David Chang on What Makes Restaurants Too Small to Fail | Larry Wilmore: Black on the Air

Automatic TRANSCRIPT

All right welcome back to black on the everybody. This layer one more. It's it's good to be back here. Been away for a while Well you know it's been crazy times and we've been trying to you know I've been trying to figure out how I WANNA do this. Show going forward and needed a little break. You know just to kind of gather and just kind of figure out the way four but first of all let me say. I hope everybody's doing well out there. Hope stain safe. I hope you're doing okay. There's so many issues to deal with people Losing their jobs not been able to make money out there. People losing their businesses people dealing mental health issues is a big thing right now as well as the virus itself on a personal note a friend of mine husband passed away from the from the virus and Man. It was very him very shocking. When something like that hits close to home and I'm speaking for a lot of people out there who've experienced this you know how it can seem in the abstract when you're watching it and you feel sorry for the people but when it hits home it is it is a little different you know so you know. My heart goes out to everybody dealing with this problem. Well with all of this. You know we're all dealing with it. I saw this story on the news. Nick Cordero's Who's The actor Bronwyn Star? His wife. Man. She's so fricking brave I think he's been on a ventilator and has to get his or had his leg amputated or get amputated. I'm not sure but I saw on the news. Nothing man. This woman is brave. I mean the way she her attitude is just amazing. She's handling all of that but This is we're going to be in a new normal coming up in part of dealing with this is part of the is something we're going to have to do for a while now but anyhow. I wanted to get back in the air to get back black in the air. I'm in my office again at home so it may sound a little echoey near. Bolger is for that David Chang is on our show. Today we had a really good talk a little while ago and Restauranter famous chef his Mama Fu restaurants noodle bars in Manhattan and around the world and ugly delicious. You've seen him a net flicks his milk bar to all of that stuff. So we're going to talk about the restaurant business a little bit. How he's faring. Food Service Industry and all that kind of stuff man. He really has some some interesting thoughts on that so I was really looking forward to have on the shows and those really cool conversation but Anyhow so we are in a different. We aren't interesting situation. Now we've been dealing with the virus for a while we've been in kind of a sheltering in place. For how long has it been? Maybe a month longer six weeks. It's hard to know man. I've lost all track of time. It's very bizarre. Those of my time is spent with buster with my Doug Me and my son you know. We're chasing him around most of the time. My son is staying with me and he's doing well he's he's able to take classes online and everything. My daughter's staying with her with her mom and she's about to graduate from college right now. And you know wasn't able to have her graduation all the kind of stuff but she's been dealing with the pretty good she's Just finished her her thesis. Some real proud of row proud of you. Learn so yeah. So that's what we've been doing here and I realized right now at this point. I believe that we are truly in when I will call a both sides situation. We are both in and it's funny that the both sides are kind of most. Let me say this. Most people hate both sides. The heat that type of argument. This is not about the size type of argument all lives. Don't matter we're talking about black lives matter and I get it. I get it most of the Times. That is a valid argument but we were truly any build side situation right now here the both sides we are in a situation where they primary concern is the public health right. And how do we mitigate right now has been primary concern? How do we make sure that our hospitals don't get overwhelmed? There were smart about you know. There's so many things that we don't know about this virus that were smart as we possibly can about the possible ways to transmit sheltering in place isolating and all that stuff. Different cities have been taking different approaches to it and that has been our main concern properly so but now we're getting into a phase where cities are starting to loosen the restrictions in. We're going to have to get into a new way of living and some people are just looking at it as a reopening thing but I really. Don't you know I look at it as going to have to adjust to a new normal and this is also a very important piece right now. How are we going to get things back open? So people can get hopefully back into their jobs that they've lost or maybe get into new jobs. Economy can start going again and not just the economy going again but people can have means to make a living you know and part of this is not just reopening like I said but understanding how we're going to operate within the next year year and a half under a new normal. Both of these things are true right now in. Both these things are very very important. I don't pit them against each other. They're both important arguments. But it just really gets me when I see this being pitted against each other like like when people won't say how. How can you say we have to reopen when people are going to die and the other pirates? We're GONNA die if we don't reopening going against each other. This is the most ridiculous argument. That's going on out there and part of it. I think is fueled by some of these. I think reckless Governors or people who are just recklessly reopening things without seeming to have real plans about it and I blame a lot of this on the president by the way because I think the president has been so shameless in not having a clear direction for the country. He's only been reactive childlike childish. Imbo st and all these things has not come out with real leadership and even if the plans change at least to have certain guidance and true leadership. It's been the least amount possible in terms of guidance. So you know. Some of these states have different needs as they should. But the energy around this reopening as if they're some liberal conspiracy to crash the economy to keep people out of work because liberals want everybody to be on the government Dole or whatever which is ridiculous