Changling: Master chef a master manipulator?

dish-chang-cookingPeter Chang in an actual Charlottesville restaurant kitchen.

How many food writers and foodies have now been sucked down the rabbit hole trying to pin down Peter Chang, or figure out a reason for his wandering ways? Circling Dish's coverage of the chef's return to Charlottesville, other local media, bloggers, and foodies appear to have tied themselves in knots trying to crack that nut, creating a lot of confusion in the process.

Now an Atlanta news blog is reporting that Chang, who is opening a restaurant with a partner there this weekend, only plans on consulting at his Charlottesville restaurant.

Seriously, it's enough to make your head spin.

Again, as Dish first reported, Federal Realty has confirmed that Mr. Chang has leased the old Wild Greens space in Barracks Road Shopping Center. That's really all you need to know.

How often will he actually be there? How often will he be in the Atlanta restaurant he's opening this weekend? Well, how often has he stayed anywhere? If there's anything we've learned about Mr. Chang, it's that he doesn't like to stay in one place very long, he changes his mind a lot, and he enjoys teasing reporters by telling them what they want to hear.

Back in March Chang told Dish that his "dream" was to change American perceptions of Chinese food by creating a chain of Chang-concept restaurants, with distinct Chang-style menus, where he can control the quality and service. His overall goal, he said, was to be an “ambassador” of authentic Chinese cooking, which is why he said he often moves around as a "consultant."

Of course, he also said he planned to use Charlottesville as his “home base” to spread his cooking knowledge to other restaurants. Later, he said he wanted open a place in Short Pump. And just recently a Chang associate told Dish that the chef's emphasis would be on the Charlottesville location. Now Chang's telling a reporter that Atlanta will be his home base. Go figure.

dish-visitdishSo, here's the deal: Dish promises to shut-up about Chang until he either 1) breaks his Charlottesville lease, 2) announces an opening date for his Charlottesville restaurant at which he will be standing in the kitchen cooking, or 3) disappears from the face of the earth.


As the eggroll turns...

@Gene, hope you're right. Will say this, though-- those lessons didn't translate at Taste of China here in Charlottesville. I've been twice since Chang left, and the food has been awful. Chang's signature dishes are particularly bad when botched by mediocre or apathetic kitchen staff. If he's going to pull this off, he'll need to do some commuting.

@jeezLouise, I think Dan's comment is referring to another poster, not Gene.

Personally it seems like Chang coming to cville is worth reporting, being that he is a rather well known chef, and now that there is so much back and forth it makes people even more interested in it.

I would like to thank The Hook for finally ending this fiasco. I honestly can't take it anymore. It's good chinese at the end of the day, you can experience that in any large market. Get over it, move on, and get out and dine, so next time your not ignorantly blown away.

I hope they serve mac and cheese, mashed potatos, and hummus.

Gene Lee here.. I authored the Peter Chang interview that was published yesterday on the Atlanta Journal Constitution Food & More blog. Honestly, it sounds like chef Chang has grand ambitions to build a restaurant empire, much like Mario Batali or Jean-George Vongerichten have already. And ask yourself, do you really think Batali/Jean-Georges still cook in any of their restaurant kitchens?

I mentioned in the article that even when Chang initially disappeared from Tasty China in Marietta, GA, the kitchen staff he left behind were well trained and still able to garner high marks from Besha Roddell - one of our esteemed critics here for the Creative Loafing. Batali's Del Posto recently was awarded 4-stars by the NYT and again I ask you, do you think it was because of Mario himself firing out dishes night after night?

So why do we demand that Chang be only at one place, while Tasty China was humming along fine when he was wining and dining you all for a while? I have eaten at TC when he's been there and when he hasn't, and frankly I can't tell a huge difference. Some people claim they can but other than flashy specials he might throw at you, it hasn't diminished TC's popularity with or without Chang.

I think before we write him off, give his ventures a chance. If they open flat, see if he puts in an effort to resolve any lingering issues. Chang worked very hard to get to the top level of cooking that he has achieved. The man is also approaching middle age and can't be on his feet all day. One day he might call time on his cooking career altogether. But what he does have is an incredible amount of knowledge. And he has proven that he can impart that knowledge to the Tasty China kitchen for it to run just fine when he isn't around. So rather than fade away into older age and keep his recipes/techniques under lock and key, he's mentoring kitchens so his tribute to Chinese food lives on.

And who knows, he is Chang after all. He could change his mind tomorrow and reappear in your Charlottesville kitchens declaring his roots are now grounded in Virginia soil. And even if he does, we Georgians will still pack it in at Tasty China.

I wonder if he can make good pizza

Chang has been sighted again in Quinque with some local celebs scouting for a restaurant site. Greene is the new black...

Change was recently spotted leaving the building with Elvis. Or was it to make the next blockbuster with Cheech & Chong?: Cheech, Chong & Chang do The White House!

American-Chinese food is about as Asian as a Kentucky-made Toyota, acac's karate or bikram's yoga. Our Chinese food, like sex, is still worth it even when mediocre. Y'all need
to stop acting like experts. And stop calling yourself "the dish" when your real name is attached to the article... whatever happened to anonymous food writing?


Speaking of Chinese food/sex analogies, I've always liked this one: it's not over until you both get your cookie.

The Dish

Besides "get over it", I've got three words to calm any Chang panic: Pulled Pork BBQ :>)

How many food writers and foodies have now been sucked down the rabbit hole trying to pin down Peter Chang, or figure out a reason for his wandering ways? because peter chang is illegal stay in U.S.
he likes media food writes bustling his cooking skill at same time peter chang fear of to people know he and his wife is illegal stay.