David Chang’s Delish New Chicken Sandwich Chain Is called Fuku…as in: “Fuku”, Chick-Fil-A

Photo by Gabrielle Stabile 

Momofuku founder David Chang is set to reveal “Fuku” to the world, a hopeful fast food endeavor with high quality ingredients and affordable prices. 

Catering to “normavores” (people who want to eat normal food), the restaurant’s signature dish will be the spicy fried chicken sandwich, a far cry from the more exotic dishes Chang has helmed in the past. Though it’s not organic cold-pressed juice, the sandwiches still seem healthier than typical fast-food fair considering the chicken is not pink slime, but sustainably-raised from a small network of farms. With a focus on takeout and eventually delivery, Fuku seems poised to become a big contender on the national fast food scene.

While Chang hasn’t gone on the record as saying anything openly hostile towards Chick-Fil-A, “Fuku” is a clear competitor that’s sure to attract people hungry for higher quality food at cheap prices without the not-so-subtle homophobia attached.

Of course, no one seems to be talking about the fact that slicing the name Momofuku to “Fuku” could clearly be mispronounced as “fuck you”, especially to folks in Middle America. Do you think that will stand in its way from becoming a robust fast-food brand?

David Chang Makes Shrimp and Grits for Astronauts

Being in space is hard for a number of reasons—the loneliness, the lack of gravity, the time away from loved ones, the food. Granted, astronaut food has come a long way since the perception of dehydrated meals and Tang, but it’s hardly gourmet. That’s why the team at TestedMythbusters hosts Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman and Will Smith (no, not that one) enlisted a famous spaceman and a famous chef to try out some space-friendly meals.

Commander Chris Hadfield, who recently returned to earth (but not before filming the first music video in space, a cover of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity (Major Tom)”), was still in space when Tested filmed this episode, in which he works with chef David Chang, he of the Momofuku empire, to create some gourmet space meals. Chang makes some comforting shrimp and grits, and some asparagus, which yes, you can eat upside-down while in space.

There are some considerations to take before Chang’s meal is space-ready—storage on a mission to Mars, the lack of gravity and movement and ability to eat in certain compromising positions, but the break from a typical space meal was probably quite enjoyable. If you’re interested in astronomy or gastronomy, take a look at the episode below.

[via Laughing Squid]

Read Some of the Mouthwatering Food Writing Up For James Beard Awards

It’s that time of year again, time for people who are really into food to talk about some really big awards. Nominees for the 2013 James Beard Awards were announced this week, with appearances from the usual suspects: David Chang of the Momofuku empire, Suzanne Goin of Lucques and Paul Kahan of all your favorite Chicago restaurants (but this year mostly Blackbird) are all up for Outstanding Chef, April Bloomfield and Stephanie Izard are up for regional awards and the Bouchon Bakery cookbook and Andrew Zimmern are both up for a bunch of things.

But just as much as the Beard Awards are about good food, they’re also about good writing about good food, and this year’s crop has some interesting reads. So when you’re done clicking literally every link on our site, why not cozy up on your lunch break to one of these selections? But wait until you have some food in you, of course. Otherwise, you’ll just get hungrier. 

Eat Some Pork Buns, Help Your Neighbors With Momofuku

As much of New York City still waits for the lights to come back on and the subway to be fully functional, more and more people are finding new ways to help their fellow city-dwellers and plenty of opportunities to join them going into the weekend. A group of running enthusiasts who were planning on running the NYC Marathon this weekend have decided to opt out of the race and go volunteer on Staten Island (where the starting line is, along with heavy devastation and fewer resources than some of the other boroughs), and more groups are encouraging runners to boycott the marathon and get their workout in by helping people instead.

If running is not your thing though, and say, drinking cocktails and eating delicious pork bao are your things, then there’s a way for you to help, too. Momofuku and Café Boulud are teaming up for a number of eat-in and dine-out events to raise money for the Red Cross, beginning right about… now. Momofuku’s downtown locations are still not quite up and running yet with the hurricane, but all proceeds from lunch and dinner at Ma Pêche in Midtown tonight will go to the Red Cross, and starting at 5 p.m., Booker and Dax’s Dave Arnold and Tristan Willey will be serving up some cocktails. And starting at noon, Milk Bar Williamsburg (with help from Noodle Bar) will feature a pop-up bar of Momofuku’s tasty, tasty buns at 2 for $10, also for the Red Cross. Maybe you can save them and eat them while watching the All-Star Celebrity Telethon happening tonight. 

