuff. Then you taste fresh-squeezed, and you realize, this is orange juice. But that was a rarity. Now it’s something you could have every day. That accessibility — we’re not supposed to have everything.

Do you think you still have innovations left in you? Well, yeah. What I want to get better at is making sure that I can prepare other people so they can tell their stories. That process is so hard, and in some ways, all I want to do is take that struggle away. I also realize that would be, like, the worst form of parenting possible. I had an argument with my mom — this is a tangent. My mom got mad at my wife and me. She was like, Hugo’s crying. Why are you not going into the room? She came from the generation that was anything the baby needs, you’re there. But Grace and I were huddled in the room next door looking at the monitor: Should we go in? Should we go in? This is the worst. This is the worst. I’m going to go in. No, you can’t. Being there but not intervening — that’s so hard.

According to your own memoir, you were a horrible boss for a long time. Absolutely. I was immature and a total jerk, and I developed a giant ego. I want to beat the [expletive] out of myself for not being better. This is what years of therapy have been about. I can’t get mad at myself for not being perfect — as much as I will continue to be mad at myself.

The macho, hotheaded behavior that you thought was acceptable in kitchens — was that the result of your having bought into the whole myth of the swashbuckling genius male chef? You’re taught in kitchens that anything short of excellence is unacceptable. The only thing that matters is to make it perfect. So what are you supposed to do when you’re told this is how you’re supposed to run a kitchen? There were certainly people that were like well, that’s stupid, but I didn’t have that insight. And how I was raised: You suck, you suck, you suck. I do better when I’m getting yelled at. I’ve been yelled at my entire life. I have been conditioned to work better when getting yelled at. This may be completely inappropriate to make the comparison, but it’s like if you’re stuck in a religious household, how are you supposed to know that something else exists?

You frame things in somewhat similarly paradigmatic terms when you talk in your book about #MeToo and the food world, including Mario Batali. Your conclusion was that you weren’t sure if you were ignorant or wanted to be ignorant. But I’m wondering if you could revisit that question now: Why did you miss the signs? When I think about Mario or Ken, I felt like I was a freshman in high school and these were the seniors. Like: This is how it is. I’m wrestling with all of this. Mario was one reason why Momofuku didn’t go out of business. He would come in for lunch with politicians, businesspeople, celebrities, artists. But why didn’t I say something when there was a joke or connect the dots? It’s been a lot of processing. We have to hold ourselves accountable.

Have you taken steps to do that? A couple of years ago, you were the subject of a pregnancy-discrimination allegation. Right.I was so busy trying to be right that I wasn’t looking at how to make things better. I was a [expletive].

Are there specific things that you implemented or can point to in terms of making your workplaces more inclusive for women? I think that we’ve just tried to build the best company possible. I want to build the most inclusive workplace possible. That’s a goal that we all should strive for and that we need to get better at. I think that we’re doing our very best, and I don’t know what else you can say about that.

But does doing your best translate to specific policies that you’ve implemented? Obviously we do everything we can with policies. To me, we’re reverse-engineering it. How do you get a place where people like when they’re at work and don’t speak negatively about the place with their friends? And instead they’re like, This is great! That’s the goal, and making it inclusive and making it equal. That has to happen.

In your book, you talk about having had suicidal thoughts. Do you still have them? Um, a lot. I don’t think there’s a day that goes by where it doesn’t happen. It’s what I talk about with my doctor. It’s weird to verbalize this not to my shrink but to you. It’s just more, like, existential dread. What I’m working on right now is what happens when at some point you don’t want to push the boulder up the hill anymore. I worry about that day, and what happens when a lot of your heroes call it quits, whether it’s Tony Bourdain or Dave Berman. The way I’ve determined a lot of happiness is weird. A lot of this is Camus: Happiness is saying no. I refuse. What I worry about is what happens if I don’t want to do that anymore. Yes, there are rich relationships that I have, and I would do anything for my family — but my depression is like an A.I., and it’s constantly getting smarter as I become more aware. The thing that happens when people get depressed is all you do is think about yourself in relation to the world because you have disassociated from everything else, and then it starts to destroy your sense of worth, your sense of identity. Ultimately I get through that, and I can center myself. Everything’s telling you to stop, but you have to never give up. You have to pick yourself up and find some baseline. I know it sounds crazy, but you just have to push through.

Is cooking something that can help with these problems? I think people have lost the idea of why someone cooks for someone else: I want you to feel good. I want you to eat something delicious. I may not even know you, but here’s a bowl of love. The other day, I made Hugo sockeye salmon. I shredded it, and then I blended spinach and broccoli with a little butter. I’ve never cooked at home in my life. Ever. Being able to do that has been like, oh, this is what cooking should be.

What food is giving you comfort? Snow pea shoots with garlic and some chicken broth and a bowl of rice. I put a little MSG in it, and it was great. So right now it’s been a lot of snow pea shoots and it’s a lot of oxtails with broths and soups. I just cook like a grandma now. I would love to have a restaurant where it feels like you’re at home. How do you open a restaurant where you’re just giving people that?

David Marchese is a staff writer and the Talk columnist for the magazine.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity from three conversations.


The Early Word on Momofuku CCDC

Momofuku CCDC opened unexpectedly less than three weeks ago, following sister bakery Milk Bar opening two days prior. Famous chef and owner David Chang made the announcement over Instagram.

