Eat a Peach Preopening Diaries With Gabe Ulla
Jiang show part of the ringer. PODCAST network presented by. Major. Domo media. Thank you to Yolo Tango as always for letting us, use their music in the introduction. I didn't think we would have another pre-opening diary so soon, but we have one of the last one was a couple of weeks ago with the author slash, Chef Lisa Donovan in you should check out her memoir, the Our Lady of perpetual hunger fantastic book. She's an amazing writer. Great Person Listened to that podcast and this podcast slash pre-opening diaries is self serving because it's about my book a memoir called eat a peach. And we are talking with Chris King who helped edit and support myself and my co author on this Gabe Ula go through this process, and here we are talking to members of, Momofuku who are asking US questions at the end and we just wanted to get a lot of our team on zoom call and just talk about the process of the book and so much of the book is tied to Momofuku. So we thought it'd be a good idea to sort of get you know some of our current members on this call was well. I don't need to talk anymore I feel we are talking about my own book on my own podcast at my own company but. Hopefully. It's illuminating for you. MIGHT BE UPSET IF I wasn't promoting it. So please pre order this book it comes out September eight, eat a peach by Clarkson potter an imprint of random. House. You can preorder at your independent, bookstores Amazon. Barnes and noble you name it, it's going to be available on your e slash kindle slash ibooks on. Audible and all kinds of audio books, and of course, the hardcover eat a peach. Check it out I appreciate the support. And here is our conversation pre-opening diaries with crushing Gabe. Lula. And several members of the moment fuqua team. I am joined with Chris King, my quarantine partner, and gave Hula. Co author of eat a peach a memoir by this. Guy Named David Chang who is such a narcissist he has a show called the Dave Chang show as well so. Welcome everybody. We are also joined by Momofuku team on this call because we wanted to sort of share a lot of what we've done on this book and. You know have a conversation. So this would be filed under a pre-opening diaries. And we'll see how it goes. So having never done this before and having never written a memoir before and a lot of these issues that we talk about in this book, I, think are going to be informative and educational for our team. Momofuku and anyone that's a listener out there will that Chris Yanks start this off. Yes. So this is a weird one chain because you've been working on this book for. How long I mean, what were you? I asked to write a memoir. We were asked to write a memoir. Around thirty five. So. Almost eight years ago we signed the contract I think probably when I was thirty six and it would make sense in the book I think one of the main reasons I needed to do it, but I never did it was I needed the money seriously at the time. So, we signed that and then I really wrestled with the idea of like my God what a giant mistake I have nothing to say and what kind of Asshole at the thirty six thirty seven writes memoir except for like the worst people in the world. So I was like maybe if I just hold off and then over that period of time I convinced myself. It doesn't have to be more. This could be like a framer on how to run a business small business, and that's how I told myself as I can convince myself of anything which would be and then I just decided to put on the backburner until my agents said, what are you doing? You're like you know how? You have to actually fulfil your contract, pay it back right sounds like shit I gotta do this and you're like, what do you mean what I'm doing I'm trying to starve him out. I'm just laying siege to this book never write it. I'm just camped out outside. So at what point did you team up with? We should we should welcome. Gabe here everybody Hey when did you to link up and when did it become apparent to you chain? You're going to need Gabes help on this thing. Well. Obviously I've known Gabe sense I don't know over ten years or so because. The think the first time I worked with Gabe was when you do something for Gizmodo or something like that. No, but I was I was in I was an internet or meter. Oh, that was it. That was like I was still in college when I met you was a sophomore I remember my first beer. So we worked, we worked on like video thing and like Gabe was just somebody that like many people that Mahmood Yakubu sort of community would just come in to eat a lot and obviously got to know a lot of people out our restaurants and became friends with friends that I've had over the years. He's been published a tremendous amount and I just thought it would be. A good opportunity to SORTA give Gabe. The chance to like grow into this thing and I offered him the opportunity to work with me and I was like dude I don't know how to do this. You don't know how to do this and those that are on this call will know I have a tendency or propensity to really align myself with people that have. Not established themselves but I am a huge believer in the talent of people and the prospects of where they can go and that's what I believe gave I was like this guy's super talented and I think that we can become closer as friends as partners if we're in this together particularly because Gabe never done anything like this is why was so appealing to me Absolutely terrifying. No joke though what do jump at this right away I mean I wasn't privy to these conversations at all. So I'm super curious where you. Re like one hundred percent or re trepidation were your concerns about this I mean simultaneously like one hundred percent but. I'm so scared it's paralyzing. and. It didn't help the Dave was like, yeah. Let's do a essays about leadership then meanwhile, the publisher was like, no, no no, we want a book about it. Well, that's important. It's important to note gave because that shows you the disconnect in my mind when I approach Gabe it was about. A look into time and the do's and don'ts. That you deep down. Pitch the case she really did you deep down think that that was going to fly or was that your way of getting into memo-writing? No no no I. Don't you know this Chris, but it's not hyperbole. I have and those that are on this call. No this I have this crazy pathological ability to make myself believe something. That is absolutely maybe true to only me. To No one else, and for sure I believe that this was going to be a handbook almost like a textbook of how to operate a business I really believe that until water splashed on my face buyer agent well, you know what it's interesting and maybe I don't want to jump too far ahead here. But but that thing you know we're kinda joking about it. A little bit here that you can convince yourself that you were supposed to write a business advice manual and not a memoir. But that dynamic that like your convincing yourself anything and learning to see things for what they truly are is really what this book is about a large part about this book is, is a view learning to see other perspectives in and so You know it's a joke, but it also really speaks to something you're concerned about for yourself. Growing. Well. The funny thing is is exactly what I said if that could be extrapolated. which is, I. Think has been a strengthening me and a terrible Achilles heel. Is My ability to believe one thing that again is probably not true but truthful to me. So. How do I describe this? Like. It can propel me to do things. I. Shouldn't do. But it also prevents me from seeing anything else and give me tunnel vision. and. Data can be incredibly unhealthy in the long term and part of that is my ability to learn from past mistakes and to see that Oh however I view the world was actually. Incredibly myopic and shortsighted. Other. Times. Just a gradual learn like you'll learn something. I know this going to seem like a non sequitur but I remember growing up in school loving dinosaurs and the teacher saying, oh, they're