The Well-Known Tom Colicchio Restaurant David Chang Once Worked At

David Chang may have played golf, taught English, and worked in finance, but it's in the culinary world where he's made his biggest impact, turning his Momofuku Noodle Bar in New York into a global culinary empire with restaurants across multiple cities and countries, along with two Michelin stars.

Chang trained at the French Culinary Institute (now the International Culinary Center) and got a job as a line cook at Jean-Georges Vongerichten's Mercer Kitchen afterwards. According to Time, where Chang really wanted to work was at Craft, the new restaurant that Tom Colicchio was planning to open in Union Square after his successful venture with Danny Meyer at Gramercy Tavern. The only problem? He was already working at Mercer Kitchen, and there was no room for him in the kitchen at Craft. Undeterred, Chang would work at Craft on the days he wasn't at Mercer Kitchen, though not as a chef — he started off answering phones and taking reservations, even though Chang has told The New Yorker that he was "the worst receptionist of all time."

David Chang's time at Craft

Chang eventually quit Mercer Kitchen to focus on Craft. He had graduated to knife work in addition to answering phones at this point. Once Craft started serving lunch, Chang finally moved to the kitchen to work, alongside Chef de cuisine Marco Canora, Jonathan Benno, Akhtar Nawab, James Tracey, Damon Wise, and Karen DeMasco, in a line that Edible Manhattan described as "legendary."

Chang's time at Craft has certainly influenced his later ventures, including at Momofuku Ssam Bar, as seen in the incredible ingredient sourcing and understated simplicity that followed what Colicchio delivered with Craft. Chang would work at Craft for two years before moving to Japan to gain more experience. After his return to the US and a stint in the world of French fine dining at Daniel Boulud's Café Boulud, Chang would open his first restaurant, Momofuku Noodle Bar, in the East Village in 2004. Momofuku Ssam Bar followed in 2006, and Momofuku Ko in 2008. Momofuku Ko would go on to earn two Michelin stars in 2009, which it holds to this day. Momofuku Ko would also beat out Craft in a recent survey of famous NYC restaurants that our readers want to eat at, taking second place with 21.77% of the vote compared to 15.31% of the vote for Craft.