First Impression Friday is hosted by J.W. Martin.
First Impression Friday will be a meme where you talk about a book that you JUST STARTED! Maybe you’re only a chapter or two in, maybe a little farther.
Based on this sampling of your current read, give a few impressions and predict what you’ll think by the end.
In 2004, David Chang opened a noodle restaurant named Momofuku in Manhattan’s East Village, not expecting the business to survive its first year. In 2018, he was the owner and chef of his own restaurant empire, with 15 locations from New York to Australia, the star of his own hit Netflix show and podcast, was named one of the most influential people of the 21st century and had a following of over 1.2 million. In this inspiring, honest and heartfelt memoir, Chang shares the extraordinary story of his culinary coming-of-age.
Growing up in Virginia, the son of Korean immigrant parents, Chang struggled with feelings of abandonment, isolation and loneliness throughout his childhood. After failing to find a job after graduating, he convinced his father to loan him money to open a restaurant. Momofuku’s unpretentious air and great-tasting simple staples – ramen bowls and pork buns – earned it rave reviews, culinary awards and before long, Chang had a cult following.
Momofuku’s popularity continued to grow with Chang opening new locations across the U.S. and beyond. In 2009, his Ko restaurant received two Michelin stars and Chang went on to open Milk Bar, Momofuku’s bakery. By 2012, he had become a restaurant mogul with the opening of the Momofuku building in Toronto, encompassing three restaurants and a bar.
Chang’s love of food and cooking remained a constant in his life, despite the adversities he had to overcome. Over the course of his career, the chef struggled with suicidal thoughts, depression and anxiety. He shied away from praise and begged not to be given awards. In Eat a Peach, Chang opens up about his feelings of paranoia, self-confidence and pulls back the curtain on his struggles, failures and learned lessons. Deeply personal, honest and humble, Chang’s story is one of passion and tenacity, against the odds.
I love the idea of a food memoir, but the only one I have read is Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain, which I thought was incredible. I have been following David Chang’s career for awhile now, and I have even eaten at his Toronto restaurant, Momofuku Noodle Bar, so I figured it was about time that I read another food memoir.
I knew from the dedication, which was made out to all the underdogs, that I was going to love this book. That was further confirmed in prologue where Chang is extremely self deprecating in giving us some insight into the cover design, and then as soon as he recommended Pachinko by Min Jin Lee, I knew that Eat a Peach was going to be the book for me.
I have finished part one, and I have appreciated how open Chang has been about his mental health and how he has put on emphasis on the fact that this is his journey and his experience and that everyone is difficult so what works or doesn’t work for him might be the opposite for you. There are footnotes where he often reiterates that he is not an expert and that it is important to seek professional help.
I have started tabbing my books in 2021 and so much of this first half has been tabbed already. He gives the reader some incredible insights into how he thinks he got to where he is today and some of the mistakes he made. Looking forward to the second half!
Have you read Eat a Peach? Would love to know what you think!