dumb. They're cold blooded and their brains were small and there was just stupid. I mean literally Donald Heard. Source And then now I I. I loved dinosaurs I. Loved Stegosaurus. Source and then you later learn like, no, no no they weren't wildly intelligent and they were this and they were that. there. Are Certain things that you believe in the world that change because the world at large has new data points and it is a gradual evolution of acceptance. That is like one bucket but so many times for me. It was emotionally like tunnel vision and a lot of that I've learned was. Defense mechanisms. Because of trump as I've grown up as a kid, a lot of that obviously was with me and my psychiatric SORTA therapy. But so much of me who I am was like I just wish I could be normal because I knew early on how I see the world is. Different and I just WanNa be normal. But also how I view the world is like. Sometimes make believe in my life right and. It's hard for me to describe and I still deal with this just talked to my wife she's just can be very problematic for me. Yeah I mean. I think the biggest example of that in what you're talking about in very concrete terms is as a young person. Kitchen life was life or death everything was. The end all be all and that's what propelled you to success. But ultimately, also you reach a certain point where you started to see things differently right? Like that's one of the main main things in this book. So I mean Gabe I wanted to ask you for working with somebody like Dave, who's WHO's trying so hard to see multiple perspectives and. Who is growing even through the writing process like how hard was that for you to like keep an eye on this kind of consistency of perspective through the book? Well, one thing I'll add I think another reason you were resistant was that you it was a time in your life that was very different from now you are picking up the pieces. Things weren't going as great. The only thing going for you and think that was you had married grace but you know you hadn't open major Domo Nishi. Had Gotten panned and you're sort of trying to figure things out and serve stage your next stand. Wouldn't you start and where tell me about more of that context of where Dave was what year did you start and how did you get into those like before we started I had an reconciled with Chris yet right. That was like a little over two and a half years ago. So we started over two and a half years ago for sure there's a podcast. No TV show it's probably three and a half years ago we began this process. I will add though now that I can reflect upon that period now because it was three and a half plus years ago, and you were saying about what was happening in my life, I think what was preventing me from absolutely understanding what needed to happen was the best way I can ascribe it is like I was paying by my how I live my life and how I interact with people and it was so painful because it like looking at bat outfit or bad haircut or just something you cringe that. And it was coming to terms with an reckoning with like, Oh, you actually have to own that. Have you behave in a certain way that can't rationalize it happen and you acted like a Nimbus old and you were angry and you were a jerk and your mother fucker in so many different ways and you can still be these things. And I'm still in that process of trying to understand like that happen. Why did it happen? And to really face. And to non-eu early life as well. Yeah and that you know that gave like I just don't like talking about it at all because it her and so much of this was looking. With twenty twenty vision at so many parts of my life that I intentionally. For whatever reasons mainly because they're painful. Did Not. Want to look at or think about or to Marinate, and because it took me out of my tunnel vision. But, I will say once it came time to of. Laid on the table you did it was like four hours five hour sessions sitting on the couch. Four or five hour sessions of what what would you dave what was the process of this? They were not structured. It was just me going David's apartment. He would always have a to seltzer on the table. Sit in the living room. And he just talked about everything. I mean, did you come with certain subjects you wanted to ask him about? was there a process for you of getting him to lay out like you said did he was he resistant I? Yeah here at first a little bit resistant, but just kept at it and over time it was just serve like. He lecco when it's like look. It. I mean, I remember being joined in with you guys sort of later in the process you had quite a bit of work done and I sat there for a few of these sessions or you know the three of us sat in Dave's apartment and I remember Chang you. Spilling everything the talking about every single aspect without filter. and. I think the challenge at some points was Gabe when I were like would look at each other be like he can't really mean we should put that in the book. Right? This is just a private. And he's he doesn't and ultimately I think this book is incredibly candid. To the point where sometimes I think about and I I look and I worry for you Chang, just about how open you are. But you know there were certainly moments where we had to pull back a little bit whereas like we can't really talk about it that way and and can you talk a little bit about any sort of parameters or lines where that you felt like was too much. I think there's two specific areas one the when it comes with my family and my father. I mean I'm getting emotional. Just thinking about it. 'cause like you know there's been good families are fucked up and I have. A loving yet strained relationship with my family and I think that was hard and you don't WanNa ever hurt anybody secondly was with people that came through Momofuku I just was I. I WANNA talk about everybody. But only if it's in a positive light and I don't want anyone to feel bad or feel like to have any resentment and that was the hardest part was finding ways and like I didn't WANNA put words in anyone's mouth and that was so important to me. I was like fuck like this is just my recollection and. I really wanted and we sort of talked about this and other podcasts in my mind would turn into like every conversation and every conversation where multiple you points and I don't know why. But again, that's what I thought. Sort of it was going to be it was going to be a three sixty process of almost every event in my life and I think the two of you guys were like this is not like again stream of consciousness Ma'am on this is. Has To be pared down and whittle down in my fear and that whittling down was that it was going to hurt people. And that's not what I wanted to do. And I think that the hardest part was on top of the probably a third part was my anger and how that's been unleashed on people over the years and I'm still reckoning with that man and that's not been easy and I still have these issues and it's been a process of understanding that and growth. Will. The impossible challenge is to. Acknowledge that person you were and just because you're a better version of yourself now doesn't forgive that pass version, but you also have to forgive yourself. That's this. Trump learning how to do I really fucking hurts me because it's. This goes back to a lot of what this book is too. I really try to way this like it's a scale. If. I never open up Momofuku. Would my life better what I have done more positive things to this world and the people in this world than if I didn't write or if I had opened up, have I done more good than the not? And I'll be honest guys. teeters I fifty fifty. For me at least. And I don't I. Don't know how I feel about that. That's one perspective I'm sure if I was looking at others perspectives, it could be great or worse but you know I personally am in that battle of being like, okay. If it is say sixty forty bad to good dave. Then you have. Some years left on your life that you can change those scales and you can do good. But part of me also just like