How Wagamama Inspired David Chang's Career

Inspiration can strike in unexpected places, and for Chef David Chang, that place was London's Wagamana. Before he launched a portfolio of restaurants falling under the Momofuku Group umbrella, Chang studied religion in Connecticut, taught English in Japan, and worked in finance. In his early twenties, Chang enrolled in a French Culinary school and spent time in London where he found himself feasting on bowls of ramen at Wagamama. At Wagamama, noodles are served at prices that won't break the bank, and the international chain consistently serves up bowls of rice, ramen, curry, salads, and soba noodles with a variety of toppings.

This wasn't the first time Chang found himself enjoying the soothing nourishment a warm bowl of noodles can provide. As a boy, Chang's father brought him to a restaurant that served up noodles made by hand, and like many students, Chang enjoyed ramen on the regular. As Chang progressed through the program at the International Culinary Center, these experiences began to crystallize, resulting in the inspiration fueling Chang's first Momofuku Noodle Bar. 

When culinary inspiration strikes

Like Wagamama, Momofuku serves up hearty bowls of ramen topped with meats and vegetables, and diners can customize bowls with an assortment of additional toppings like chili crunch, poached eggs, and extra servings of meat. Chang's concept also offers fried chicken and whole roasted suckling pig with a list of sake varieties to keep palates moist.

Though the price point of dishes is slightly higher than the menus at Wagamama, the environment at Momofuku is similarly warm and inviting. Chang's success has led to expansion, as the hip concept of a noodle bar caught on quickly in New York. Diners are enthralled by not only the dishes but also the atmosphere Chang has created through aesthetic details and intentional design. If neither a Wagamama nor a Momofuku location is nearby your home, consider sprucing up a bowl of instant ramen for yourself. You never know what kind of inspiration it might spark.