Food writer and sommelier Hannah Selinger pens a reflective essay for EATER after reading David Chang’s recent memoir, sharing her own experiences with the explosive chef during her time working at Momofuku. The piece offers the flip side to a common story: the staff who live in the tempestuous shadow of a fiery chef known and forgiven for their violent outbursts.
A famous chef can make or break a career, and Selinger brings up her own moments of trauma. Losing the respect of her employees after a tirade from Chang makes the imbalance of power clear, something many kitchen staff are aware of, and a comment we heard previously from chef and wine expert Prashanti Lee.
A pensive and humanizing read, the essay was covered by The New York Times as a springboard to discuss how restaurant staff are treated in the industry-altering pandemic.