fuck you dave. Like you had your opportunity, shut the fuck up and go away. And the other thing that complicates that little bit is also that you seem to believe that if it weren't for Google, you know there's a chance you might not be here it was born of depression. That's that's the hardest part to in a lot of people who may or may not know this or they feel that was hyperbole sorry for the spoiler. The main I opened a Mufi who was. I was in the worst part of depression and it was like. And those that know have work with me know that I always tried to weigh things like I guess on a scale and. A binary thing, and I try to be reductive, and this is a lot of how I think actually derives from what I learned in college and particularly logic class and. And how scientists make decisions and I try to look at all the scenarios and so much of what I can do and everyone can get caught in this quagmire of trying to come up with scenarios that make sense an inner sensible. And are most likely to potentially happen, and that's all like put on a spectrum. That's all stuck in this traffic jam that's in the middle. But there are all sorts of defined by the universe in a spectrum and equation of the worse case in the best case, right what are the outliers at formulate everything else that might happen in that sort of set of equations and I know I sound like a crazy person, but it's literally how I think. And for me, it was always what's worse than the best case and a lot of how I think if you read those men were a lot of it comes from like how I was raised and religion and coming up religious household. It's like having our hell everything was either or proposition. And at that point in my life got to such a bad place where it was like I'm either going to end my life or not, and if I'm not there two options for me, if I'm not going to move to God I, was going to move to like a leper colony because I ran around that time I think like motorcycle diaries came out I was like Oh that means I can do something for this world where who cares about or I can do something that. I'm not supposed to do. which is open a restaurant nobody believed in me, and in terms of the money I really thought on a C. to is this is this is the things that didn't make the book I was even going to try to commit loan fraud. To school getting alone for school to go to graduate program. But. Using. THAT MONEY Without even thinking about the repercussions to start Momofuku because it's around the same price point of to your program of Graduate Program. That's literally what it was because I was twenty six a lot of my friends were going to business school or higher education some format and I was like, oh, like I was going through everything I was like. Because like here in the mindset then was. I don't care if I incur crazy debt. I'm going to be dead. Anyway I'm GonNa be dead either tomorrow or ten years or twenty five years who fucking cares as long as I don't hurt someone else. which is the irony and all this I've learned that I've heard a lot of people along the way like as long as they don't hurt someone else I don't fucking care. So let's just go out guns blazing like I literally felt that I was. You know a lot of this was cancer in my family. You know I found my mom trying to live life for the first time in a long time when she was diagnosed with terminal cancer, which was prolonged for years and years and I was like wait all of a sudden people start to live their life when they're not supposed to have any more days live and I'm just like well I'm just going to force that upon me now and I wanna do everything like that asteroid was gonna hit. We knew we had a year left on this world. What would you do? And you know this is the thought process that. So many of us think about occasionally when you go on like a corporate retreat or you watch them fucking movie or documentary, it's like, what would you do if you're one hundred days left to live like well, fuck it. I'm literally in that mode and it's not hyperbole going to. I don't even know what the next day is. So I'm gonNA live every day like it's my last day because up to that point if you knew me, I was a wallflower incredibly passive with moments of anger and I think that comes out but that anger was always passive that was always kept under wraps. And I was just going to be like my full uncontrolled it. And I was like fuck fucking. The whole thing was like Yolo militias do it. And I literally did it and it's not a surprise. It's like I'm not joking I was kinda heavily influenced by lot what I read in college and such. But that movie office space that came out in one, thousand, nine, hundred, ninety, eight, or nine, hundred, ninety, nine was like a huge fucking thing for me I was like. I'm just GONNA do like fuck it i. don't give a fucking shit about anything anymore. It's crazy and you live that way for years. Yeah. To the point where like the stories seem so reckless that was like there's no way he's exaggerating. So how'd you how'd you bounce that? Then I mean because this book at the end of the day was still a advice book in a lot of ways there's literally a section at the end. Inspired by Jerry Saltz called thirty three rules for becoming a chef and Dave I think you've. Come around and why isn't up a little bit about that sort of gopher broke you'll approach in its limitations, but you also attributed to your success. What do you say to a young chef? You say, like do the way I did go all out burn everything to the ground like what what do you say to them? With this podcast show and Simmons and we talked about it and I've done it with show before like one again, another non sequitur. But one reason why show became really close is. We never found that we both love this moment in the movie Gattaca. where it's you know how did you swim across? How did you make it so far in your life? This character wasn't supposed to and he's like I never saved anything for the swim back. and. That's how I live my life. You know it was a one way ticket everything was the one way ticket. and. The. Hardest part for me is and this is hard when people hear this like. On really special anything. I was a terrible student. Yes. I was good at some sports but not good enough to actually make it. So it's not once you compare yourself to the benchmarks things like. I'm not really not good at anything even cooking I wasn't that good at anything. and. I was told I was dumb slow all these things entire fucking life not only just my parents my coaches from my chefs you suck you're stupid. That was pretty much what was told to me. So if you're told that your entire life that you suck in, you're stupid and you're slow. Why would anyone think you're talented? Why would I think I'm talented. So the reason why I think I've been hard on myself and why I really try to invest myself and people that are around me as if a person like me can be as lucky and sometimes I joked I've been hit by I'm the kind of person that's been hit by lightning five six times you know that kind of a nominally statistically. And I look at all these people that I work with. Can Get here with a lot of luck. Than anyone else can. Because everyone else in my opinion is way more talented than me. The only thing that I have is this undeniable urge to fucking grinded out you may be faster like. The parable, the the story of the Tortoise and the Hare is me I'm the fucking tortoise man. You didn't shut up about the tortoises. because. It's true. It's like I thought about that. So much I, internalize it so much because I don't know if that's skillset. You know it's just like that's the worst kind of skill. Wait you just don't know how to fucking. Stop. I can't believe you made gave get the Tortoise Tattoo in the middle of. fucked up that is that. That's hard to reckon with and you live that life and. That kind of philosophy that I've exposed of just grind it out. Expect the worst hope for the best work work work. Can Be wildly effective. For the short term. But the thing that is still problematic even Momofuku today and