Until then, restaurant reps had remained silent on details like concept, menu and even the opening date. The current menu shares several dishes with Momofuku Noodle Bar in New York but has also has some offerings exclusive to D.C. There are four types of buns (including pork, shrimp, brisket and shiitake mushroom), and snacks like pork jerky and Old Bay pork rinds. It also includes Chang's famous ramen.

The D.C. location of Momofuku immediately drew crows and lines, but things have calmed down since they started accepting limited reservations. But the restaurant still has 63 Yelp reviews with an overall rating of three and a half stars. Read on for the early word on Momofuku CCDC:

The Extremely Uncomfortable News: Momofuku's signature minimalist wooden tables and sleek surfaces bother some diners. Chowhound poster cfoodie says, "Once seated, it resembled a roadside noodle stand in Asia, sitting on hard stool tightly packed, being constantly bumped into by others and the servers." Yelper Ben O. agrees. He writes, "Not only are the slabs of wood that you're sitting on extremely uncomfortable, the tight quarters all but guarantees that you will be knocking elbows with your neighbor." [Chowhound, Yelp]

The Overpriced and Overrated News: There are also several gripes about the prices, including a debate on the Don Rockwell forum about some draught beer prices exceeding $10 per glass. Yelper Sean D. writes, "This place is insanely overpriced for fast food quality ramen ($17)," and Yelper Joyce F. declares it "overpriced and overrated." Facebook user Jack O’Neill writes "Delicious food--but while cost was not really an issue at this level it's still not a good value for what you get." [DR, Yelp, Facebook]

The Pork Buns vs. Brisket Buns News: Twitter user @BTMenu favors the brisket buns over Chang’s famous pork buns, but Don Rockwell poster Mark Dedrick declares, "Pork buns>shrimp buns>brisket buns, but all three were great." The husband and wife team behind blog DC Wrapped Dates are split on the question. He writes, "the pork buns are her favorite and the more traditional - belly that melts into your mouth with the familiar salt of hoisin and pickled cucumber. Meanwhile, I'm more into the brisket versions with their subtle smoky flavor matched by bright mayo." [Twitter, DR, DC Wrapped Dates]

The Stick to Daikaya for R amen News: Most diners prefer D.C.’s other ramen spots to Momofuku's famous bowl of noodles. Foursquare user Kristine Untalan writes, "Momofuku ramen was okay, but go to Sakuramen if you're craving it." Blogger DC Wrapped Dates says ". compared to some contemporaries, the broth here seems a little thin and a little one note. " Blogger Cook In/Dine Out writes, "The noodles had a chewy texture that rivals (but does not surpass) the ramen at Daikaya." [FS, DC Wrapped Dates, Cook In/Dine Out]

The Beef Noodle Soup Is Perfection News: Some diners, like Yelper Robert C., think this soup is even better than the famous ramen. Instagram user @junkfoodguy says the dish was "perfection" and blogger Cook In/Dine Out calls it "delicious." She continues, "The noodles were a little thinner than the ramen but were just as chewy. The broth was intensely beefy and like the pork in there ramen, the brisket came prepared two ways: sliced and shredded." [Yelp, Instagram, Cook In/Dine Out]

The Superlative Rockfish News: One breakout favorite is the rockfish with yuzu. Blogger DC Wrapped Dates writes, "This was superlative in every way it's not a stretch to say that it is one of the best things we've eaten all year. The beautiful blend of citrus and sweet with the rockfish's delicate texture was to die for. " Yelper Catharine M. says, "It was a great balance and perfect" while Yelper Geith M. writes, "The fish was super fresh and the flavors vivid. A solid dish." [DC Wrapped Dates, Yelp]

The Spicy Cucumbers News: Don Rockwell poster lhollers calls the spicy cucumbers "outstanding" and blogger Cook In/Dine Out says the dish "effectively blends the cooling powers of cold cucumber chunks with a spicy sesame-scallion sauce and arrives topped with chopped toasted almonds." Yelper Mark F. writes, "The combination of the cool, crisp cucumber, tongue-tingling green sauce and crunchy nut topping is addictive. Got to and will have it again and again." [DR, Cook In/Dine Out, Yelp]

The Old Bay Pork Rinds Are Too Salty News: Don Rockwell forum poster lhollers says this new dish is the weakest one he tried. He elaborates, "the pieces are huge and cumbersome, without a lot of spice. " Yelper Jennifer W. says they’re "way too salty" but Yelper Bryan L. says "they’re not that bad." [DR, Yelp]

The Biscuits Should Be in Your Mouth News: Yelper Anita C. writes, "God bless the biscuit bites. For real. I don't care if they seem out of place on the menu. The only place they should be is your mouth." T he dish was also a favorite of blogger Jasmine Chan Eats, and Yelper Liz N. says they’re "TO-DIE-FOR." [Yelp, Jasmine Chan Eats]

The How It Compares to New York News: Yelper Sammy P. says, "was really hoping to like this place but maybe they left their recipes back @ home in NYC," but Yelper Alice W. says, "Great meal, much better than my experience at Ma Peche in NYC. David Chang stuck to his tried and true menu, which I'm happy about." Blogger Cook In/Dine Out has a more nuanced response. She writes, "This also wasn't the best Momofuku meal we've ever had--that honor still goes to our wonderfully memorable dinner at Ma Peche. That said, my high expectations were pretty much met by our first visit. " cook in dine out." [Yelp, Cook In/Dine Out]


Ужасно вкусно

В поисках умопомрачительных блюд Дэйв отправляется в Мумбаи, Сидней, Стамбул и другие города, одновременно готовясь к своему самому большому приключению — стать отцом.

