The Hub Cool News

Lucky Peach

Momofuku celebrity chef David Chang is doing a reverse commute by creating a print magazine to go along with an iPad app, reports Kimberly Chou in the Wall Street Journal (6/14/11). Perhaps even more surprising, David’s new-media excursion comes at the expense of doing his own television show, the usual route for celebrity chefs. That’s because the television-show offers were all premised on his being an "angry" chef. He wanted to do a television show "only if it could be … educational and if it could fund research and development for his restaurants."

Since that wasn’t happening, David turned to Zero Point Zero executive producer Chris Collins, who pointed him toward the iPad. Chris says the iPad enables the expression of ideas in a "non-linear" way that television doesn’t, necessarily. "Food is the entry point to a bigger story" he says. "It’s much richer than just the stand-and-stir." A quarterly print magazine via niche-publisher McSweeney’s was added because, as David explains: "We wanted to capture things in writing that wouldn’t be able to make it on an iPad five-minute video."

The app and magazine are called Lucky Peach, the English translation of Momofuku. Where the print version "features an as-told-to-essay by chef Harold McGee," the app version has him "sitting at a teacher’s desk that appears to be flying through space." Chris Ying of McSweeney’s comments: "Our general thought on print versus app or print versus television that there’s not really a sort of dichotomy that people assign to it … There are things that both in video and digitally, and in print, don’t necessarily cross over. One form does something better than another."