Changling: Master chef a master manipulator?
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.
So, 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.