Last night, in honor of the Momofuku cookbook extravaganza, 7x7 hosted a starry panel at Cafe Du Nord featuring David Chang, Chris Cosentino, Christopher Kostow and book co-author Peter Meehan. With myriad chefs, media people and Changtastic fans in the audience, 7x7 food ladies Sara Deseran and Jessica Battilana moderated the lively discussion. Chang made/clarified his point early and often: Bay Area chefs—and chefs everywhere for that matter—have grown too content with the status quo, and there needs to be a progressive movement lest things get complacent here, there and everywhere.
Alrighty, now that the business portion is out of the way, here are some further observations and fun quotes from last night ... the night that was:
1) In an adorable coincidence, Cosentino and Kostow were wearing the same glasses. However, nary a few minutes into the affair, one of them quickly pointed out that his were actually prescription.
2) Meehan and Chang had beer and tequila for breakfast in the airport yesterday, while Cosentino simply had whole wheat toast. But what did Kostow have for breakfast again? Someone really should have asked him five times.
3) Chang: "Daniel Patterson should be considered a city treasure in San Francisco."
3.5) Cosentino made a great point that Patterson wrote basically the exact same thing in The New York Times several years ago that Chang said, albeit on a different scale of eloquence. Chang went on to implore everyone to read that article. So here it is. Consider it homework.
4) 7:46PM: The first reference to Winterland as a cutting edge concept that was rejected in SF. Daniel Humm and Lauren Gras were also brought up as talents that found greener pastures elsewhere. However, Meehan did point out that working at Eleven Madison has allowed Humm to grow and make mistakes, something that not many chefs get to do.
5) Deseran: "So you guys have all come of age with the Food Network... " Meehan, taking a break from balloon animals: "Actually, I think Chris [Cosentino] is the only one who's actually come of age on the Food Network." Zing!
6) 8:05PM: The first reference to Martin Yan.
7) Chang also expressed his love and admiration for StarChefs (note: untrue). He did say that he would never, ever hire a Top Chef.
8) All the panelists expressed a desire for more progressive cooking in SF, while agreeing that "progressive" does not necessarily necessitate "molecular" as it's been known (see: Incanto, Rene Redzepi). And also, people need not be afraid of big words.