by Anneli Rufus
Trendy chef Anthony Bourdain dissed trendy chef Alice Waters -- and trendy chef David Chang defended her during a recent talk that Chang and Bourdain gave at the NYC Wine & Food Festival.
The talk was titled "I Call Bullshit!" and its premise was that both men would be brutally honest about current food fads and their purveyors. Notoriously stormy-tempered Chang is a fad himself, having soared to fame in record time for founding four wildly popular New York City restaurants: Milk Bar, Ko, Ssäm, and Momofuku. Ssäm specializes in Korean wraps. Momofuku is a noodle house. It's also the title of his new memoir/cookbook, which he will promote at Sur La Table in San Francisco's Ferry Building on Nov. 7 and in which he writes: "The restaurant was, for me, a fuck-you to so many things. Me -- a Korean-American -- making Japanese ramen was ridiculous on its face. Me -- a passable but not much better cook -- opening up a restaurant while my peers, guys I worked with who were so much more talented than me, were still toiling under other regimes. ... It's no accident that Momofuku sounds like motherfucker."
"I will call bullshit on San Francisco," said Chang during the NYCWFF talk, as reported in the New York Post. "There's only a handful of restaurants that are manipulating food ... fucking every restaurant in San Francisco is serving figs on a plate with nothing on it."
Bourdain offered his own caveats, such as: "I like any good food available in the street no matter how trendy it is -- as long as it's not a cupcake truck."
Aiming his fire at an East Bay icon, he said: "I'm constantly having [my own internal] argument with Alice [Waters]. I agree with the message, I just don't think she's the person to deliver that message ... [like] when I see her cooking Leslie Stahl one egg over a roaring fire."
"She means very well," Chang put in, according to the Post. "She's a sweetheart."