Детское меню

Будущий отец Дэйв обращается за советом к коллегам о том, как сочетать дом и работу, а затем пробует приготовить детскую еду.

Это не карри

Признав, что ничего не смыслит в индийской кухне, Дэйв обращается за помощью к Азизу Ансари и Падме Лакшми и отправляется в захватывающую поездку в Мумбаи.

Стейк

Дэйв с друзьями посещают скотоводческие фермы, рестораны высокой кухни и стейк-хаус «Аутбэк», чтобы раскрыть сложную социальную динамику нарезки говядины.

Как вращается мясо

Одержимость мясом на вертеле вдохновляет Дэйва заглянуть в кулинарную лабораторию и узнать, как беженцы изменили историю кулинарии.

Путешествуя с друзьями, признанный шеф-повар Дэвид Чанг дарит легендарным блюдам новое интересное исполнение и раскрывает удивительные взаимосвязи разных культур.

Пицца

Пока пуристы в Бруклине и Неаполе отстаивают классические рецепты пиццы, креативные повара в Японии и по всему миру заново открывают секреты лучшей выпечки.

Любители тако знакомят скептика Дэйва с морем вкусового разнообразия в автокафе Лос-Анджелеса, закусочных с тако в арабском стиле и выездном ресторане «Нома» в Мексике.

Домашняя еда

Дэйв и Питер Михан помогают готовить обед семьи Ченов на День благодарения, обсуждая свои самые сильные детские впечатления о еде.

Раки и креветки

Разочарованный упрямой консервативностью шефов Нового Орлеана, Дэйв отправляется в полный иммигрантов Хьюстон пробовать острую смесь вьетнамской и каджунской кухни.

Барбекю

Пока Питер исследует разнообразие вкусов американского барбекю, Дэйв пробует фантастическую утку по-пекински, якитори и корейское барбекю.

Жареная курица

Дэйв познает секреты приготовления острой курицы по-нашвилльски, изучает китайское меню KFC и погружается в богатый мир соул-кухни.

Жареный рис

Забудьте про печенья с предсказаниями и цыпленка генерала Цо: секретные пункты в меню, местные деликатесы и гора омаров покажут истинное великолепие китайской кухни.

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Время решающего противостояния: итальянская паста с начинкой или азиатские пельмени? Что же победит: сяолунбао или тортеллини?


Contents

With experience in restaurants in New York City, Chef David Chang opened up his first restaurant in 2004, Momofuku Noodle Bar. It was influenced by his time spent working in Japan and visiting ramen shops. [3] After about a year of trials, Noodle Bar took off as a success when the chefs began cooking what they felt like — more adventurous dishes with better ingredients. [4] Growing, Noodle Bar eventually moved up the street, and Momofuku Ko took over the space.

Momofuku Ssäm Bar opened after Noodle Bar and originally had the concept of an Asian-style burrito bar (ssam is Korean for wrap). [5] After experiencing troubles, Chang and his cohorts decided to change the style of the menu, away from the burrito-centered cuisine. This change led Ssäm Bar to success, as it received two stars (eventually three) from The New York Times. [6]

The third restaurant to open was Momofuku Ko. Chang describes the idea behind Ko as a "cook-centric restaurant with just a few stools, a collaborative kitchen, and a constantly changing menu." [7] Má Pêche was the fourth restaurant to open and the first to open outside of the East Village neighborhood.

Momofuku Seiōbo in October 2011 was the first restaurant to open outside of the U.S. [8] In January 2012, Momofuku opened the cocktail bar Booker & Dax in the back of Ssäm Bar in collaboration with Dave Arnold. [9] Momofuku Toronto followed in 2012 alongside the opening of the Shangri-La Hotel. [10] Fuku, a chicken sandwich restaurant, opened in the original Noodle Bar location in June 2015. [11]

Doing office work for Ssäm Bar at the time, pastry chef Christina Tosi began the desserts program at the three Momofuku restaurants, first at Ssäm Bar, then Noodle Bar, and then Ko. [12]

The first Momofuku Milk Bar started in the laundromat next to Ssäm Bar. After a year and a half, a second Milk Bar opened in Midtown, in the Chambers Hotel. [13] In November 2010 the Williamsburg, Brooklyn kitchen opened to accommodate the growth of Milk Bar. [14] On September 24, 2011, Milk Bar opened its fourth location on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. [15] In March 2012, Milk Bar opened a fifth location in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, and its most recent, sixth, location opened in SOHO in September 2014. [16]

In April 2018, Momofuku signed a deal with Kraft Heinz to start selling their chili sauce in American grocery stores. [17]

Momofuku Noodle Bar [18] was the first Momofuku restaurant it opened in August 2004. It serves ramen, seasonal dishes, and a variety of buns. [19]

Since opening in 2006, Momofuku Ssäm Bar [20] has been listed as one of The World's 50 Best Restaurants for 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012. [21] Weekday lunches feature an all-rotisserie duck menu. [22] Booker and Dax (the bar at Ssäm) is open late serving drinks made with new techniques and technologies.