And, tonight, if you’ve got $495 laying around and are quick to make a reservation, the efforts will culminate at Café Boulud at the Surrey Hotel with a special Boulud + Momofuku dinner, featuring beverages and cocktails from John Debarry and six courses, featuring dishes from Café Boulud’s Gavin Kaysen, Momofuku Ssäm Bar’s Matt Rudofker and Momofuku Ko’s Sean Gray. More information can be found on the Momofuku Tumblr

Chefs on Chefs on Chefs Cameo In Season Three of ‘Treme’

On HBO’s post-Katrina drama series Treme, creator David Simon highlights the struggles of many New Orleanians in the creative professions, among them novelists, DJs, musicians and chefs. And for the latter, especially, he’s done his homework, bringing on actual New Orleans chef Susan Spicer (Bayona, Mondo, Top Chef) to serve as a consultant on the show—the character of chef Janette Desautel (Kim Dickens) is loosely based on her—and Anthony Bourdain is one of the show’s writers.

During Season 3, in which Janette tries her hand on the culinary scene in New York, a number of extra-extra Special Guest Stars drop by for an all-star benefit dinner that feels more Bravo than HBO, including David Chang, Wylie Dufresne, Tom Colicchio, Eric Ripert, Jonathan Waxman and Alfred Portale. It’ll be interesting to see how Janette and her kitchen-mates react, as that sounds like a fairly terrifying situation for even the most seasoned chefs. The show’s casting director, interviewed in the behind-the-scenes footage, agrees.

“The gathering of great chefs isn’t the kind of casting I normally do,” casting director Alexa Fogel says in the HBO video. “And it fills your heart with complete terror when you see one of their names on the script.”

The show’s production team had some help crafting the complex and prep-heavy classic French dishes for the dinner, including salmon coulbiac and hare a la royale, a stewed hare dish that requires insanely precise butchering and what Dufresne calls “an acquired taste.” Soa Davies, a former member of the menu development team at Ripert’s Le Bernadin restaurant, served as the food stylist for the episode. In the video, she recounts her experiences trying to get various pâtés and terrines through airport security, a rather Herculean task for even the most seasoned of culinary experts. 

Treme returns to HBO this Sunday, September 23, but in the meantime, you can watch the production team cook up some classic French dishes and share them with celebri-chefs below.

Food is the New Rock is the New Rock

Most chefs have a face for radio and a vocabulary that would drive the FCC batshit. That’s why Food Is The New Rock, a podcast beamed outta Los Angeles, is so genius. 

Founded by Zach Brooks, of the tremendously useful Midtown Lunch, in May, the show features chefs being rockstar-like and rockstars being chef-like. Among the best of the most recent episodes, LA Times food critic Jonathan gold talking about hanging with Snoop Dogg, Dave Chang and Peter Meehan being awesome about the overly loud music at Momofuku and Superchunk guitarist Mac McCaughan on his wife’s restaurant, Lantern, in Chapel Hill. 

This, in addition to a couple of killer podcasts recorded in the backyard of Roberta’s in Brooklyn (like Michael Harlan Turkell’s The Food Scene, provides a killer soundtrack for food porn. 

Mmmmm-tss, mmmm-tss, mmmmmm……

Ladies and Gentlemen, Your 25th Annual James Beard Award Winners

Over two decades have passed since the James Beard Awards began handing out trophies to the best in the restaurant world, and it continues to be the Academy Awards of the food world. Last night, at the packed Avery Fisher Hall in New York City, the awards commenced with their 25th annual ceremony that honored the country’s top chefs, restaurants, food writers, journalists, servers, bartenders, and television personalities. Not surprising, New York took a big chunk of the glory, with awards going to Michael Anthony of Gramercy Tavern, who won Best Chef in New York, and Christina Tosi of Momofuku Milk Bar who won Rising Star Chef of the Year, beating out Dave Beran of Grant Achatz’s Next, which won the Best New Restaurant award. New York also boasts a win for the outstanding chef award, which went to Daniel Humm of Eleven Madison Park. He trumped the other top-notch contestants including David Chang, Paul Kahan, Nancy Silverton, and Gary Danko. Paul Grieco took the prize with Terroir for Outstanding Wine, Beer, or Spirits Professional. PDT won for Outstanding Bar Program, and La Grenouille achieved victory for outstanding service.

Though only a handful of people walked away with a medal, Lincoln Center filled up with the country’s hottest foodie folk. April Bloomfield of the Breslin and Spotted Pig made an appearance decked out in a snappy suit and—shocker—with makeup on. Food Republic spotted Jamie Bissonnette of Coppa in Boston sneaking a flask of Fernet, and, rumor has it a PR gal got fired after failing to recognize renowned French chef Jacques Pépin and not letting him enter the pressroom. Naturally, the nominees were there, as well as haute chefs like Ed Lee, Rick Bayless, Wolfgang Puck, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Stephanie Izard, Cathy Whims, and dozens more. Keep making us tasty treats guys, and, may you all win next year.

