David Chang’s smile is instantly recognizable. The chef-owner of Momofuku and the star of the TV show Ugly Delicious has enthusiastically brought mouthwatering meals to thousands of people, and he revels in pairing good food and friendship.
But readers of his new memoir, Eat a Peach, have discovered a different side of Chang. Revealing that his around-the-clock work schedule disguised other issues in his life, Chang bares his soul and his struggles with breathtaking courage.
Happily, Chang finds time to read somewhere in his incredibly busy life. We asked him which books he enjoyed most this year, and this is how he answered.
Jackson Pollock: An American Saga by Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith
I find that I’ve gravitated towards artist biographies over the past few years. Steven and Gregory’s book on Van Gogh may be the best biography I’ve ever read, and I was excited to find their Pulitzer Prize–winning look at Jackson Pollock’s life. It was amazing to learn all of the lesser-known angles of the artist, and I look forward to reading through the rest of the duo’s catalogue.
Our Lady of Perpetual Hunger: A Memoir by Lisa Donovan
I’ve long admired Lisa, and she defines a philosophy I admire very much: good old American pragmatism—what is most useful is most truthful. Beyond being a badass chef, Lisa Donovan is an extremely gifted writer. In fact, you should almost put the fact that she’s a chef aside when you read this. I’m excited that she finally has a platform to let the world know how good of a writer she is.
City of Quartz: Excavating the Future in Los Angeles by Mike Davis
A buddy of mine gave me this book awhile back as I was curious to learn about the history and movements that have shaped contemporary Los Angeles. The stories Mike Davis shares are absolutely fascinating. Now that my family and I just moved here over the summer, I figured it would be a good idea to brush up on the history of the city this summer by revisiting this book.
Hawa is such an amazing chef and entrepreneur, and her own story is so moving. I was lucky to get an advance copy and I’ve been cooking through this book all summer long. This was my first time cooking recipes from all of the eight African countries she features (South Africa, Mozambique, Madagascar, Comoros, Tanzania, Kenya, Somalia, and Eritrea), and we are so lucky that Hawa is turning the spotlight on their food and traditions. It has been an incredible privilege to now get to share these with my family at our dinner table.
Author photo by Andrew Bezek
The chef-owner of Momofuku and star of “Ugly Delicious” shares the books that resonated with him this year.