it's all I think part of my DNA unfortunately is that when good things happen? You don't appreciate it. and. You don't know how to respond to that, and you don't know how to be in the moment to be thoughtful to be caring. It's like. Okay. That's a nice thing. Doesn't matter. I have to continue to grind it out. Let's go. Let's go. Let's go. And part of saving something for the swim back is like be careful of how much you burn. Right like. The glory of getting to the mountaintop and all the books and all the shit that's out there in the world today is about getting to the fucking mountain. The metaphorical mountaintop how to train what kind of fucking dangerous to look out for when you climb this fucking mountain. There no books about getting back down. and. So this became the central image of the book this mountaintop this Sisyphean task he's at a certain point you realized there's no top of the mountain. Right now it never stops never stops. And this is this is a really complicated thing 'cause I think. Part of life is continuing to grind and a lot of ways and not not giving up, and that's the central message of this book as well. But you're also advocating for this balance that trying to push the top of the mountain without others is pointless. We'll be right back after word. From our sponsors. Today's episode of the Dave Chang Show is brought to you by Ziprecruiter. 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That's Oh EXO dot com backslash one hyphen percent I love their products and now I even love them more because of what they're trying to do for the planet. Go, support them. That's just awesome what they've decided to do. Here's here's a question. Since we're recording this podcast with with a good number of mobile. Fukuda staff on the line with us. Few people get to have this kind of a look inside of their bosses head frankly. I have. Not me personally I worked for Dave eggers Dave Chang. So I, always seem to get a look inside if my fought sets in this way, but is that Does that strike you as a positive thing or are you nervous about sort of like everyone who works with you kind of seeing this side of knowing kind of like you know our leader wrestles with a lot of Shit. I'm not that worried about it because I think those that are close to me or as that work with know that this is just who I am. I've never really shied away from at certain point. I don't know when it was just like again like fuck it and I think that happened pretty early on I was like well, fuck found dead who gives a fucking Shit I. Don't who cares you know like that's what I have to remind myself like who cares do you think I'm that important that people are going to care about whatever the fuck I say or however I act And again, this goes back to what I hope to be in. This goes back to I used to work and sometimes still work. You overload yourself with so much work that you don't have time to come up with fucking alternate facts. To relation to anyone else like the best way to describe it as. ME. I'll buy multiple units at the same fucking item of clothing. Probably five or five twenty of the same fucking thing and keep that in rotation. So never have to think about it. I'll have enough variety. So people know that I'm not wearing the same. But I. If you look in my closet I maybe like sixty fucking Navy Blue T. shirts. And like years before it'd be all baseball t shirts whatever the fuck. But in the same vein, that's where transparency came with me I was just too busy to be like. I don't have time to sort of terror or nuanced about how I feel about something. This is the way it is right now because I'm too busy and it wasn't it wasn't altruistic. sheerly selfish to save fucking time That's how it all started because like I. It can be too much authenticity for people for sure We'll now everybody knows your Charlie Brown fashion methodology just all the same shirt but this one I'm wearing right now I have like fifteen. Just so our listeners. He's wearing a yellow shirt with a black swan stripe across it. Gave are you are you nervous about anything as far as when this memoir comes out in two weeks a week and a half? What makes you nervous? I'm usually very nervous about anything that does not involve I've involved in a very anxious person Honestly the fact that I got to work with you guys, it gives me a certain rare confidence because you're probes and also I can't be too scared because. It's Dave Chang story you know and I have to remind myself of that like you know he's going to have to answer for everything here. I WanNa talk about another thing that happens very near the end of this process and maybe gave you can you can walk us through how it happened but this book was originally slated to be published in May. In March? Obviously, the world changed dramatically no part of which more. So than the restaurant world. Fortunately, and in some ways for us, the book had not gone to the printer even though we had been told seven or eight times before that deadline was final. We had the chance to adjust the book given. Corona virus. But can you tell everybody the this sort of logic in story of of how we decided to approach that? I think that's a good one for Dave 'cause. I was open to changing up some things but I think table to it was like, no, we have to leave as even if things might seem completely irrelevant now although. I don't think they are but. It was important that we left like ninety nine point nine percent of the same and then I didn't want us to like Cherry pick the moment and I wanted to it's very similar to when we edited ugly delicious their moments where I would say again most people like for sure would've edited out moments they look like a total jackass. And I wanted to leave him in. And I felt the same way where I didn't want to have the time where it almost like okay. If the books out where we said that's the clock and we have to hold ourselves accountable to that. And I didn't want to change anything and that's just the way it was. The only thing we did was we added an addendum about the future of the business and where it may be and the irony of how. Transient. Our businesses and and the challenges that we face and I hope that Momofuku makes it and that's the craziest thing is who knows what's going to happen with any of our businesses, the restaurant industry large, and that could be a whole another chapter and I was like you know we just at some point you gotTa stop and you put it out there and that's what we decided to When the lockdown I went into place and coronavirus exploded You know I. I had some fears of my first thought was really like. Shit are we going to have to rewrite this book and I think probably been like the longest I've gone without reading the book in the last? Eighteen months it probably been two weeks. You could perform it live. Yeah. So we all went back and reread it and. Like I said a testament to the book is how how relevant still was because it's not it's not that book you set out to write originally it's not just like a primer for starting a restaurant. It's not just advice for people in the restaurant world. I it became something else about your your larger struggles I think which still resonated. And hopefully, the lessons when it comes to making it in this business will be as relevant as before. I. Hope So. and. It definitely change obviously my father passed and I think that was a giant. A monumental shift in seeing different perspectives. Of My tunnel vision. And As clear as day. Like in the grieving process. That's what fucking crush me and. I've been through Helen back the past few months as we all have. But on my own mental journey, it's been hard on new medication right like. I have avoided being on an lithium because for whatever reason that's been like the heart, the most hardcore like the LAS stage with before like electrotherapy. And it got so bleak for me that I had a try a whole bunch of shit and that's one of them and I think it's been working really well on a low dosage of it. Part of that was the trauma of