Momofuku Ko [23] opened in March 2008. [24] At Momofuku Ko (ko means "child of"), guests sit along a kitchen counter and are served by the cooks. Dinner is a set tasting menu devised by the chef, Sean Gray, and his aides-de-cuisine. It is usually about 10 courses long [25] at lunch the menu stretches out to 16 courses. Since opening in 2008, Momofuku Ko has earned two Michelin stars, which it has retained for eleven years. [26] Ko is No. 70 on the San Pellegrino World's Best Restaurants list. [27]

Má Pêche ("mother peach") is in Midtown Manhattan in the Chambers Hotel. [28] Má Pêche opened in 2010 with co-owner and executive chef, Tien Ho, with Chef Paul Carmichael taking the reins in October 2011. [29] This change prompted a shift in Má Pêche's cuisine from French-Vietnamese to American. [30] Má Pêche includes a midtown outpost of Christina Tosi's bakery, Momofuku Milk Bar.

Fuku is a casual chicken concept by Momofuku. Originally started as a fried chicken sandwich joint, Fuku has since grown to serve various chicken and seasonal offerings, along with beer, slushies, and more. Fuku has locations in the East Village, Wall St, Madison Square Garden, Citi Field, and the Seaport in South Boston. [31]

Seiōbo is Momofuku's first restaurant outside of New York City. [32] In Sydney, it opened at The Star Casino in late October 2011. [33] "Seiōbo" (Japanese: 西王母 ) is the Japanese pronunciation for the traditional Chinese "goddess of the West", who is known in mythical stories, such as Journey to the West, as owning the celestial peach orchards. Momofuku Seiōbo has two hats from The Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide and was named Best New Restaurant. [34]

In 2012, David Chang opened Momofuku Toronto, Momofuku's first location in Canada. [35] It is in a three-story glass cube on University Avenue in Downtown Toronto and is home to Noodle Bar, Nikai, Daishō and Shōtō. [36]

Noodle Bar is on the ground floor and is a sister-restaurant to the one the same name in New York City. The menu features bowls of ramen and a roster of dishes like steamed buns and rice cakes. The restaurant is home to a custom piece of art created by Steve Keene. [36] Nikai is a bar and lounge on the second floor of Momofuku Toronto. The menu features cocktails, beer, wine, and sake. Guests can order items from both the Noodle Bar and Daishō menus. [36] Daishō is on the third floor. The menu features large-format meals meant for parties of 4–10 guests and an à la carte menu that includes dishes to share. [36] Shōtō is in the Daishō dining room on the third floor. Shōtō serves a roughly 10-course tasting menu that is based on market availability. Guests are seated along the counter and served by the chefs. [36]

Momofuku CCDC opened in October 2015 and is Chang's first restaurant in the Washington, D.C. area and the first in the United States outside of New York. It is in the downtown CityCenterDC development. The restaurant includes a Milkbar location. [37]

Momofuku Milk Bar, under the direction of pastry chef Christina Tosi, is based in New York City and has several locations in the cities of Washington and Toronto. [39] [40]

Momofuku Nishi (which means "west") opened in January 2016 and is Momofuku's first restaurant on the west side. In New York City's Chelsea neighborhood, guests can choose from à la carte offerings for lunch or dinner.

Momofuku Las Vegas is Momofuku's first restaurant in the western U.S. It is inside of The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. The menu draws influence from all over the world, including the U.S., Korea, and Japan. The constantly evolving menu features steamed buns, noodles, and meat and seafood meant for sharing.

In 2009, David Chang, Peter Meehan, Gabriele Stabile and the Momofuku team produced the Momofuku cookbook. It features recipes and photographs from Momofuku Noodle Bar, Momofuku Ssam Bar, Momofuku Ko, and Milk Bar. The cookbook was a New York Times Best Seller. [41] [42]

Written by Christina Tosi with a foreword by David Chang, the Momofuku Milk Bar cookbook was released in October 2011. Christina Tosi included her recipes for Cereal Milk, Crack Pie, the Compost Cookie, and other popular Milk Bar desserts. [12]

Scraps is a limited edition collection of outtakes and artwork from the Momofuku cookbook photographer, Gabriele Stabile. [43]

From 2011 to November 2013, Lucky Peach, [44] a quarterly journal of food writing, was published by McSweeney's. [45] [46] Since then, it has been self-published. [47] Lucky Peach was then created by David Chang, Peter Meehan, and Zero Point Zero production.

The first issue of Lucky Peach centered on ramen. [48] The second issue, "The Sweet Spot", included articles on the neurobiology of how the brain detects sweet foods. This issue was a New York Times Best Seller. [49] [50] [51] The third issue, "Chefs and Cooks", was also a New York Times Best Seller. [52] [53]

The fourth issue of Lucky Peach was about American food. [54] The fifth issue was about Chinatown and was released in November 2012. [55] The sixth issue was centered on the theme of the apocalypse and was published in January 2013. [56] The seventh issue of Lucky Peach was about travel. Released in May 2013, the issue featured one of Christopher Boffoli's "Big Appetites" photographs as its cover image. [57] The eighth issue centered on the idea of gender in the food world. [58]

In March 2017, Lucky Peach announced it would cease publication after printing a double issue in the fall of 2017. [59] Meehan stated that the shuttering of the publication was due to its partners' differences in creative direction and financial strategy. [60]


Share All sharing options for: David Chang Talks Tipping, Minimum Wage, and Chicken Sandwiches

Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

This week chef David Chang of Momofuku fame sat down with Vox.com's Ezra Klein for an episode of The Ezra Klein Show, a new Vox Media podcast. Chang spent a lot of the hour comparing his restaurant and business to a sports team and looking back on his younger, more careless days, but he also looked into the future of dining and his business and brand. Here, now, are the more enlightening bits:

Chang on recipe patents, specifically pegged to the Bagel Bomb rip off : "I want to say that we should have some patent ability . but I don't know. I think about this sometimes when I listen to music . and I'm like 'well, is that so different from coming up with a recipe?' And then I look at fashion and that's an industry where people copy left and right, and you can't really patent anything in fashion except the brand. . It makes me mad sometimes. It doesn't make sense why music should have it but food can't."

