Eat A Peach
Title: Eat A Peach
Author: David Chang with Gabe Ulla
Genre: nonfiction memoir
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Summary: Eat a Peach is a memoir of the life of the award-winning Chef David Chang. Chang shares how the effects of trauma showed up in every aspect of his life, in his relationship with his family, friends, colleagues, and even himself. This memoir not only tells David’s life story but sheds light on the intenseness of the restaurant industry.
Thoughts before reading the book: Back during the holiday season of 2020, I binge-watched Chang’s Netflix series Ugly Delicious and LOVED IT! Ugly Delicious teaches the history and evolution of different types of food. I have so many favorite episodes, but the one I connected most with was the Season 1 Episode 6 called Fried Chicken. This episode touched on the origin of the stereotypes around black people and fried chicken, how various cultures have put their unique spin on fried chicken and I’ve also visited a couple of the restaurants he featured on the show. Shortly after finishing Ugly Delicious, I then found his other show Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner which follows celebrities to some of their favorite local restaurants and I LOVED that show as well! In these shows, Chang is funny, entertaining, knowledgeable, and genuinely takes interest in learning the history, processes, and different opinions about food.
First thoughts after reading the book: The lasting thought that I was left with after reading Chang’s memoir is that you never know one’s journey to success.
I liked how Chang’s personality and humor shined through this memoir. It brought a lightness to heavy topics such as childhood trauma, not feeling that you belong, mental illnesses, and suicidal thoughts. As a first-generation American back dropped by the stereotype that all Asians are smart, Chang notes that he was “completely, certifiably average”. This impacted his relationship with his father who was tough on him, his friends and family with who he sometimes didn't feel like he fit in, and even his sense of self and his identity as a Korean- American. On top of this, Chang dealt with anxiety, depression, a bipolar disorder and had thoughts of ending his life all in the midst of him getting married, having a son, and becoming one of the world’s most famous chefs.
I also really liked learning about the restaurant industry. It seems to be super cutthroat, competitive, and time-consuming but also fun, adventurous, and rewarding. I liked how Chang encouraged innovation and the sharing of ideas among his staff. The continuous risk-taking and desire to evolve, making delicious food, and giving customers a comfortable enjoyable experience was the secret sauce to his restaurant success.
One thing that I can say for sure is that Chang knows how to bounce back from an L and I don’t feel like he gives himself enough credit for it. Even though he was in a dark place he sought therapy to work through it. He continues to try to be a better version of himself and lives each day like it is his last, literally. In his memoir, Chang states that his success is directly connected to his successes. Chang’s story is inspiring and is an example of how downfalls are stepping stones towards success.
...my success is completely tied to my depression.
I would recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of David Chang, anyone who is interested in working in the restaurant industry, anyone who can identify with being a first-generation American, anyone who can identify with struggling to belong, and anyone who can relate to the struggles of depression and anxiety.
- Maya & The Spine Down