what's happened in this business, which is incredibly difficult. And the heart visions that we've had to make, and I hope that we can look back on it and know that we we did the best we could and I believe in our leadership of Marguerite Elizabeth in the whole team. I really feel we have best in class leadership team and I wish everything was going to work for everybody and that's our goal and that's been the hardest part about all this but that's been hard. The hardest part than to was on top of it besides being isolated quarantine, fear trauma, all these things. was I spent my really just understanding this which tied in with the book I spent my entire life trying to run away from my dad and not to be my dad and talk about perspectives. This. Was fucking floored me. There are certain individuals in my life that I've worked with in my own family namely, one of my older brothers to feel really bad about and I'm trying to reconcile. I've treated people exactly like my dad treated me. And to see that it's like, how could you miss that? You motherfucker Dave and I beat the I mean mentally I just sell flagellated myself. I was so mad I was so embarrassed I didn't see these patterns before I'm like, how could you miss it? It's like when you watch a really bad murder mystery thriller thing and you're like, of course, that's going to happen and I'm so mad at myself like am I the only person that didn't know. Bruce, Willis is a fucking ghost. Only. fucking. Jackass that five times to see that he's fucking dead. How dense am I? What does that say about me? Why did I act upon this earlier and? It was really hard was really fucking hard because I know the feelings I have about my dad and I'm not trying to rationalize it either but I'm like man. I know why people would feel the same way about me and that's hard and my dad didn't try to really rectify his relationship with me till honestly the past twenty, four months of his life and I was very cold to that idea So that's been hard. That's probably been. The hardest thing is talk about Freudian Shit. I man, you Never WanNa be like your parents, but you realize so much of who you are is exactly even when we went to the conversation with Teddy Zee. When he talks about being Asian American in the piece of relationships you have with our parents. She spent his life not wanting to be a dad and somehow with his first marriage in the first kids from his first marriage he wanted to be exactly like that. It didn't matter that she wasn't like his dad. She wound up the end result having the same result of the parenting that his dad's and that just fucking crushed me. And it still crushes when I think about it so. I don't know how how articulate that and I think that given time. I'll be able to understand that a little bit more. Also, at the beginning, you were resistant to talk about it's remember you saying something along the lines of you know the facts and figures with my childhood and my upbringing don't explain me it's irrelevant and it would be misleading to elaborate on it in any way to give. The real estate. And that home. That ends of animating the book in a Lotta ways in a way that we did not plan but life turned out a certain way for you where you had to had to take a look at things. I mean. That's I think what I've learned to Gabe and Chris has learned to and those in Momofuku that I've been talking to on a constant basis. And in some ways, the summarizes so much of. The negatives of Momofuku to is an this constant theme of what we've been talking about. Is I only find validation through pain. And hurt. And the past six months with the passing data's caused me to realize that. I'm a product of abuse. And that's hard to say. And hard to admit. But I've conditioned myself that the only thing that I know is true ultimately. Is, hurt. And that's we talked about having dysregulation of emotion all these things and it's like. I don't want to be that way. The only thing that hasn't failed me. Is Feeling. Pain. And that's fucked up man and makes me feel sad just saying that and I don't want to be. They don't want that to be the case. I've seen it up close. And I've seen how it can become this patch waiting cycle for you when when you're hurt, you just continue to sort of press on your bruises and press on your wounds to keep feeling it. Dave I don't know if you. I've actually really talked about this weather on this show or in private but like. I know how long it took for you to begin that process with your dad sort of. Trying to understand him or understand what each other or reconcile a little bit and and as somebody who shares your kind of like lifelong resistance to talking things out with our family. Do you feel like? You had completed that process with your father when he passed did you feel no I'm still in that process and I'm still trying to connect the dots and the more I connect the dots the more I see how `bout I smell and One of my biggest gripes about my dad was. He was a fucking shit dash this be honest and. He justified his actions by trying to provide financially. Gene, I think honestly, maybe less than two times, she's ever said the word love right emotions all those father relationships that I feel like most people have even in the Asian American I definitely never had. and. Certainly, people had it worse but your own pain in your own traumas is the maximum that is relate to you and you can't really compare it to yourself and I don't think that's good and culture that we always try to compare like. Pain. and. I think about all that a sacrifice and all that he did and I try to rationalize and try to understand his upbringing coming from he's a war refugee for fucks sake like. The only thing that he knew should be true. The only thing that he could get his wagon to was money. And that's what he dedicated his life to provide for his kids. And when I think about some of the earlier moments of Momofuku, it's my whole goal was to provide health care for everybody. My whole goal was to provide benefits to do all these things. And then I think about all that was sacrificed to get to that goal. I'm like does it outweigh? You know how we got here. And I have a hard time answering that question. But I see a lot of similarities with my dad in ways that I never really wanted to see. was writing this memoir helpful to you in this journey. Yes and no I think it makes me hate and makes me hate myself. Way More than I thought I could have. And I mean that I hate myself in ways that I never thought that I could have hated myself found new ways to eight year old new ways to hit myself haw because. It really hurts it hurts to know that I could have been better in so many fucking ways and In other ways I hope this chapter in my life where it makes me learn how I can move forward and. Part of that is again, that book is divided into two chapters in some ways even though it's not completely detailed and accurate I'd say it's like seventy percent there. It's a little bit more linear chronology and how I can remember things because I spent so much time working on it. The first night with my doctor yeah. The second part is jumbled because I'm still and it doesn't mean the first part won't change. Because, even still like the past six months has caused me to reevaluate my father in ways that I never thought that I could have, and if we're at the book wrote the book today, who'd be very different. So I think about. How that's happened, what needs to change and I just I want to make sure that I can move forward and I think that's the positive is like It's causing me to reflect upon things that have happened both recently and. Very long time ago and to mind and constantly mine I hope that the work that goes into it. I learn how to forgive myself. I learned to be a better person I learned to be a better. Manager of people I learn that I'm I'm an addict. I'm an addict. You know it's for longtime I refused to admit that I'm an addict and a variety of ways. Whether it's gambling whether it's drinking whether it's drugs whether it's work whether