because that system will be unsustainable if we get this the way it is it will be unsustainable to try to have the government. Take care of this. The people who are concerned about this of course are concerned about the number of people that are dying by this virus. Because there's so much we don't know about it just the way that attacks the body the way that it hides out so I blame a lot of that energy. Both on the recklessness of some of these governors but also in the recklessness of outlets like Fox News where they're the ones that start with that type of conspiracy theory that somehow the leftist media in the leftist energy out. There wants to give you false information in. Doesn't want you to know the true story like they don't want you to know about hydroxy chloroquine and all that kind of stuff which is so fucking ridiculous. I'm so fucking fed up with Fox News right now. I mean I have been for a long time. But the poison that they put in people's minds about these conspiracy theories and how people how left is unpatriotic in the working you know to to undermine American all the stuff is so ridiculous and you know I don't believe in conspiracy theories they're very few there are so my whole of you know I say okay. Something happened there and I grant you but for the most part. They're ridiculous and the way that they they poison so many people's minds about wanting to believe in these conspiracy theories about how the left wants to road America is just so poisonous and it's really I think and abetting in people dying right now. Let me put it this way with the stupid president of the United States is is a waxing about injecting disinfectants into your body as a possible solution. Something which is so ridiculous. I mean I can't think of anybody at any age. Who would think that was possible? I can't imagine a five-year-old considering that as a possibility I mean it is one of the most stupid things I've ever seen and I know a lot of people have covered this and everything. But here's the other thing is the fact that the people who were drinking all of that kool-aid might think that the president is right. And that somehow information is being kept from US. Our disinfect into our body. The way to go. I don't know we can't trust the leftist media if they're saying that the president is wrong about that and maybe he's right. This is what we're up against right now. I mean how insane is that it drives me fucking crazy. President trump basically in my mind. He has just been a global embarrassment. A global embarrassment. When you think about presidencies and you know I like looking at the histories of presidencies and all that kind of stuff you know. And how presidents Braxton certain times and usually craigslist usually tell you who the president really is you know a really reveals character and man. Here's what's interesting about trump. We didn't need. The guy says to reveal his character. We already knew it. This crisis confirm his character. The level to which this emperor is naked is astounding to me and it's not even the emperor's naked is not even true now div for trump because not only is trump naked trump turns it around in the emperor's naked. All that emperor did was. He was in a bubble letting them going into your inner but that ever he was in a bubble and no one wanted to tell him that he was actually naked. When they you know you don't saying he was wearing all these things and the kids said he's naked but trump. It's not even an innocent bubble. Trump actually turns around and accuses. Other people being naked did this is what's crazy about. He's not content to just be in a bubble and have his sync offense telling him he leads beautiful. He's got to turn it around and say that everyone else is naked. Like it to me. It feels like in the way that he projects his own corrupt ideology unto the world. As if that's how the world thinks we're actually how he thinks and how his system is built. It's almost like instinctively. His fat body like on a cellular level is trying to reject all that corrosive orangeade coursing through its ecosystem. It has to project that unto the world in order to feel safe or normal or something you know if I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt of being a corrupt as home but he's just been an embarrassment and you know and the level to which the people around him and the level to which he needs to be right about things and try to feel like he's being an expert so fucking embarrassing. It's embarrassing it's so embarrassing. In the way that he demands that the people kiss up to him in a global pandemic. You guys this is. What's insane about it? It's magnified so many times now. This type of behavior like fact that Mike Pence because trump doesn't like people wearing masks goes to the male clinic and doesn't wear a mask and it looks like a fucking asshole you know. Fuck Mike Pence by the way fucking for walk into the male clinic without a man's the fucking disrespect he gave that entire place in. Those people was fucking disrespectful man. Fuck that motherfucker was crazy. I couldn't believe that you'll be a man at some point. Be a fucking man you know. Go BACK TO THE PRESIDENT. And his you wearing a mask mother fucker. I'm wearing a mask. Come in the mail fucking clinic. But the former supposed to do teases crazed I mean at some point. Don't you have to say that at some point? What's the worst that's going to happen? You're not going to be vice president. That would be fantastic. As opposed to lose in every ounce of of integrity. You might have left in your body for Christ sakes I guess the good part about some of where we are right now is that APPA local level is where the decisions are going to be mean. And that's probably a good thing because we really don't trump making these decisions you know and you kind of have to hope that your local municipality or county or state or whatever. The local people who are making the decisions are making the right ones. But you know I think we should be happy that it's in that position now so that's where we are right now and this going to be a day to day week to week thing we'll see what can happen but I do think that like Even going to restaurants. I talked about this with David coming up even going to restaurants. We're just GONNA have to get used to wearing masks for a long time. Not just for a couple of weeks. The people who think things have to get back to normal in a couple of weeks. Sorry that's not