David Chang On Genetically-Modified Food

David Chang is a Korean-American chef who is known for his unique combination of Asian food and French technique. After graduating Trinity College, Chang worked briefly in the financial services before embarking upon his career as a chef. Chang attended the French Culinary Institute and opened his first restaurant, Momofuku Noodle Bar, in Manhattan's East Village in 2003. Momofuku proved a resounding success; food critics as well as customers loved the restaurant's signature dishes, such as the Asian burrito and the kimchi and pork consomme.

In 2006, Chang opened his a second restaurant, Momofuku Ssam Bar. Chang was honored as both GQ and Bon Appetit's 2007 Chef of the Year. Chang is unapologetic about his food. "We do not serve vegetarian-friendly items," Chang has said. "Vegetarians are a pain in the ass as customers."

  • Transcript



Question: Welcome improvement or risk?


David Chang: I don’t know that much about it.  I was fortunate enough to visit Wes Jackson out at the Land Institute in Salina, Kansas.  And it would seem that genetically modified food is bad across the board.  But if you can do it where it benefits.

I don’t know much about it at all.

If there’s a way that can follow the philosophy of doing things the right way and improving the local environment, for instance, I think it’s fine. 

Again I don’t want to misinterpret what they’re doing out there, but it seems that like the prairie fields in the Midwest had never been analyzed, right?  When people settled it, it was completely, “We’re growing corn and that’s it.”  But no one realized that prairie plants are perennials.  They never die.  So if they could somehow cross that with corn or something; I don’t know. 

Forgive me Wes if this ever gets to you, but like it feels like they’re not genetically engineering things, but they’re trying to understand the genetics behind it so they can produce better food, and that’s going to be better for the environment overall. 

So that’s something that’s cool.  But genetically altered everything else, I don’t know.  I don’t know that much about it.