The List of Winners:

Outstanding Chef: Daniel Humm, Eleven Madison Park (NYC)

Outstanding Restaurant: Boulevard (San Francisco)

Rising Star Chef: Christina Tosi, Momofuku Milk Bar (NYC)

Best New Restaurant: Next (Chicago)

Best Chef: Great Lakes (IL, IN, MI, OH):  Bruce Sherman, North Pond (Chicago)

Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic (D.C., DE, MD, NJ, PA, VA): Maricel Presilla, Cucharamama (Hoboken, NJ)

Best Chef: Midwest (IA, KS, MN, MO, NE, ND, SD, WI): Tory Miller, L’Etoile (Madison, WI)

Best Chef: New York City: Michael Anthony, Gramercy Tavern

Best Chef: Northeast (CT, MA, ME, NH, NY STATE, RI, VT): Tim Cushman, O Ya (Boston)

Best Chef: Northwest (AK, ID, MT, OR, WA, WY), Matt Dillon, Sitka & Spruce (Seattle)

Best Chef: Pacific (CA, HI), Matt Molina, Osteria Mozza (Los Angeles)
Best Chef: South (AL, AR, FL, LA, MS): Chris Hastings, Hot and Hot Fish Club (Birmingham, AL)

Best Chef: Southeast (GA, KY, NC, SC, TN, WV): Tie between Hugh Acheson, Five and Ten (Athens, GA) and Linton Hopkins, Restaurant Eugene (Atlanta)

Best Chef: Southwest (AZ, CO, NM, NV, OK, TX, UT), Paul Qui, Uchiko (Austin, TX)

Outstanding Wine, Beer or Spirits Professional, Paul Grieco, Terroir (NYC)

Outstanding Wine Program, No. 9 Park (Boston)

Outstanding Bar Program, PDT (NYC)

Outstanding Service, La Grenouille (NYC)

Outstanding Pastry Chef, Mindy Segal, Mindy’s Hot Chocolate (Chicago)

Outstanding Restaurateur, Tom Douglas, Tom Douglas Restaurants (Seattle)

For a complete list of winners, go here.

Photo of Momofuk’s Christina Tosi by Kent Miller

David Chang to Join Toronto’s Hotel Shangri-La

The Shangri-La Toronto is slowly starting to flex its muscles as a major downtown attraction—and it’s still only skeletons and scaffolding. The 5-star, 66 story hotel and residence tower, which straddles the Financial and Entertainment districts, it’s already causing a stir amongst locals. Anticipation has been building on Urban Toronto‘s forum, where construction progress and rumormongering have been laboriously detailed by users. The latest to come out of the construction site (and perpetuated on Twitter): David Chang has plans to open a restaurant in the hotel, joining the property for its 2012 scheduled opening.

Chang is an incredibly busy dude: ruler of the Momofuku empire (which includes Momofuku Noodle Bar, Momofuku Ssäm Bar, Má Pêche, Momofuku Milk Bar and the Michelin-starred Momofuku Ko), celebrated cookbook author, culinary bad boy (a title earned after telling Anthony Bourdain that Cali chefs “don’t manipulate food, they just put figs on a plate”), and most recently, an iPad app publisher. While Chang has not made an official confirmation, he did cryptically Tweet something rather leading:

@DavidChang: hello southern ontario . . . late late 2012ish?

To which the Urban Torontoans exclaimed:

David Chang? Seriously? That’s a massive score. I’d had my fingers crossed for a Nobu, but I’ll take a Momofuku anyday.

Hopefully they don’t build up too much buzz about it, so that I’ll actually be able to get the odd reservation here and there. Major pain in the ass to get in to some of his NYC locations.

I think the other hotels are dead to me now. This is the one I’m waiting for.

This Toronto-based project would be the chef’s first restaurant outside of New York City—a major coup for Shangri-La. His restaurant is rumored to be three full levels, in construction next to the hotel’s pools on the northeast end side of the hotel.

Afternoon Links: Willow Smith Is Orphaned, Kings of Leon Fire Back

● You have to ask yourself: Is Naomi Watts feeling lucky, punk? You betcha! The blonde beauty was just cast as Leonardo DiCaprio’s secretary in Clint Eastwood’s J. Edgar Hoover biopic, J. Edgar. [/Film] ● Jay-Z joins famous child-exploiter Will Smith in exploiting famous children, after it was announced he will produce a new Annie remake, starring Will’s daughter and famous child, Willow. [Vulture] ● David Chang is going digital. The celebrated chef will bring his Momofuku empire to the iPad, proving once again that print is dead. McSweeney’s will also print a Momofuku journal, proving once again that print is not dead. [Diner’s Journal]

● Apparently, the Kings of Leon take offense when someone says “Fuck You, Kings of Leon.” Weird. [Twitter] ● Lady Gaga reportedly wants her new perfume to smell like “blood and semen” aka our pillowcase. [Fashionista] ● Cher has tweeted her displeasure at Burlesque‘s alleged Oscar snub for best song. [Daily Mail]