GonNa Happen. Things have to think I think things should get to a new normal. You know very quickly but there's no way things again and go back to normal at least for a long time. It's kind of the situation that we're in an. Let's hope we can stop fighting on both sides of this issue and just understand together him that we gotta do this as a as a unit and Kinda rebuild things step-by-step and piece by piece all right. That's my rant. We Got David Chang coming up and that's all I got all right. Welcome back. I'm very pleased to have. Let's just say father? How about that but famous restaurant or chef you know from Noodle bar all his restaurants around the world. He's the ugly delicious man Dave Chang. Welcome to blacken the David. Larry honored to be here. Thanks for having me Manda Honors. All Mine Man You made a splash from the beginning when you hit the scene back in the day in Manhattan and You just haven't stop since then and really been one of those awesome great voices out there in the world of food you know. It's really cool to see out in the world man very cool. Yeah it's been a crazy ride. Never never thought it even to this point at all zero. Yeah I can imagine. I WanNa talk about that a little later some of your beginnings but let's talk about the situation right now first of all. How are you holding up during all of this? I know people that do what you do. And what I mean specifically about owning restaurants. Let's talk about that in the the actual act of owning a restaurant like how is how is that part of your business doing right now while we've been shut down for six weeks trying to work diligently at the day. We can reopen up and figuring out how to take care of employees that we had a furlough. And it's it's hard to have hope but that's what we have to have and remind ourselves every day that we have to make them possible happen. And and that's that's actually what's keeping me. Optimistic is if we try to take any paradigm or patterns that we worked in the past or used in the past to move forward. It's not gonNA work and and the common thread and I don't think it's just the restaurant industry. Is You know we have to find ways to make the things that we never thought possible possible now and there's no more cats and I wouldn't or that's impossible. That's not part of the lexicon in our restaurant. Even though we try to we say all the time we got to remind ourselves because we have a lot of safety protocol. We have to figure out. We have opportunity to remedy and fix a lot of the systematic problems that were in the restaurant business beforehand and at the end of the day. I almost put restaurants right now at a much lower level of importance. And it's about trying to help the people that were struggling before covert nineteen in the restaurant and not in the restaurant universe and we're closed. We have restaurants in a variety of places Many restaurants you have right now like four size restaurants where like fifteen of them and we decided to be overly cautious on safety. We have you know when it all happened. Because I've been following this for awhile. High Friends in Asia. And they've been keeping up to date and I've been I'm a hyper paranoid person to begin with so we're trying to win scenarios before all this. We're getting nervous in January when you were first hearing about this or did it seem so far away. It didn't seem like it would be a deal. Both I think we were prepared and not prepared half because we just opened up in Las Vegas too so a lot of my mind was getting done in an filming show too so not run the day to day of the Operations Marguerite Merit Scholars. And I needed a sort out that first and foremost and so you know we can only do so much and I wish we were better prepared. I think everybody wishes they were better prepared. But the plans that we had laid out. Were not enough. You know no real question. They weren't enough. It seems to me David when this first started the shutdown like I feel people had a sense that maybe be like people had to be fertile for a week and a half or two weeks that was like even though we didn't quite know what was going on. It felt like there was a sense that maybe it wouldn't last that long. I feel like we were all in a state of denial at first. Yes does that feel right? Yeah one hundred percent I. I was in. Denial and I was very very paranoid to like anybody like I was freaking out but also in denial simultaneously. And doing whatever you could to prepare and you know with Korea getting hit and having friends that operate restaurants there Shanghai and Hong Kong. I immediately saw that. There was a shift in how Asia as a whole is going to handle this epidemic a pandemic because they had SARS before and Moore's book and they were reading more readily prepared. And you know I don't know and I'm I'm really trying to sort out why. I was in denial even though I was Freaking out any sense to me because I think I just didn't know if you don't want to raise the alarm so much that people think you're a tin foil wearing tinfoil great right right exactly. I think some of it is and this is gonNA sound weird but some of it. I think is American privilege to be honest with you. It's like we don't feel something that bad. It's going to happen to us. I think there's something about us. That just feels that whether right or wrong like we really haven't been attacked on our shores outside of Pearl Harbor People in other countries have been like vicious attacks that got any like we were really in a bubble sometimes and I think this is the first time something this big. I mean nine eleven kind of pierced our consciousness because that was this attack that happened and we felt like how could that happen to people were shattered? I remember right after that and this kind of has their feeling of it were. There was such a denial in the beginning. Because I think it felt like how can how can something be so bad to us Well that was my benchmark was nine eleven right like and that's when I knew things were going to get bad Pretty Pretty Soon I. I just roughly calculated my head in the restaurant industry then when September eleventh happened no I actually worked in Japan for a year and then came back and then worked for Daniel Balloon and when I came back in the summer of two thousand three hospitality industry was still hurting from September eleventh. Right that's two years plus for tours to get back to normal and then it did and that just was south of