On the surprise of his career: "I had just the right amount of naiveté to know what I could or couldn't do. Just enough fine dining experience . the reason I left fine dining was I knew I was never going to be good enough. So I knew I had to find something else."

On what he looks for in hiring people: "The right amount of talent is barely enough . cooking is about failure. Repetition of failure. The more you fail, the more you learn. A sense of humility is so important."

On his view of his job: "There are days when I don't want to do this. There are literally five or 30 minutes every day where I don't want to do it."

Chang on paying his chefs a more decent wage: "Socially and politically I'm pretty damn liberal. Socially — I wouldn't say I'm a socialist but I'm behind everything we're doing, what the government's doing [raising the minimum wage] I would also want. But as a business owner, it doesn't make any fucking sense. . It's painting us in a corner and there's no room to grow. The $15 min wage in New York, 100 percent behind that. But . again in theory you having people — I don't know how they're making this calculation . I'm afraid of what's going to happen. A good fine dining restaurant could do like 2 to 5 percent margins, fast food 10 to 20 percent. So, anything over 10 percent is a good year . the wages are going to really cut into the margins. I don't think people understand it is a labor of love."

On the dawn of the no-tipping era: "The next two years are going to be very, very telling of the future of the culinary industry. [We have] a perfect example at Nishi. My servers are getting paid anywhere from $30 an hour let's say. There's 10 to 15 of them. That's a lot in terms of wages. If you have overtime, that's time and a half. You might need them to come in during daytime hours . for education of wine, general service stuff. That can't happen anymore. They have to come in 30 min before service starts [and we're losing that training time]."

Further on tipping: "I believe the no-tipping policy is forcing restaurants — which is why I have to explore it, because it could make it better. It's tough because the servers are getting capped out. They could be making a lot more if they were taking tips. . A lot of variables that have to be discovered, in terms of the size and scope of the restaurant, the comfortability factor. If you have a 150-seat or 200-seat restaurant, you can get away with some stuff. My fear is the medium-sized restaurant, from 50 to 75 seats, it's just too hard to run, we might see the extinction of it. That could be a result of labor. You need a certain number of people to run a restaurant. I don't know if the numbers are going to work."

On how he's going to make his concepts work and pay chefs more: "The breakthrough is going to have to come through growth and expansion in other ways. We're going to roll out Fukus and try to open more Milk Bars. . I think that just size can give you the buffer to direct a lot of those savings back to your employees. The no-tipping is great, but I'm still reserving my judgment until I see it work. Right now I think it works for a certain kind of restaurant. I don't know if it works for all restaurants. I'd love to go to [the New York state legislature in] Albany and say, 'Listen guys, I think it's fantastic, but can we create some provisions for this rule?'"

On the sports team analogies: "I view Momofuku as more of a sports team. It's like the Spurs or the Patriots, cheating excluded. To get through the harder parts, it's like running a sports franchise. In terms of finding talent, growing it, the culture you groom from, and all the business components to making money. A lot of teams don't make money, but TV deals make money."

On management: "Near 1,000 people work at Momofuku. To be honest I'm terrible at [management]. It's really hard. I feel like I'm good at talking to someone in the kitchen . but I feel like I live in the HR hot zone. Managing people is really hard, and it's not something that comes naturally to me."

Why Chang had to pause his R&D program: "At a certain point when you're growing you can't have these R&D expenditures. We had sat on all of these ideas that were so good, and I was like well we have to sell them. At the time the restaurants weren't incorporating the ideas we were creating."

On sustainability in farming: "I wrestle with this a lot, the sustainability factor. But right now there's so much big business in farming. . I have to really figure that out. Meat is really expensive right now. This goes back to the topic of wages. Food is going to have to get more expensive [if we want to pay our people more]."

Listen to the whole episode to hear more about Chang's focus on pig and veal farming, agribusiness, food education in school, vegetarianism, fermentation, and books that have inspired his career and daily life.


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Share All sharing options for: FUKUSANITY: First Impressions From Sietsema and Sutton

Fried chicken sandwich and fries at Fuku. All photos: Nick Solares

This morning David Chang birthed his newest Momofuku baby, Fuku, a spicy chicken sandwich shop in the old Ko space that he hopes to grow into a fast casual empire. Eater was on the scene, both critics in tow, and it's time to hear their first reactions.

Here's what Robert Sietsema has to say:

The new David Chang fast food-style fried chicken sandwich has been unveiled…and it’s damn good! A crisp plank of irregularly shaped thigh meat grandly protrudes from a bun that has been slathered top and bottom with a thin layer of what looks and tastes like mayo. Three pickle chips cavort underneath. The sandwich has been described as "spicy," but to chileheads it will seem just barely so. A bottle of red Ssam Sauce lingers on the side — a sort of Korean ketchup — but who needs it? The chicken is formidably crusty, without being soddenly so, and there’s nothing better than one of these sandwiches hot out of the grease. The best part: the faint perfume of Scotch bonnet peppers infuses the crust, sending the thing spinning in a Caribbean direction. And nobody who ate one of the first this morning didn’t want to eat another one right away.

