At Recode’s Code Conference yesterday, Chang discussed the expansion of his media presence with Recode executive editor Peter Kafka and Eater editor-in-chief Amanda Kludt, spurred by the new eight episode docuseries. The media stuff, he said, has bolstered the restaurant empire, which includes restaurants in NYC like Noodle Bar, Ko, and Fuku.
“If the media takes off, that’s more stuff that we can bring back to the restaurants,” Chang said. According to Chang, Ugly Delicious doesn’t necessarily promote his restaurants — Momofuku locations in NYC and Vegas do appear in the third episode — but they’re “busier than ever before because of it.”
In addition to Ugly Delicious, Chang recently launched Majordomo Media, a multi-faceted entertainment group, and started a podcast in partnership with The Ringer called the Dave Chang Show, where he recently unpacked Nishi’s initial failure. This year, he’s thrown a lot of energy behind expanding his brand on the media side of things rather than opening new restaurants. He also went retail recently, selling his signature Ssäm sauce nationwide on Amazon.
Chang also commented on the most recent sexual misconduct allegations against Mario Batali, calling it “disheartening” and “hard to read.” “I don’t know if we would be in business today without Mario’s support, so I feel obligated to recognize that,” Chang said, adding that he’s focusing on moving forward and making sure he’s running his business as best as possible. He also said that people in the restaurant industry “need to be stronger in our moral compass.”