Tuesday, July 29, 2008

David Chang on Charlie Rose

I take in information in a variety of ways, including watching Charlie Rose religiously. Last week Charlie had an exceptional interview with Chef David Chang that is worth watching, regardless of what business your are in, and regardless of your passion for food. Why? Because David Chang is a man living a vision. He is consciously working toward a big picture. He understands, accepts, and embraces the need to innovate all the time, to change in order to stay the same, which, as he says is his goal over and over again: to be the best. Midway through the interview when the conversation turns to his pricing strategy, Chang easily and comfortably states the guiding vision of his work: let's make delicious food of value. Chang had already repeated this vision many times over throughout the interview: we try to serve the best food we can; our goal is to make the best food in New York City; good food is not just for fine dining; we try to do something good and do it the right way. Without anxiety, Chang states that he is not sure where he and his restaurants will be in three years, but he knows the goal will be the same: to be the best. Chang exemplifies the importance of knowing the vision and the importance of not letting allegiance to specific strategies and tactics rule the vision. He strives to be dynamic, ever-changing in response to the environment, in order to remain relevant.

Chang is a refreshing mix of humility and ambition. He possesses a clear vision and an acceptance of the ambivalence of the specifics of the future. For a young man, he is full of sage and visionary advice:
Work hard. Stay humble. Try to do it right. Have integrity. Delight in what you do.


More about Chef David Chang
The I Chang by Rob Patronite and Robin Raisfeld
Chef on the Edge by Larissa MacFarquhar
The Year of the Pig by Alan Richman

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