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Why David Chang Thinks 'Fresh' Food Is Overrated

By FDL on

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Why David Chang Thinks 'Fresh' Food Is Overrated
Photo David Chang/Facebook

His restaurants span two continents and rank among the best in the world. He's one of the Gods of Food according to Time magazine. And did we mention his best buddies include René Redzepi and Alex Atala? So when David Chang has an opinion about something the world listens.

On this occasion Chang is sharing a powerful message but it's not about MSG or the perfect beer, this time he's got a bone to pick with fresh foods. In a column published in GQ, the chef tells us we've really got it all wrong when we equate 'fresh' with deliciousness. He argues that the foods we enjoy the most - for instance dry-aged beef, wine, sushi and even chocolate - are a product of 'rot.'

Here's an excerpt from his insightful article:

''We reflexively recoil from the word “rot” when it comes to food, and we shouldn’t. We pay a premium for dry-aged beef because we know the older the steak, the more tender it is and the more umami it develops. That beef is rotting (okay, “aging”), but under our terms and to our benefit. Many foods are rotted to make them edible at all: olives, chocolate, coffee. And there are those that we rot to improve: pickles, cheese, wine. I find it hilarious that even the freshest foods are seasoned with rot. We dress salads with vinegar, a.k.a. rotten wine.''

The chef makes some solid points about why fermenting, pickling, drying and aging make food even more delicious. After all, these are food preservation methods that have been used for millennia. He ends his provocative essay with a recipe for vinegar pickles and this thought: ''Let’s stop fixating on “fresh” and embrace things that are old and rotting. Even if it takes some time to get used to the idea.''

What do you think? Is Chang spot on when he says fresh foods are overrated? Or do ''rotten'' foods turn you off? Tell us in the comments below!

PLUS: Watch David Chang's Harvard Talk

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