Fourteenth Street. A lot of restaurants who are affected ask people weren't coming back in numbers because I was working reside so I was like well if that was just localized there but this is now simultaneously happened. The world over you know tourism as a whole may not come back for quite some time until there's a vaccine so I was just trying to tracy imagine it's great that we have all of these scenarios planned out. What's the extreme? How do we define the spectrum by defining the ends of these things right so worst case scenario best case scenario and then best-case scenarios? We'd have to have a vaccine. I was like. Oh that's minimum. I don't know how long out now so I was like. We need to prepare ourselves for a year. Plus how do we do that? Yeah a lot of it is Just dealing with the dark there's some people astounding friend of mine. Who said she feels like? She can't plan anything right now. I mean anything. And that's kind of shocking. You think about that. I mean it feels like you can make. Maybe you know workout scenarios for things but in terms of planning when you take traveling out of the equation of your life. It's amazing. How just closes off almost everything right? So much of the restaurant industry is about travel to right. It's funny it's to think about that was like Oh my God. We were in an incredibly difficult business. Beforehand with high rates of attrition. Exactly and now this is. This is the hardest battle to have. If we're a business so I will say though it's a little bit different You know having seen in talk to not seen but zooming like we are now restaurant tours and shafts across the country a New York City. I'm just outside New York right. Now is by far the worst? There's no way to be worse than move on. Well we are and how you think about think about that. It's crazy. People were like almost joking about John and the measures they were taking. Yeah from America's perspective and we're in some ways a lot worse and it's crazy to think in New York and what's happening in New York is going to be very different than the rest of the country because of the density what made New York so vibrant great and gave it strength. They're now working against it and really agree. Yeah there's restaurants that are open for takeaway delivery and in the West Coast and everywhere like you know. We have a restaurant in Los Angeles. We've decided not to do it because this is the. This IS THE MORAL DILEMMA. So for me you know about the trolley car problem familiar with that so like I. I studied all the stuff in college. I don't know why remember it at all but they you know teaching moral philosophy class so okay effectively. You're you're in a position where train or trolleys coming through and you have a vantage point to see that if left on its own train tracks. It's GONNA kill like five people in there or you have a lever right to your your handing if you press that it'll veer left and only one person and these are extreme academic sort of scenarios but I was very upset most chefs that I knew felt like they were having to make this in real time and closing. The restaurant was difficult and then reopening the restaurants because everybody wants to help. Everybody wants to do charity work. But we have. It's just a lot more complicated than it seems to be so we wanted to over index on being safe so we closed. We've had a lot of false starts about reopening for charity and to do takeaway and delivery but it's a little bit more difficult in New York and even though in L. A. Lot of our managers are married with children share or a couple of wives work so there's daycare issue. So how do you work and maybe do an act of good only to potentially bring back something home because we don't have safety protocol for the government and we don't have the and there's a lot of things that are up in the air and we're going to do our best to make sure no one gets this in dice Oracle incredibly sick? It's just not worth it so I don't have those answers so yes we could. Our restaurant in L. A. is perfectly situated to do. But we've got to do it where everyone feels comfortable safe here. The the other philosophical construct is you know restaurants are shouting druce cat right now. They're both open closed at the same time you know. It's like an even the notion of opening them. Half full to me isn't quite a solution because you're almost setting up failure most restaurants if they say all you can have as half the business. Can you survive like so? Our model is based on capacity. Larry if it's ninety percent total failure rate now so I mean it feels like almost like imposing this and you know what's interesting too when you talk about New York like people that haven't been in restaurants in New York have no idea that every other restaurant and the country already feels like their social distancing when you compare right because you're already sitting on top of each other the New York style of restaurant you know it's not just New York Chicago like grand kids the great chef and Nicolaas. They're they're great right now and part of it is they were had their world class organization. But I think the biggest thing that they have to their advantage was they can drive to work and they have the space in space and being able to get to work safely as a huge thing and are people that are successful and we're going to get there and hopefully help lead the way for everyone else to get there but it's not a race this marathon and wearing like the first mile and and I don't think there's a first mover advantage right now but going back to this trolley car problem. The alternative problem was if we SORTA save and be safe here. Are we if we're so worried about safety? Are we jeopardizing the safety of the people that were trying to save by putting them out there at home unfortunately like are we just couldn't afford to pay everyone there? There's just we just don't have the ability to do that. And it's been difficult and I don. I want to take that with grain of salt like there. Are People out there. They're much more difficult. Things and hard drives. I'm just saying the problem. And the conundrum of like how do you do it? Where someone wins. The restaurant business people that want everyone to win. And when you have to make a decision knowing that someone's GonNa lose it sucks and most people have kind of a one dimensional view of restaurants. You know where you go in and there's people that serve you you know and there's somebody