There are antecedents, of course. This is above all an engineered product, from the oddly configured bird patty, to the large size of the patty compared to the squishy potato roll it comes on, extending to the spare garnishment. It was engendered partly by all those chicken biscuits Brooklyn has been peddling lately, but also by the Korean chicken chains, though thankfully without the sweetness. And using habanero rather than red chile flakes provides an inspiring extra vector of flavor. Chik-Fil-A provided inspiration, too, as did Danny Meyer’s Shake Shack.

One thing Fuku and Shake Shack have in common is their comparative contempt for fries. Shake Shack uses treated crinkle cuts, and recently reneged on a promise to provide better ones, while Fuku serves steak fries, the world’s worst type of fries, which seem to have been par-baked before being fried, thus giving them an interior texture of instant mashed potatoes. The reason for this is clear. All eyes should be on the sandwich, and if people came for excellent fries rather than the sandwich, the place would’t be deemed the same success. This might be called the Five Guys Effect: most people I know go there for the fries rather than the burgers.

There’s a grain salad, too, oddly dotted with canned mandarin oranges and tasting like it was borrowed from Dimes. Not bad with its bright orange dressing — if you feel you have to eat something healthy, that is.

So 11 years after David Chang starting selling steamed pork buns for $5 at the original Momofuku Noodle Bar, he's hawking fried chicken sandwiches in the same space, now branded Fuku, for $8. That's a pretty good deal when you consider that a) he was selling $125 tasting menus at this location in the intervening years b) the Noodle Bar pork buns will now set you back $10. In other words, he's coming back to his roots. He's coming back to cheap.

This fast-casual space — Danny Meyer calls it "fine casual" — is a pretty exciting space to watch these days because it's giving critically acclaimed chefs like Jose Andres (Beefsteak), Mark Ladner (Pasta Flyer), and Brooks Headley (Superiority Burger) an opportunity to bring seasonal vegetables, humanely raised meats, and all sorts of delicious, semi-high end foods to consumers who might've otherwise gorged on "junk food" but who are looking for something more refined than McDonalds or Chick-Fil-A. These consumers are often novice gourmands who might not be prepared to spend $30 or $50 on a sit down dinner. Many of us in the food writing community were those same consumers a decade ago, clamoring to get into the original Momofuku Noodle Bar, a cheap haven for delicious, ambitious food in an overpriced city. So Fuku, like Shake Shack, stands well positioned to be the gateway drug to the world of eating in good restaurants — to the world of paying more for good food, sourced from sustainable methods, and served by people who are hopefully well compensated.

That's another way of saying there's a lot riding on this chicken sandwich. And for those who care about prices, that $8 is a bit more than a Shake Shack burger, which will run you $5.19 in New York. The good news is that Chang's sandwiches, in the opening hour of Fuku, are close to perfect.

The sandwich came out precisely 10 minutes after the order. That's longer that it would take to get a spicy sandwich at Wendy's, but shorter than at a sit-down restaurant.

The first thing you notice is the lopsided ratio of meat to bread. The chicken spills out of the bun like an oversized bao it's a giant, uber-American version of the Momofuku pork bun. This means you get bites of pure poultry. And the poultry is glorious. The outside is about as crunchy as a deep-fried chicken, without that overly dense bite one might encounter with a deeper skillet fry. The flavor, even though you're eating thigh meat (versus a Chick-Fil-A breast), is neutral. This isn't the funky poultry apotheosis we're dealing with here. This is about the thigh carrying the flavor of the spices. And those spices are good, recalling the KFC spicy fried chicken wings I used to eat on Sundays while watching America's Funniest Home Videos. These are flavors from the pre-YouTube era.

That's another way of saying there's a lot riding on this one chicken sandwich

The spices and the heat creep up on your palate quickly then dissipate about 15 seconds later. It's nowhere near as spicy as Paul Carmichael's old habanero fried chicken at Ma Peche.

The meat is juicy, with a thick, strip steak-esque layer of fat on one side, giving some bites a gorgeous, gummy chew. Those accustomed to the soft, spongy bite of a chicken McNugget won't like this, but I do. It's the type of texture you'll encounter when eating chicken at the Michelin-starred Tori Shin, where the beauty isn't so much the intrinsic flavor of the chicken (yakitori joints don't tend to get too funky with their birds) but the way the meat feels in your mouth. Sometimes it's chewy. Sometimes it's cartilaginous. Sometimes there's a hint of crunchy bone. No bone here at Fuku, but the satisfying chew can recalls the prized neck meat of a chicken crossed with a Japanese style karaage. Righteous.

Does it all taste better with pickles and the buttery bun? Not necessarily, but that's no more a complaint than saying your pulled pork is served on white bread. Remove the bun just as you'd remove a heavy sweater on a hot day and eat the meat by itself.

Fries come with for $12. Don't get them, because they're KFC-style steak fries, or wedges, which are universally accepted to be an inferior form of fry. Funny, we have Danny Meyer at Shake Shack, serving some of the country's best fast food burgers, and David Chang at Fuku, one of our country's great chefs, selling a game-changing chicken sandwich, and neither establishment offers fries that are any good. So be it.

The right side order at Fuku isn't the fries but the salad, a mix of farro, mandarin oranges, and anise-y shio. The cool grains and sweet citrus cleanse your palate well after a few bites of fatty, juicy chicken. Add a bit of the sweet-spicy Ssam Sauce (or the included Hibachi-style dressing) for moisture. When this joint goes late night, which it eventually will, the salad will be your go to-order when wasted, something clean and easy for your stomach to digest, instead of something fried and fatty for your stomach to eject.

