The Classic Fall Flavor David Chang Absolutely Hates

The year 2023 has been a playground for food trends like artisanal salt and CBD-infused entrees. But, few food trends are as enduring and simultaneously divisive as pumpkin spice. Love it or hate it, pumpkin spice is here to stay, and every year foodies eagerly anticipate (or, alternatively, dread) the re-emergence of the seasonal flavor. Chef David Chang, for one, is far from jazzed about it.

The chef isn't a fan of thin plastic cutting boards or vegetarians. But, in an episode of First We Feast's iconic "Hot Ones" series ("The show with hot questions and even hotter wings"), Chang seethes, "I get mad. I get mad thinking about pumpkins."

He goes even further to call pumpkin pie "disgusting." "It's a f—ing gourd. Nobody eats it any other time of year, right? Nothing gets me more worked up than g—-mn pumpkin pie. It should be barred. Nobody should ever make it ever again." Chang says he also thinks Starbucks "ruined coffee" with the alleged "abomination" that is the Pumpkin Spice Latte (PSL) — which incidentally enjoyed a record-breaking sales year last season. (Still, the chef might have had a point when he rhetorically asked host Sean Evans, "Do you eat gourds?")

Pumpkin spice isn't so nice if you ask David Chang

The seasonal exclusivity of pumpkin spice seems to be a point of contention for Chang, and he certainly isn't alone. A common complaint about fall menu items is that they seem to arrive too early. Last year, the PSL made its return to Starbucks menus on August 30 — three weeks before the autumnal equinox, while the average daily temperature nationwide sat around 70 degrees. National Pumpkin Spice Day isn't even until October 1. 

Chang's pumpkin-spice-flavored ire might seem a little intense, but he's far from the only chef to diss the trend. In a Reddit AMA (ask me anything) thread from 2016, Chang's peer and personal friend Anthony Bourdain wrote that he "would like to see the pumpkin spice craze drowned in its own blood. Quickly." The same year, during an interview on "Today," Bourdain compared pumpkin spice fans hanging around outside of a coffee shop to a vignette of a methadone clinic. Meanwhile, back in 2015, fellow celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay tweeted that he actually supports the trend, but only during October and November.

Perhaps most infuriatingly (by Chang's standards), there isn't even any actual "gourd" in pumpkin spice at all; it's nutmeg, cinnamon, and allspice. Yet, that hasn't stopped Americans as a whole from shelling out roughly $500 million on pumpkin spice-flavored products every fall. Hefty even came out with a line of pumpkin-spice-scented trash bags — which Chang might argue is where the fall flavor belongs.