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Momofuku chef David Chang explains why he’s building a media empire

“We’re not promoting the restaurant — we’re trying to promote our ideals.”

Why is Momofuku founder and chef David Chang launching a media empire instead of just more restaurants?

Over the past few months, Chang — who has been one of the world’s most influential chefs and restaurateurs over the past decade — launched a new Netflix show, “Ugly Delicious,” formalized a new media company, Majordomo Media, and started a podcast, the Dave Chang Show, in partnership with The Ringer.

Part of the plan, he said onstage today at Recode’s Code Conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., is to feed the restaurants.

“If the media takes off, that’s more stuff that we can bring back to the restaurants,” Chang told Recode Executive Editor Peter Kafka and Eater Editor in Chief Amanda Kludt. “Maybe people will never want to pay that much money for food. Maybe we can subsidize some of the costs with other stuff that’s elevating our business.

“Look at someone like Wolfgang Puck,” Chang said. “He’s created a giant business of every kind of thing related to food, from [consumer packaged goods] to pots and pans to frozen pizzas to catering. And there’s a reason why hundreds of people stay with him, and he constantly takes care of his employees, and he’s got a great team.”

But that’s only part of it.

“Not only that, but we can create new content — stories that aren’t being told. It’s one of the reasons ‘Ugly Delicious’ got created.”

Is it working? Is the Netflix show different, for example, from Chang’s previous media projects?

“It’s a sea change,” Chang said. “I didn’t understand how many people were going to watch the show.

“Even though our show doesn’t really even promote Momofuku, we’re just busier than ever before because of it. Part of that is we’re not promoting the restaurant, we’re trying to promote our ideals. And I think to the younger generation, that’s more important than ever before.”

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