Among the myriad culinary personalities to have emerged over the past decade, few are as versatile as David Chang. Globally renowned chef, best-selling author, and award-winning TV host (Netflix’s Ugly Delicious). Now the affable Chang can add another title to his ever-expanding bio: Microwave master.
As Chang’s millions of social media followers know by now, the longtime microwave advocate has gone all-in on the oft-ignored kitchen appliance with the recent launch of Anyday, an innovative microwave cookware line that helps home cooks prep everything from a perfect pot of rice or tender fish filets to a sinful cheesecake, using solely their microwaves.
“I really believe that the microwave is a machine of the future, here in the present day. It’s such a misunderstood kitchen appliance, but the data is out there. Microwave cooking is not only an efficient way of cooking but also a really healthy means of doing so,” Chang says. “It’s taken me some time to really understand and appreciate its powers, but it’s been a game changer, especially as I’ve been cooking at home more for my family.”
In recent years, Chang has taken his global audience on a journey through the powers of the microwave, most memorably showing his Instagram followers his experience cooking his son’s first birthday cake in the microwave.
“Steph Chen is really the brain behind Anyday,” says Chang of his partner in the venture. Chen is also chief of staff at her family’s global cookware company, Meyer Corporation, the largest cookware distributor in the U.S.
“She’s done extensive research on microwaves and microwave cookware, and she and I bonded over our mutual love of the misunderstood appliance,” Chang says. “After talking more, it was clear that we really wanted to work together to highlight the microwave’s powers and help others learn how to better utilize them in their everyday lives.”
Chang, 43, oversees his culinary and media empires from Los Angeles, where he lives with his wife, Grace, and toddler son. Hugo. In addition to the launch of Anyday, Chang is working on some upcoming TV projects along with his podcasts, The Dave Chang Show and Recipe Club.
Following the successful launch of his Momofuku Pantry product line, which provides home cooks with flavor-packed ingredients such as chili crunch and seasoned salts, Chang and his culinary team will be launching new products in the coming months.
Chang recently spoke with Penta about his favorite things.
The best book I’ve read in the last year is… Minor Feelings: An American Reckoning. Cathy Park Hong’s collection of essays on the Asian-American experience nails my own feelings as a self-loathing Korean-American.
One piece of art that has changed the way I view the world is… Courage by the British artist Charles Mackesey.
An amateur cook must know how to…prepare your mise [en place] ahead of time.
My favorite things to cook and drink right now are… I’m really not kidding when I say I cook in the microwave all the time now. My go-tos are fluffy rice, soy-marinated salmon, and a side of vegetables—usually bok choy topped with Momofuku chili crunch. I’ve also been trying to figure out how to master microwave baking, so, lately, I’ve been testing out cake recipes in my Anyday bowls.
Something that I enjoy eating that might shock my fans is… it seems like microwave-cooked fish is still shocking people. My family and I love it.
The one thing in my kitchen or fridge that I can’t live without is… there are really three things I can’t live without: my donabes [Japanese clay pots], Anyday bowls, and wok. These are easily the items I use most in my kitchen, aside from my knives.
My idea of a perfect meal is… Mama Chang’s galbi-jjim—it’s short rib braised with soy, fruit juices, sesame, carrots, potatoes, and onions, and it’s delicious. Her galbi-jjim with a giant bowl of steamed rice and some kimchi is a perfect, delicious meal.
I stayed sane over the last year by… getting to spend as much time as I have at home with Hugo. Before the pandemic, I planned to travel for most of last year for different projects and productions. While the past year was tough in so many ways, I am thankful that I was able to have more time together with my family.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.