my name's Kirk. I work in visual effects for tv commercials. I have a big mouth. Please enjoy.
longer shit talking: nurble.com
shorter shit talking: nurble twitter
Forbes appears to have posted a new profile of David Chang, which I would probably have linked to even if it hadn’t terrified me:
David Chang wants me to put on a hairnet. He hands one to me as he pushes open a dented, unmarked door in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, that hides the entrance to the baking operation of Momofuku Milk Bar–the dessert capital of his culinary kingdom. Inside, Chang’s addictive Crack Pie batter churns in industrial mixers and an endless stream of raw Compost Cookies slide by on conveyer belts. Even for the casual foodie, this is Willy Wonka territory–but I’m about to glimpse something even more elusive.
We walk by shelves of Ritz Crackers, Crisco and cornflakes to another scuffed door. “You’re only the fifth civilian to ever see this,” Chang says as he leads me to his windowless Momofuku culinary lab, where his team of food scientists and chefs are trying to invent new tastes for his growing restaurant empire. “I don’t know any other way to get my guys to embrace failure,” he says. ”I just want them to go for the big fuckup.”
There have been a lot of those in the five years Chang has run the lab. Hundreds of turkeys have been sacrificed in his noble attempt to create the perfect turducken. Experiments with modern gear to make ancient rice paper, rice noodles and rice balls were all disasters. Then there was the pressure cooker explosion that almost destroyed the place. “The top cracked in half–lima beans were going at 1,000 miles per hour . It looked like a grenade went off,” Chang says, as he shakes his head and laughs. “It was scary. I feel like something really bad could have happened.”
I’ve long suspected that Momo’s “secret” R&D lab was in my neighborhood, but I had no idea I was ever in any actual danger. Which makes this passage from a bit later on that much funnier/scarier:
I witness Dave Chang cook only once during my week with him. We are at Booker and Dax–Momofuku’s chemistry set turned cocktail bar (liquid nitrogen, centrifuges, rotary evaporators and a seltzer machine that could carbonate the East River). It’s cooking in its most primal form–adding heat to meat. In this case, Chang is blasting a salmon filet to demonstrate the Searzall, a Momofuku-made blowtorch invented by David Arnold, the mad food scientist who runs the Momofuku Chinatown equipment lab Chang declares too dangerous to visit.
The Booker & Dax R&D office is literally two doors down from a VFX shop I work for periodically, and I’ve often spied Dave Arnold through the storefront windows tinkering with all manner of weird shit (mostly drinks, to be honest) on my walk to and from work. Perhaps I’ll walk on the West side of Eldridge from now on.
What do you think of the Williamsburg food scene?
[Howls and snorts of derisive laughter.] Look, I’m not an asshole, it’s just, you know, it’s a weird town.
First of all, let me stipulate that if you live more than six blocks from the corner of Grand and Roebling in Brooklyn, this probably will not interest you, BUT if you do, then you may already know that a) Stephen Tanner is, in fact, an asshole, and b) when Walter Foods and Commodore start fighting, nobody wins.
What’s a food trend you hate?
I don’t know if it’s a trend. I’ll say this: I can definitely think of something that I hate. It’s that TV show that’s on Vice called “Munchies.” That’s an abomination.
Why do you hate it?
Well, the only one that rang human was the one with Frankie or whatever from Best Pizza. That guy’s awesome. That episode is brilliant. He takes them to Sunday dinner at his parents’ house in Bensonhurst; he takes them to the pizza places he went to as a kid. He’s earnest. There’s not an aspect of that episode where he’s, like, “Okay, I’m going to go drink shots with a bunch of dickheads now.” He’s not a dickhead. The rest of the episodes are a bunch of fucking assholes that are celebrating themselves. They have one thing in common. They all say they were looking for something the community wasn’t providing. And it’s, like, “What’s that? A club of dicks?” They’re not providing anything. They’re isolating the community. I don’t give a fuck. I’ll name names. Like Walter Foods, and people who say “proper”: “I was looking to go somewhere and have a proper Man-hat-ton, and a properly cooked steak … ” What the fuck are you talking about? Dumbest shit on earth. You’re not doing anything for the community but alienating the people who have lived there for a katrillion years.
I learned a lot from this interview, and I think I really grew as a person as I read it. For example, I can now confidently define the word “hipster.”
[hip-ster] Spell Syllables
When I own a restaurant*
When I own a restaurant it will be almost exactly like Walter Foods in Williamsburg, but it will be as if the service staff have just given up.
Bottle of wine? We’re just going to yank the sleeve off the top and pound the cork in with a ballpoint pen (or, as was suggested last night, open it with an actual house key).
Bottle of beer? You bet we’re going to open that shit with a lighter. YES AT THE TABLE.
Every once in a while we will saber open a bottle of champagne, for no reason, but whoever does it will also have to be smoking a cigarette. Will we do this outside, for safety? Probably not, depends on if there are ceiling fans or not.
Oh, they’ll still wear bow ties, but they won’t be tied or anything. And if everybody could be wearing sunglasses, that’d be great.
*I will never own a restaurant. Only crazy people open restaurants, and only the truly insane ones succeed with them.
Whenever I try to explain something technical to a producer