it's adrenaline whatever like you name it I I have that I'm GONNA an attic to rage. And a lot of that could be nature versus nurture doesn't fucking matter I have the responsibility. I have ownership to decide whether I want to continue to be that person or not. And I hold myself accountable in ways that make it very hard because it means that I will always fail. And I have to accept that failure moving forward I have to learn to forgive that I will fail. And that's not something I'm ever going to maybe get but I'm closer to understanding that because of the book, right? If that makes any sense. What I just said hardly mix it look like a rosy outlook. But I'm in this process guys and it feels like I'm still in the fucking basement climbing out but that's all I. can say you know about the book being positive. Yeah. I understand that and I understand how I mean having seen it firsthand how are you for you to get through parts of it and I can understand why a b. m. about the whole thing I will say? That I am excited. For for this book to come out I'm excited for people to see it says, this is gonNA sound so hokey but. Not just working on it with you to reading this book was transformative for me. I got a lot out of this book. You know not just because I think it's it's fairly obvious lit you and I have a lot of personality traits and Common Chang but pure whole grinding out philosophy extends to the way you like ground out this understanding of the world and I have benefited greatly from it and I've also benefited greatly like our personal relationship has has benefited greatly from me understanding your perspective better and where you come from. So I'm eager for people in the world. To know you better in that way. I realized earlier I asked if what you're anxious about what you're nervous about this book and I should have asked the flip side, which is, are there things that you're excited about on your parts for people to see things that like? Even. Just on the story level. I mean if I have to talk about ranking and ranking it, but like the buckets where I hope the positive comes out is one. And there's no order of preference. One is being able to talk about what it means to be Asian American in this country and That's a role that I've for a long time and that sort of that I've had of not fitting in and realizing that Momofuku. Working or or not so much of it, and what we do has been expression of what it means to be Asian American and to fight against so many. Stupid cultural truths. Right and that's something I'm proud about and I think that we've changed the conversation about that and I think there's a lot of nuance and stories that people may not realize about what we've done and I can see that as an objective fact. So that's important I think the most important message about that is. I I'm not speaking on behalf of anyone I'm just be going to be me because you should never be able to say that being Asian in America is any one thing we're not a monoculture and you can be the fuck you WANNA be. And that's a very powerful message and I will stand by that to the fucking die as don't let anybody fucking. Tell you otherwise. And I'm living proof of that and you may not. Make. Friends. In certain places you may offend certain people you may rub people the wrong way but I dot individualized spirit is something I will always believe in in a Lotta ways that saved my life more than it made it worse to learning to be me right for all my flaws. Secondly, I think it's about talking about the stupidity of our business. And we professionalize the culinary industry. and. I always say to you guys sometimes it's like, what would the world look like if we professionalize coal mining? Or Diamond fucking digging gold? Mine. And in some ways, that's exactly what happened. And we're long overdue for changes in how we perceive the world. And how we work with people. and. I don't know if it's possible but we need to start having these conversations because whether it's equality whether it's Opportunities whether it's entire system of how it's based I. Argue it's like is good food worth. For the sacrifices that need to come into play and I really Russell. Without environmental fucking everything to me is on the table about what we need to do to reimagined world where we work in this industry that is equitable for not just you know the diners but for the employees, the farmers, the whole thing where it's not just talk and I have to hold myself accountable because sometimes I talk about it too much. Am I being hypocritic by just talking about I WANNA make sure it's actionable. So that's something I wrestle with and I think we can look back on about the good and the bad and the stupidity it's really the stupidity of the fucking business. And that's the thing. It is such a stupid business yet I can't imagine doing anything else because it's so fucking amazing when it works and it works it's not about working in the traditional sense of something working it works in the face when something works in the face of all obstacles when it works when you finally see that one day, one service where everything worked everything went according to plan yet ninety nine percent of all the other services were total shit. Would you remember about that one time when it worked, we're all addicts. We're all chasing after that high in this business. and. I think that's fucking stupid. I think it's so beyond stupid and I would rather find a different way. We average it all out where it's not so dumb. And again, just to remind yourselves how stupid is. We still haven't adopted the metric system. Okay you know why? Because of all the cultural fucking truce we've inherited. Thirdly, it's addressing the mental health issues. and. I think part wise I decided to take this book on a little bit more seriously was after Tony died. and. That, hit me like a ton of bricks hit a lot of people and I realized that I had never once asked Tony how he was doing may never once asked Tony. Why She might be feeling a certain way even though I knew that he might be feeling a certain way. I never once did because I wanted to perpetuate this myth of this guy being a fucking superstar Chiro this Paul Bunyan like person I didn't want him to ruin my understanding of who he was and. And I. Regret it. And I also know that there are a lot of people that are coming to me because by being honest about my own fucking craziness literal craziness. I have seen the positive benefits of directing people to get help. That's not something I forget like I I have learned over the years that true happiness for me is to be in service of others, and that's when good things happen in my life when I fucking ruin my life, it's in the service of me. And if I can just help out by being honest and not prescriptive about my own issues in my own struggles, and if that can cause the world a little bit less heartache because someone ended their life that's fine and I wanted to be honest about it I still have suicidal fucking ideation. It's it's I'm not trying to normalize it, but I'm also trying to normalize it. By talking about it and. You know when I think about it that way it's like okay these are the things that I'm okay with people talking about. As Positives Let's take another quick break to hear from our sponsors. Today show is brought to you by masterclass with masterclass you can learn from the world's best minds anytime anywhere and at your own pace. You can learn how to communicate from hostage negotiator from like the world class hostage negotiator that the FBI US Chris Voss. 