So there you go. You might not see a Momofuku Noodle Bar or a Momofuku Ko open up in Des Moines, Iowa, anytime in the next decade, but I like to think we'll see Fukus cropping up across our fruited plane very soon, serving excellent chicken sandwiches to Americans who'll giggle when they intentionally mispronounce the name.


Makes one 6" layer cake Servings

Step 1

Preheat oven to 350°. Line a 13x9" rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and coat with nonstick spray set aside.

Step 2

Whisk flour, baking powder, salt, and ¼ cup sprinkles in a large bowl. Combine buttermilk, oil, and vanilla in a medium bowl.

Step 3

Using an electric mixer on medium-high, beat granulated sugar, shortening, butter, and light brown sugar in another large bowl until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating to blend between additions and occasionally scraping down sides and bottom of bowl. Continue to beat mixture, occasionally scraping down sides and bottom of bowl, until almost doubled in volume and very light, airy, and pale yellow, about 4 minutes.

Step 4

With mixer on low, add buttermilk mixture until incorporated. Add dry ingredients, beating until just combined, about 1 minute.

Step 5

Scrape batter into prepared pan smooth top. Sprinkle with remaining 2 Tbsp. sprinkles. Bake until cake is light golden brown, the center springs back when gently pressed, and a tester inserted into the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, 30–35 minutes.

Step 6

Remove cake from oven and cool on a wire rack or, in a pinch, in the fridge or freezer (don’t worry, it’s not cheating).

Step 7

Do ahead: Store cooled cake wrapped in plastic in fridge up to 5 days.

Crumbs:

Step 8

Preheat oven to 300°. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper set aside.

Step 9

Combine flour, granulated sugar, light brown sugar, sprinkles, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Add oil and vanilla, and using your hands, mix until no dry spots remain and large clumps form when mixture is pressed together. As though you were making a crumble topping, break mixture up into clusters (some small, some large) and spread onto prepared baking sheet. Bake, stirring occasionally, until crumble is light golden brown and crunchy, 10–12 minutes (it will firm up as it cools). Let cool completely.

Step 10

Do ahead: Wrap crumbs tightly in plastic and store at room temperature up to 5 days.

Frosting and assembly:

Step 11

Combine butter, shortening, and cream cheese in large bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium-high until mixture is smooth and fluffy, 2–3 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl and slowly stream in corn syrup and 1 Tbsp. vanilla. Beat until mixture is silky smooth and glossy white, about 3 minutes.

Step 12

Scrape down sides of bowl and, with mixer on low, add powdered sugar, salt, baking powder, and citric acid until just combined. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until you have a brilliant stark white, beautifully smooth frosting, about 4 minutes (it should look just like it came out of a plastic tub at the grocery store!).

Step 13

Do ahead: Store frosting in an airtight container in fridge up to 1 week.

For the assembly:

Step 14

Place a silicone baking mat or piece of parchment on a counter. Invert cake onto mat, then peel off parchment. Use cake ring to punch out two 6" rounds from cake (or, using a springform pan as a guide, cut out 2 rounds using a paring knife). These are your top 2 cake layers (the remaining cake scraps will form the bottom layer of the cake).

Step 15

Line a sheet pan with a clean piece of parchment. Clean cake ring and place it in center of the pan. Use 1 acetate strip to line inside of cake ring. Place cake scraps inside ring and use the back of your hand to press scraps together into a flat, even layer (you never see this layer, so it’s okay that it’s messy—but since it’s the base of the cake, it needs to be flat).

Step 16

Combine milk and remaining 1 tsp. vanilla in a small bowl. Dunk a pastry brush in milk mixture and use half of it to generously moisten the base layer.

Step 17

Use the back of a spoon to spread about 3 Tbsp. frosting evenly over cake. Sprinkle ⅔ cup birthday crumbs evenly over frosting. Use the back of your hand to press them in place. Use the back of a spoon to spread another 3 Tbsp. frosting as evenly as possible over crumbs.

Step 18

With your index finger, gently tuck second acetate strip between cake ring and the top ¼" of the first acetate strip, so that you have a clear ring of acetate 5–6" tall—high enough to support the height of the finished cake. Top with a cake round (if 1 of your 2 cake rounds is less pretty than the other, use it for the middle layer and save the most perfect one for the top). Brush layer with remaining milk mixture. Repeat frosting-crumb layering process.

Step 19

Nestle remaining cake round into frosting. Cover top of cake with remaining frosting. Use an offset spatula to form decorative swirls, or do as they do at Milk Bar and shape it into a perfectly flat top. Top with remaining birthday crumbs.

Step 20

Transfer cake to freezer and freeze at least 3 hours to set cake and filling.

Step 21

At least 3 hours before serving the cake, pull sheet pan out of freezer and, using your fingers and thumbs, pop cake out of cake ring. Gently peel off acetate and transfer cake to a platter or cake stand. Defrost in fridge at least 3 hours.

Step 22

Do ahead: Cake will keep up to 2 weeks in freezer or 5 days in refrigerator.

How would you rate Momofuku Milk Bar’s Birthday Layer Cake?

Contrary to the negative comments, this cake is just fun! Granted it isn’t a fancy dessert such as a Paris Brest but it’s an enjoyable Birthday Cake. I’ve made it a few times and always gets the happy reaction ! With the leftover cackle scraps I make cake truffles. It’s just a delightful extra! The cake is super -sweet and goes well with a nice cuppa tea or coffee for the adult and a big glass of milk for children. The addition of the pinch of citric acid to the frosting gives a nice hint of tartness. The cake itself is moist. The crumb is good to munch on. I’ve made many desserts from Tosi’s Milk Bar Cookbook and even my Parisien husband who is EXTREMELY particular about his desserts will indulge in a small slice! Cakes, as people, shouldn’t take themselves too seriously.

