Danny Bowien Reveals His Next Dream Project - Exclusive

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The culinary wunderkind who stunned the country in 2010 when he opened Mission Chinese in San Francisco doesn't know exactly what he'll do next. Danny Bowien is out of the restaurant business for now — having shuttered his Lower East Side and Bushwick outposts in New York City in 2020 and 2022 respectively. In another world, the chef might have been sour. Two years ago, for example, Bowien closed his Lower East Side location on the heels of scandal. Grub Street talked to disillusioned employees who reported a "zero tolerance" and abusive atmosphere in that location's kitchen that Bowien, allegedly, turned a blind eye to. Bowien apologized profusely for this. As he told Tasting Table in an exclusive interview, he learned, early in his career, the importance of owning up to his errors, and described learning to say sorry as "humbling" and "cleansing."

For what it's worth, this year's restaurant closure seems radically different. Bowien told Tasting Table that he and the Bushwick staff "he has" are close. "I say 'have' because we're all still in contact," he clarified. "Closing Mission Bushwick was very bittersweet because everyone that was there is moving on and doing new things, but we're all better because of each other," Bowien reflected. "So I'm really grateful for that. I think that really does influence how I'm feeling now, which is just really grateful and thankful."

So, what's next for Danny Bowien? Another slightly psychedelic, out-of-this-world, taste-bud-awakening restaurant — Mission or otherwise — is not written in the stars. 

Danny Bowien doesn't want to run in place

Danny Bowien's food journey is not over. For one thing, he has his new cookbook, "Mission Vegan." Back in 2020, he gave us a hint of the magic in its pages when he told the "Feeling Asian" podcast that he was ready to shift from Sichuan-leaning food and start exploring his Korean heritage. "This whole book is really about self-discovery," he told Tasting Table. "There are a lot of moments in the book where I'm like, 'Wait. This is a food that I would have been eating had I grown up in Korea.' Some of them. Not all of them. But I didn't have Korean food until I was 19."

Beyond introducing us to "Mission Vegan," Danny Bowien is okay taking a breather. "There's like a certain ... being able to slow down and being patient right now," Bowien told Tasting Table. And after that? If the chef gets his wish, he'll be living out of a suitcase for the Food Network. "My dream scenario would be, I'd love to do a food-based travel show," Bowien said. "That would be amazing." It would be a chance for him to showcase other experts in the industry, á la Guy Fieri. "I love 'Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.' It's one of my favorite television shows," Bowien explained, "because Guy [Fieri] is about to go to these places, connect with people on a really authentic level, get his hands dirty a little bit, get in there with people, but really allow them to like shine.

Don't miss out on Danny Bowien's new cookbook, "Mission Vegan," available for purchase here