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Go to masterclass dot com slash. Chang. That's masterclass. Dot Com Slash Chang for fifteen percent off mask masterclass. Go check it out masterclass dot, com slash Chang. Gabe. What are you excited about? The only thing I'd add and it may be hard for people listening to this to believe me. It's also pretty funny I think. Like you know we've sort of built a case against that for the past hour. Pretty Damn. Funny. I think the way that Dave tells these stories in the book but can be tragic and pretty sad are pretty hilarious. For People here the some of the. Story the Nishi story even though Nishi ultimately ended up culminating like one of the hardest periods of Dave's life just sort of the manic creativity of coming up with of Nishi as a restaurant in in all of the cares if you want to know again like a real crazy person. Inside the mind I mean I was out of my fucking mind then like I was so manic man. Man I think about my coli faulk. I was so out of my mind. I mean. It's crazy that I can just go about in the world being fucking deranged lunatic literally. Having such a crazy imbalance where I'm like, Oh my God. Put this guy in an institution that's what should have happened. Right. Okay. Well, I was I was GONNA start asking. We've only got a few questions here. Well, I David gave do you have any sort of closing thoughts about about this book as as it sort of repairs this pre-opening diary so we're on the we're on the verge of publication here. Are there other things that you're thinking about as we go into this? One thing that I'll be interested to see is what people focused on when they read it. When they serve they write about if the review it are the themes that they pick up because I think that they're number of ways you could write that at least. That's what I've picked up from sort of informal feedback. That what is this book about and I think Not, everyone will have the same answer. Well, we sort of know. At one point we had a footnote in this book that was just like if you're writing an article about this book for eater. Please just turn to page ninety, one, fifty and one, forty seven. There's where your quotes are. But Chang what do you think as as sort of this book after eight years plus of writing and getting ready? Any sort of parting thoughts as as it is about to go out in the world. The one thing I wish was more clear to people is everybody that came through. Particularly those first years. I, mean that. I don't know if I'm here. Or Moma foucus here without. Every single person that came through those doors and I'm really beyond grateful. And I wanted a name every single person I wanted to name every fucking story and some of those people are still with us. and. All, I WANNA do. Put. In the best positive light possible that came through those doors and whether you realize it or not. You are instrumental and if I didn't say before I haven't said it enough. Shame on me. Thank you. Thank you to everyone that's ever worked with us. I wish we were always better than we were and I'm beyond grateful and that's the one thing I'm focusing on I. Hope that people understand how grateful? I am for everybody that's participated in dealt with over the years. Well let's let's hear from a few people that you're talking about. So Riley from Momofuku Toronto has a couple of questions here first of all the pre-opening experiences you've been through. Dave are there any that you wish you could go back in time and do something completely different concept or idea? Which ones are and why? Everyone. Every one I mean. Line restaurant Oh. My God. Like are there any just change the concept entirely? Yeah. I mean listen when I love sports and sometimes you watch Aaron Rodgers or Lebron James or Lamar Jackson talking about plays that have or does Shawn Watson like I. Literally Thinking About Moments in time where they've talked about plays or games, and they can recognize a recall like legitimately like five minutes of what the fuck just happened. Ten fifteen years ago sometimes even in high school. I roommate about these a lot. I mean a lot every restaurant opening sometimes I think about it all the way to the inception of idea to like the friends family. And I'm constantly mining and it's like thinking about bad play I never think about the good place. And whether it's Toronto I think about being so stupid about not having coat racks. I. Think about how impossible it was about opening three restaurants in three weeks and like just not knowing how to do it and how hard it was. Australia I think about a lot because I. Not only is it just the way it was I think about dishes all the time. But by thinking about that, he can culminate and things that get better right and. Riley I'm happy to have that conversation offline because. I'm now flooded with just too much information about to share because I do think about it all the time, I. I literally am like Focke sometimes out of the blue like God. Dammit why did you choose that fucking plate where you dumb ass like there's probably no clear example of what you're talking about chain than. Sombor I mean I think about all of. which you have started with burritos probably not but burritos are what got you to that moment of we've got a do or die well, I. Think about that and I'm like should have just done marketing a little bit differently maybe if I change the design maybe if I didn't use aluminum foil, maybe if I had this or that maybe it was the decision to have fucking a cola fridge stocked with Dr Pepper and Diet doctor pepper like what kind of fucking dumb as well I was I thinking. I think about that all lot like canned coffee like what? But these I mean you know. I know you're you're beating yourself about some of those issues but like that's how. That's still the philosophy that's getting you guys forward. Yeah. No dumb is right. Improvement when you think about Domo or Cowie I do. Like There have been things I. Guess We. I don't know. You guys. This is too hard of a question because it's all consuming food. All right. Well as other question pertains to that, and we'll be equally difficult I'm just kidding, Riley You're not the only one who gets tunnel vision I think all people with passion for their craft experience this how have you learned to overcome path dependency AKA tunnel vision in the moment are you able to change that over time? Well, Riley. One of the things that I've been able to do is have the. Courage. But find the triggers in my life. where. I let people know ahead of time. It's almost like that movie memento that I have to leave trails of breadcrumbs or even Tattoo something on me to remind Myself Hey You're acting this way. So. That's the one thing and besides like doing behavioral therapy. Mental exercises to remind myself and to better ourself in the way I describe a lot of this is is vision again this is how I how I, internalize it is. I can choose to be prepared like if I'm going on a trip, I should pack my binoculars right? Like like don't be stupid if I if I I can choose to have bad vision or not anyone that chooses to have bad vision, they're fucking idiots why would you do that? In some ways I can extrapolate that to moments where I can plot out on hope that I'm better at where I want people to hold me accountable and say, Hey, hey jackass. And the person that does that the most right now is grace. A Lot. And it's not easy. But like. It happens a lot where I'm telling people. If they can. Pull me aside or just say like. Snapped me out of my my fucking distorted reality. And it doesn't mean that I listened right away. But I'm getting there. I always think it was weird that you brought binoculars on every trip that you went on but now I understand why? Noel has as a question and. Well last question first, are there any stories that didn't make the cut, but maybe should have in this book and? I'm. Thinking about there is like a game I want you to tell it but I think the funny thing is. When we were working on this book like book tour became like a Codeword for us where it was like save that one for the book tour, like there was going to be this there's this tour where Dave was going to be in these intimate settings where we'd be like, Hey, everybody turn off your phones like I'll tell you a crazy story that didn't make it, and now I'm trying to rack my brain for what all those those stories were I. don't remember any of them but I know there's a lot. Gave what did you have? I don't know if you're up for it, but