This cake is insane. I've made many-a-cake in my day, and while this is not the most elaborate cake I've ever made it is in the top three for sure. I made it for my nephew's birthday last year and WOW is it sweet. Incredibly sweet. I love sweets and candy and anything with sugar but I gotta say, this is hurt your teeth sweet. A few bites is all that most people will want, but kids love it. It's a really fun cake to make and super pretty. Worth giving it a try if you're considering it. I'm going to use the crumb recipe in some birthday cake cookies soon. They're also good in vanilla ice cream!

Do not make at altitude. I don’t even know why I’m giving this two stars instead of one. I made the cake, crumbles, and frosting earlier today. When I took the cake out of the oven? Devastation. The whole middle, like everything except the two outermost inches, was totally sunken down to a half inch. I thought maybe my baking powder had gone old, so I opened a brand new one. Remade the cake, again following to the letter. Exact same results. I didn’t open the oven until 30 minutes was up, didn’t bang the pan around, just barely incorporated the dry ingredients, whipped for the requisite amount of time. this cake just does not work if you live at altitude, period. I can’t believe I made this garbage twice, and now I have 2 disgusting, sunken, oily-looking cakes, as well as a full batch of icing and crumbles I don’t even want to look at anymore. I invested literally 6 hours of my day to make and remake this cake. Ugh.

All the moving parts make the process a little overwhelming, but in the end the cake came together very nicely. It still looks cute if it's a bit dodgy and it tastes amazing regardless. In fact, this cake was so good that my ex asked his (unsuspecting) new gf to make it for his birthday! But you know what they say - Bake a man a cake, and he'll forever ask his subsequent girlfriends to make the same intricate cake.

Does anyone have any recommendations as to the measurements so you can make it into a one layer cake instead?

I followed the recipe to a T, and it did not rise at all.

I have made this recipe 3 times in the last 2 weeks. I wanted to work on the look of the cake and decide on which type of vanilla is best - also - quarantine. When the cake is completely done, (and frozen & unfrozen), the imitation vanilla taste is best. Even with the video, it took me a minute to really ‘get’ the fact that this is not supposed to be an elevated dessert taste - it’s a party cake. The instructions for this cake may seem complicated at first, but it is really very simple and straightforward. The end result is a cute little cake with lots and lots of sprinkles. It is incredibly sweet, so a little 6” cake can serve 8-10 people. I also ordered myself a set of 6” silicone cake pans for the 3rd attempt which made assembly a snap. The edges are a little chewier this way but it was much less hassle.

I just have to laugh about the person below me complaining about "thin privilege". B*tch. What? Health, fitness, these are things that you work for. Unless you have some serious health issue preventing you from being thin, there aren't many, weight is not arbitrary. You weren't created fat. Eat less, or stop complaining about it. We know Portland is the capital of being annoying but, please, get over yourself.

What is this "fat girl moment" comment about in this video? Do you think that's cute, relevant, or a good idea at all coming from two ladies with thin privilege?

As long as you are aware that this cake is WAY too sweet, it's exactly what youɽ expect. I made this for a birthday and it was a big hit. Most people loved it, but could only handle a petit slice because of the richness. If I make this cake for my fat self, I prefer to make the cake recipe without the frosting and snack on it or mix it with ice cream. The cake can hold its own without the frosting - it's moist and delicious!

Made this for my bf's birthday and he loved it! The only change I would make is to use all butter instead of half shortening half butter in the frosting

Based on the comments, this cake is divisive. I thought it was one of the best cakes I’ve ever made. My husband called it a work of art and capital B birthday cake. “If I could have a bite of birthday cake, it would be this cake. If I’m eating a whole piece, I want a different cake.” I beg to differ. Truly amazing.

The spirit of the cake is really fun, but most of the extra ingredients are more to make the cake stable after freezing. I get it, but I find that reverse-engineering the cake into a standard layer cake was more fun than following the directions.

Following the steps in this recipe will generate a cake that looks exactly like the one in the picture. Pretty and fun. However, it tastes worse than a 1980s boxed artificially flavored funfetti cake with canned cream cheese frosting, glistening with all the trans fats of yore. I'm sorry if this is what evokes nostalgic childhood memories of birthday cake for a certain generation. I hope someday you can get over it. Each component did not taste great on its own, and they really should have. The cake was very sweet but a bit dry and bitter from the artificial colors in the sprinkles and the artificial vanilla extract. The milk soak with additional artificial vanilla extract did not help the flavor situation. The crumble was initially tasty, especially the browner bits, but the bitterness of the artificial colors and extract took over again after a couple of bites. The frosting was tangy, and not in a good way. It was, at best, odd. Like opening a container from the fridge, smelling and/or tasting it a couple of times and then asking, "is this still good?" All totaled, this too-sweet-oddly-tangy-bitter-headache-inducing-technicolor hot mess (but pretty and fun to look at) is a palate killer. If all of this sounds like how you recall the 1980s, then by all means, rock on! But for me, life is too short to eat crappy birthday cake.

THIS IS THE BEST CAKE EVERRRRR. I made this 4 years ago when I was 9 and it came out PERFECT! Christina is MEEEEEE and I NEED to meet her! I love this sooooo much. I definitely recommend.


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