that cooks the food but the whole chain of people that are involved in the whole restaurant businesses huge you know and all of that is being affected right now right. Yeah I mean which is why you know. Too Small to fail is the same result is too big to fail. And even though we're not banks restaurants are eclectic diverse as everyone's aware of you in La you have Taco trucks to Taco shops and high end tacos and just talking about tacos right. It's everything it's so diverse and within diversity at all support these ecosystem in culture and in we're not financial banks but we're like cultural banks for society and culture because ninety percent of the revenue that's generated by restaurant goes back outon world on average. So if you're florist if you're a baker if you're collect trash if you're fishmonger you make you know meet deliveries whatever. The entire sort of universe seems is tied to restaurants restaurants can function look at. What's happening right now with an Idaho with the potatoes? Yeah and onions. Like they're just having to throw them away because not crazy aren't going to restaurants. Then there's it's not about supply to the grocery stores is usually a much. We need restaurants to be around and when that shuts down. That's why Larry I get so angry and concerned about what's going on and I hope that when we all look back on this twenty fifty years. Now it'll be seen as the people that were most important where the people that were being neglected all and and it's the Food Service Worker. The the the busboy. The dishwasher the fact that the market is almost three thousand on the SNP is an indicator of just what I think we value in this country right now. We don't really care too much about the people that actually have to menial labor and tasks and it's essential and we're going to see that and the government is doing their best. I know that I can't believe I can say that. But I know they're trying some people let me just say that but they have no choice because if they don't do it it's going to get really ugly. Yeah you know. It's interesting to see you know when Tyson made that announcement early this week about. They're concerned about the food. Chain being disrupted and having to all the union see all these stories of cattle having to be slaughtered. There's no place for this food to go. Meanwhile People San Line at food banks you know in their cars and things like that you know. We assume Tyson Tyson was sort of the problem. They created this bottlenecks so they can control it and this is this is what happens right so as a whole. I think food. I just wouldn't that. Can you explain that a little bit? More work entirely dependent and reliant upon like a handful of giant meat producers. If this was a system that was more dependent on local farms and co OPS. It wouldn't be this way right so when everyone controls one thing. And there's a lot of it's the distribution channels. It's of course it's going to go sideways Tyson. Unfortunately it's perishable product and we're talking about Obama lives but I actually. I am hopeful that all of these things will be addressed in the coming months to make sure that it doesn't happen again because shame on us once right like we. We can't do this two times in a row and you know the the whole food system even going back to our unfortunate president right about what you eat. And so important right how he treats immigrants right the Shithole countries as he says and all these people like Mexican food. For instance example. If he if he doesn't care about them as people why is he gonNa care about the food that they eat and the many many people that have restaurants that feed these people that he makes fun of or just doesn't care about and that's the problem is we need to make sure that these are the institutions that are going to be safe because they are cultural institutions? And I hope to God that we do something and I actually don't know if the government's going to believe the private companies of this world The googles the facebooks the ABM. They have to do this because if they lose what makes America so really great. Then it's going to be dark times and Dave always You always kind of highlighted culture and food and mix them together. You know in in your Netflix shows and the way you talk about food culture too it feels like from my point of view that to you culture and food are inextricably mixed in a year and it feels like I feel like a lot of small restaurants around the country made just begun. You know in a lot of the culture that associated with some of those restaurants. Is You know like that's a huge issue with with these things not being able to survive. I saw an interview. You did where you talked about. Only the people that have cashing and be able to survive. Are you concerned about some of these small restaurants and future? I am deathly concern. And you know the P P P and you know if I had to do it if the government had do it all over again. They should've just let the first people that got money to be fifty thousand two hundred thousand tops. Absolutely I mean the Lakers got eight million dollars or whatever. It was a huge fan of Lakers. What are you doing asking for money? This is crazy. Four point six. And that's how much Lakers got so was too much you know I we applied in. We're still waiting to hear back. And I think the second tranche is GonNa Hopefully I. This is what I believe. I actually think that there's no other choice because the government is going to have to make sure that everybody gets something and if it doesn't that's a total failure and it's also embarrassing. That other countries are doing amazing jobs Canada Denmark. Uk are doing not just giving money to employees. They're really trying their best to save the Industry. And we're just doing a shameful job of it in America so far so you know we need to give. We need to give all kinds of loans to restaurants for them to survive but simultaneously. You know some of the questions. I've been having behind the scenes as you know. The hard question is what kinds of restaurants are going to survive right exactly. That's what I'm saying. You know and some are just going to be gone. You can do about it because you can only be closed for so long like a lot of this is just unsustainable. Even from the government's point of view government can't continue to print money and give it out. I mean there's an implosion coming up that you know really really worries me about the