I think illustrates. How? No one would have picked you as sort of like would would've thought you were destined for greatness and you're a couple of your early run-ins with a certain chef oh yeah. There's a whole series on my run, INS with with Thomas Keller of the years that we didn't put in the book and they're the best. Yeah. They're really good. Really good. I'll just leave it at that but. The first time I ever met I'll tell one Thomas Keller Story I. The first time ever met Thomas Keller NBA saying. She was fucking the God was dumb man in America. French laundry is opening up per se I'm working for Tom One reason why I worked for Tom Click Yo is he was a Sushi forum at Raquel. Close could get Thomas Keller and around that time Corey lease now be left New York to work for Thomas and all these things and when I was working for Thomas Craft like a year in we that he's coming back to per se he's got to open a restaurant at the Time Warner. Center. And I'm on entre TA station and it's like a Friday or Saturday night. And before service starts after you rolled Yoki like the chefs and the chef would always like Marco they'd leave maybe have a cigarette maybe like chill out because the one time they could like relax because you know service starts five thirty it's going to be slow and they come back in around like six o'clock and get into the groove. So inevitably because I was next to the phone, if the phone rang, my back is to it and I'm also having to expedite to the first thirty minutes service. So you're expediting trying to cook and like whenever the phone ring it's just like, God. Damn it you know like I can't. I can barely cook I can't cooking and service and the phone kept on ringing and ringing and ringing. Think Damon wise are actors like would you just answer the fucking phone Chang I'm like? Like It's literally like maybe five steps behind me on the metal wall behind pick it up and I'm like what the fuck do you want? That's how I ended Mike. And I answer like that. All here was. Can you count to ten and brief please I'm like what the Fuck I'm in the fucking service. I gotta I gotTa do all the ship going there my head this calm voice on the other end. Very calm. Counter attend because that's no way to talk to anybody. And I'm like Oh. No. No No. I have a feeling about I know who it is, and then I know who the fuck it is. When he's like? Count to ten I had to count ten one to. Like like carrots birding I got like Polenta fucking bubbling over and I like tickets are going over and I got fucking count to ten. After that's done, can I talk to Jonathan please own now? There's only. There's only one person. Nobody Calls Jonathan Benno Jonathan J. B. or Begnaud. Oh No. This is this is Thomas. Keller. 'cause. They WanNa talk about planning to open up for Sake Benoa. Just put in his notice. You're like three months over anyway. I'm like, Oh no god I'm talking to God I just told him fuck. You her. And I'm like, no. And I'm like one second. Sir Let me. And then before the phone on new or pause he goes, can I ask calling and I should have just live I don't know why I told them the truth. My Name. Is David. I certainly got an earful after service because he's like you curse Thomas Keller. On. Now, that was the first align long line of stories of Thomas Keller A. Another question here is. Knowing, all that you know. How would you really feel if grownup Hugo tells you, he wants to go into the hospitality industry. I thought about this lot and I'll tell you guys this. If. You go has to enter the profession in the environment that we have today I will not be excited. I hope by the time, she goes old enough to make decisions on his own. That he can enter a profession that has respectability and the benefits of working at a high flying tech company, then I would be like no problem between now and then there's a lot of work that to happen. So I don't feel not necessarily disappointed. But. If it's an industry that he can live and provide and to have work life balance and all these things that seemed like pipedreams, then I'll be like. Amazing That's the challenge right because like you WANNA protect your your own family members from entering the same sort of painful thing that you did. But by that same token so many people you also love are still in it are in it you know and that's why you gotta fix this for them as well. Right and that's The hardest part is. To elaborate on that is when I told my dad I wanted into the profession he knew how hard it was and I think it broke his heart. You know he's like he worked his life to make sure that I would never enter the. Culinary. Arts. and. I didn't understand it at the time, but it's so fucking hard. and. Again. If that's what he wants to do, then I will be supportive. And again, I I've learned that I have to be the person that I'm not supposed to be, and that's ultimately my goal and my initial reaction of course would be she go I don't think that's a really good idea. And and I have to learn to not be me, and that seems to be like George Costanza. Seinfeld thing is everything I'm supposed to do is not what I'm supposed to actually do. So I probably tell you like however I can support you in this moment if things didn't change. If you had to write. Another memoir. About the next fifteen years at Momofuku end of your career. What would you hope that story would read like? Well. First let's hope we make fifteen years and we have to make it through this pandemic. I. Hope it's not my story to tell. I've always said if if our restaurant turns out selling postcards or whatever doesn't fucking matter. Great as long as we can sort of, do what we need to do and be good. That's all that matters and if people want to pivot and they want to change if of could just becomes a consumer packaged goods business. Great. I think that story about the next fifteen years should be how I got out of the way. So momofuku could be so much better. Okay. Well, that's all of our questions Gabe, what do you? What do you got going on? What are you? What are you working on next and also are you afraid of all of the chefs who are now going to come and ask you to help them write their memoirs after they see this one? No idea what's going to happen I'm just trying to take one day at a time but Tune stuff writing for different people. I think I'M GONNA. Write a book might a couple of might take a while but a write about my family in Cuba and stuff like that but that's going to be an adventure. So we'll see but otherwise I helped some chefs with their writing and do stuff like that. And just be grateful to be alive. He's GonNa. TRY TO REENACT THE BAY of Pigs. People can't see the beard on I'M GONNA get. Your you're angling for a casting in the motorcycle diarrhea sir. Here you're. You're vibe. But I would you know it was a great privilege to be able to work with people of your caliber and I? You know it's it's a rare treat. Gabe. I'm thankful for putting up with me and putting all the work you did to make this book. What I hope that people enjoy a great deal. Should be thanking you and I will be thanking you for a very long time. That's it. Guys Hopefully that was fun engaging. You learn a little bit about the. The work the actual many years that wouldn't to make in this book I'm wildly uncomfortable talking about it yet it may be great if it was a supported by all of you. Thank you so much. And thank you to everyone momofuku that participated in this again, preorder eat a peach online and your bookstores audiobooks you name it it's all there. I will stop talking about now. All right give us five stars. However, you rate this podcast apple. Again, if you give us five stars on the eighteenth page, we will answer your question. We get to our next Dave at major media DOT COM. We'll do a mailbag ask Dave, major media, DOT COM coupon sending them in very much appreciate. All of your questions and however you support this podcast. However you listen to it gives us good writing would mean a lot. To our big boss Bill Simmons. Thank you guys. Stay safe. Please vote.