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David Chang’s Mind At Work: How He Finds Inspiration In Everything

It’s always fascinating to watch someone create a brand new dish — not simply by pulling it out of thin air, but watching them spool out a new idea, and then ruthlessly editing it to match their final vision.

For instance, when Food and Wine Magazine followed David Chang around Montreal in their latest issue, they ended up in a dim sum restaurant — a constant source of inspiration — and as soon as they sit down, Chang immediately starts breaking down rice cakes and pork buns, seeing whether he can incorporate them into his menu. Ranch dressing and pork buns turns out to be a dud, but then:

Chang’s eureka moment comes with the high-rising, browned-sugar, buttered sponge cake that the waiter sets down next to the spareribs in black bean sauce. “Watch this,” says Chang, dipping some warm cake in the oily, salty black bean sauce. Then he starts brainstorming. He’s been trying to create an innovative bread course in Toronto. Could he serve some version of the cake — it’s a little like corn bread — and the oily sauce?

When Daisho opens a few weeks later, the menu features an item called “bread & drippings,” featuring loaves from a local bakery and the drippings from chicken and beef bones used to make the ramen broth. Customers tear off pieces from the loaf and go for the drippings. “Dunk at your own risk,” says Chang.

[Food and Wine]

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