ability of many things that are in our culture going away you know and I mean Larry I I just I don't know what to do. I mean all I know we need to get this done on the health care front. I straight we need to be able to limit the virus and and getting back to some level. Yeah but my focus is. How do we get safety protocol for the restaurants themselves? There's too many people that are working in not safe environments right now because the government's let them down on protocol like yeah. I'll just give you a simple example. Like bleach solution is what most restaurants have. How do you know if bleach works? I think it's still does and to. Cdc says that but they can put out these things but it's it's it's much more complicated in that. Most bleach solutions have a sponge or a towel in this bucket. Are we even allowed to do that anymore? Or it doesn't have to be a disposable towel and that seems like something very simple but it's not because now every time you have to throw something away you're adding incremental cost and think about this like restaurants are GonNa have to have masks right definitely. Do we know if homemade bass going to be okay while cooking food and other mask intended to protect the person wearing the mask or the people who they're serving or IM- embarked or the food that they're cooking food is their transmission. That can happen in food or on plates can be on a plane like I feel like all of these are questions that are out there. So we're going to be fine. I mean we're we're doing our best to find ways to stay afloat and and honestly like I don't even care about this certain sector restaurants including my own. I do obviously would love to reopen up. Take care of everybody. That's not like I'm not trying to sound like a sociopath they're just simply saying like if we have problems. Everyone else of group of our size and caliber has problems then man like what about the restaurant that I love to eat on the on the on the MK Town. That doesn't know how to do all these things and the other concern that we're going to have very pragmatically is on the protective personal protective equipment. It's GonNa be expensive. Yeah how do we subsidize this cost? We have to find a way to give it to the Black Community Latino community people that haven't has sort of been neglected all along because the last thing we want to do is be like a restaurant accustomed being like when things are open yeah. I'M NOT GONNA go to that restaurant because I don't think they're safe with their food. Well right because they don't want to be safe maybe they can't afford it and that's fucked up Larry. Yeah it absolutely is and they always get served. The last you know to mix a metaphor. You know the other thing when we're talking about culture and food like when I think of Korean food and sometimes of how people are are you have the Abacha's at your table or your cooking at your table and that sort of thing or you know. I don't know how that culture is GonNa Change Canal. You know people are GonNa feel safe doing that type of thing you know and there's a lot of that there's a lot out of the world you know that type of eating may go away. You know you know. The reality is fast food giant food fast food corporations are going to benefit and they have benefited because king in this in this age. One hundred percent because they don't you don't have to taste the food to begin with. It's already set and I when when independent restaurants open back up again. They're going to have to raise prices. And there's going to be a bigger discrepancy than ever before with say a big Mac which is not going to have to raise their price and you know. I'm sorry I'm not trying to make people depressed about this. This is what I roommate Sunday. This is important stuff. Where is the Tanzanian that we're in? You know. Let me ask you this? Do you think this will change? What people eat? Because it's going to change how we eat but I wonder like when I was thinking about the whole Tyson thing and when you're looking at some of these images and stuff do you think what people eat is going to change for better for worse. I think two things are going to happen. I hope people are gonna be cooking at home. Obviously they're gonNA get better cooks. They're definitely doing that. Friend of Mine Lilly Kwong. She's she's she's been trying her best to bring back. Victory Gardens and and Victory Gardens were in the UK and America where in World War One and World War Two. Yes everyone just had a start growing their own food who's incurs plots of land that the community food. I think we're going to go back to that. I really do and gardens are going to be more important than ever before so but again not everybody but I do believe that we're going to have to do that but I think what people are going to eat for sure is is going to change because restaurants for the most part are going to be takeaway delivery so a lot of the meals you're going to have to make might be made yourself with like a ninety percent of it done by a restaurant that is until we have a vaccine but I do think too that I wonder when Tyson's and the in the in the big meat producers of the world's say there could be scarcity or problems. I wonder if they're telling the truth because maybe they WANNA get intervention. Maybe THEY WANNA get help from the government's more than I don't know I just I find that whole world to shadiest Fox so I think we should have supply chains. I do know that one of the top priorities for the government is to protect the food distribution centers that are located at throughout this country and to make sure that we have enough food and so far. I think they've done a good job at that I just think we're going to have to figure out what is lifelike without dining in a restaurant. Do you have an opinion about wet markets and and that sort of thing that's happening now like there's a lot of concern about it because people felt that in. Wuhan maybe the virus could have been spread there. And there's some of those that are here in this country to. What did you have an opinion about that I do but it's not like a real opinion? It's it's I think that they're going to. China should ban all of the things that could transmit corona virus. But you know what market sort of has this like terrible like I duNno. It just doesn't sound very good. It's a wit but but it's part of culture in Asia. That's how food gets made. There's usually like like water running or not. That's not water running but like things get washed down and things get killed there in the moment in. There's different kinds of markets in. I don't know if you have them in Asia it's it's Y- I mean I've spoken to some of my friends about it. They imagine like they're just slaughtering a jungle in there. And that's the case. There's there's normal things that you would normally see. It's just also you know I've never seen that stuff before you know but I know that there have been some. But I wouldn't be surprised if China clamp down on that finally as it should be the sale of endangered species and animals and you know if it is the bat like Faulk Man Mike Man. I would have so looking forward to bat. Burger to going out the window As this change your idea of of what you WanNa do personally in your in your career at this point has created a big shift for you. I mean it's been I mean I'm really having this conversation actively within my my brain damage I mean very honestly like I talked to March or CEO on a daily basis and You know their days were like I don't know if I can do like. How do you do this and I never want to be put in a position where why bill something up if you can't take care of everybody and there's definitely been thoughts of like you know? I mean even a good moments. I think I quit every five minutes. I just do. Certainly there's been a lot more of that thought but I always come back to some kind of normal where I'm like. No no we gotta keep going to better the lives. We gotta do this right and the hard part is you. Don't really have an answer. And that's what makes it hard. It's a it's a you know like I've I'm a firm believer in you know cameras rebellion against the existential dread. The best thing is to reject yourself and do something good right life better for other people. I and the hard thing to see like what is that good right now and Chad is the hope. And if you can't have that hope it makes it really hard because the last thing you want to do is build something up. I thought we've done our best to make Momofuku very like strong. Great Place with Bob but we failed. I'm mad at myself more than anyone could ever imagine. Because we weren't able to prepare for this and to better protect the interest of employees. And we're really thinking about this long and hard about. How do we do this? How do we? How long can we continue to Pay Cobra? How long like all these things are really problematic. And you know what's the point of restaurants if there's no restaurants restaurant my culture anymore so yeah if these are normal thoughts and I'm not trying to bum anyone out here but I'm having doubts just like anyone else but I promise I'm not going to quit. I'm just telling you. It's been a very arduous struggle daily struggle of like. I just need a glimmer of hope. That's all I have to get me through this. But you're very introspective about. This is interesting because I remember reading an interview with you. I think it was a long time ago. Where think you're talking about how you fell into some of that pattern of you know how we see? The stereotypical angry boss in the kitchen type of thing. You know the abusive type of relationship and you talked about how your relationship growing up was. You're always yelled at and that's kind of the culture now. Do you think having gone through this and I'm sure over the years you. I'm sure there's been a balloon but has this changed you in terms of how you feel about your relationship with the people who are who worked for you and within Actually I don't think this has changed that at all. I think that changes the long long time coming and and a lot of that was just maturity and and you know we were supposed to have this book come out next month but I think it's GonNa be number but I will talk a lot about that struggle that growth and if I didn't have you know you know if I didn't have a psychiatrist so much not not not just dealing with my depression. It was a lot of dealing with my anger and nobody. Nobody should be foods not important enough to make someone feel bad And that's the biggest lesson I learned. I learned along the way that I'm a fucking asshole and there's no reason to be that so I have to do my best not to go down those default settings mind but as a whole this this corona virus Cova nineteen epidemic has just showed me how fragile this whole thing is what is genuinely important and how we treat everybody. Moving forward is it has to be more on the economic thing. It's like how do we get rid of tips? How do we make sure that you've paid leave? How do we make sure that we can? We Afford Hauser. Pay Right like these are the things that I feel like. I am actually focusing my efforts because I think the maturation process of me is never going to be complete. I feel like how I treat. People has gone a lot better. It can always be better and my focus during corona virus has certainly been. How do we make sure we never in this position again? And how do we make sure that employees are going to be prepared for this? Yeah I think that's great How do what do you think we can do? The people who support these businesses on one support. I have many friends who are in this business. I live here in Pasadena California and has some friends in the restaurant business. They're really hurting because they have small businesses. You know and you try to support but it's not the same takeout as it is going there and Yordan drinks honest the culture of it. What are some of the ways that we can help from the outside or is there anything that we can do? Well first of all will be joining you in Pasadena we. We've been trying to do this for a while. But grace's parents are lived there and no great come on over here. It's a little bit hard to travel right now but WE'RE GONNA figure it out but in terms of what you can do to support the restaurant. I think you can buy gift certificates. Just don't use them right now. You can support restaurants. Have A gofundme page. I'm going to tell you a story. We had widely defined on a podcast. When he'll tell you this story and I'm just GonNa shortened version of it great. He has a donut shop in Brooklyn. He hadn't been there and five plus weeks. He had to pick up some supplies to feed his family and And just other stuff for kitchen stuff and you know. He lives in Connecticut and he came in and the knees up gathering all the supplies and he has a knock on the door and everything's boarded up and he knocks and it's as dishwasher. Dishwasher says chef like your back and he's like yeah what are you doing here? How'd you know his here? He's like Oh. I come here every day at this time on my bicycle. So it's like he's like you you've been here everyday since we've closed you know five plus weeks ago. He's like yeah it's like. I CAN'T AFFORD MY CELL BILL. My Cell Phone Bill and I don't have Internet so I just have to come here physically to see if we're gonna be open and that just that's like the saddest fucking story and that's a real story and that's happening all over this country people that don't have enough to even get the information about things that we take for granted and you know why has it go. Fund me page. You should check it out. It's dues donuts and that's how you can do it. You can put money if the government won't do it. You can put money directly into the pockets of employees and yes. There's been a lot of issues that go package restaurants. I mean you have to trust that. All the charities go directly back employee's as it should but that's what you can do is help. Put money directly into the pockets of employees. That need it and I think that's the only thing we can do right now is to make sure that they have the basic needs of shelter of food of comfort and health. You know yeah opening. The restaurants are really not that important right now. They are with people. And we need enough restaurants to keep employed. Not also just add. There seems to be with this weird again like if I was twenty six years old. Twenty seven years old. I'd be open right now. They're doing it myself and I'd be you know donating meals and doing whatever I could to make this all work but my life isn't like that anymore and that's another thing that everyone has to keep in mind is like just because someone can't do something doesn't mean like their hearts not doing You know it's just a complicated mess of a situation and you can go down that rabbit hole forever but the thing that we can do. Is You know for sure that people are suffering? You can donate to the food banks you can donate to the Lien initiative which is started by chef in Kentucky. And they're giving aid and assistance to hospitality workers. All you have to do. Show Your W. Two form in Los Angeles Squirrel right now. Is doing that program so if you work in the hospitality industry and you need food to live off of bring your W. Two of your last paycheck and they'll give you supplies and there are a lot of programs and I think if you really love your restaurant? Just give them money. There's a local restaurant you love. If they don't have a gofundme page set it up for them. Yeah that's Great Idea. Really really great idea And Food Banks. I think are a good thing for people to donate to as well right. Yeah I'm on the board of a couple Credibly important more so than ever. And you know the ringers. Obviously we were doing a lot with Jose and the world's central kitchen is so vital to feed them right now and twenty two plus cities in growing so there are a lot of the just just know that people are in need and worse off than you are right now and and this is the time to to to pay for it if there was a time absolutely completely. What very well said David. Thank you so much for being here. I want to end. Maybe a nice person on a you know we can hear. Your son is Hugo she. He's downstairs he was just he was eating and like the only place where. I can record this entertainment. That's great one. Let's see how is being a father affected you personally through all this in in just life in general has been a big change for you you know. We did ugly delicious episode that covered some of it. But yeah that's right. You did the baby episode. But then it's I don't know if it's making me be the best version of myself into truly. If there's been one benefit to being quarantined it's being able to spend time with them to to not have to rush home to make sure that I I have some you know few minutes and to see him grow up too. I was able to see his first steps as a child and I make his food. I make all his meals. And that's been great and yeah if there's one person that's having a great time right now in quarantine it's my son. That's so great that's us. He's loving and he's got his grandparents here. We're all stuck in this this place. But he's he's having a grand time and easy way worse. Yeah it's like my dog Bester Buster's having the time of his life right now. He's getting all this attention Eddie. He's just really enjoying it. Which like good you best. They laugh it up. And you deserve it you David once again. Thanks so much I appreciate a man I appreciate all your your words on the subject You know even though it's got it's tougher meat even talk about some of the stuff right now. There's so many people that are in need right now and I. I can fill all your emotions behind this. I know how invested you are not just in the industry of having restaurants but in the business of Feeding People. Lino and how important food is in our culture. I really appreciate you talk with me. Today isn't any other last words you have. Maybe when save out there? Yeah I'll say this and I might have said this before but again I talked to Dr Jim Kim. He was one of the founders in partners of health and he was the president of the World Bank and he's now helping out Massachusetts and in contact tracing and really going on the offensive for this. I just want to reiterate what he told me. And it's going to be on our podcast. But he basically said you know. We have to make them possible happen. Let me just reiterate that it's like this is not going to happen by having a mediocre solution we man the best possible outcomes and reverse engineer without taking any compromises but this has got to be one on the healthcare front. I and I'm not an expert in that but I can't restaurants and tell our medical system our nurses and doctors and everyone that's fighting this virus on the front lines can actually get this done. I so like we're sort of helpless. We can't really open our doors until the medical system can really be successful out this so you know we need to do whatever we can to support them because once they get that done then we can get a little bit busier and get the ball rolling. But that's my biggest thing helping out however I can on those fronts. Well said David Chang for being black in the air really appreciate it take care of yourself man and uh really hope for the best for all your ventures thanks.

Coming up next