In the documentary series Mind of a Chef, David Chang of the Momofuku empire gave viewers a glimpse inside his brain to understand his process for creating cuisine. The show also traveled around the world with him to see how he and his fellow chefs share techniques and inspire each other. Now he’s pulling the lens back a little further, creating a show in which he’s not just exploring what’s on the plate and inside a chef’s heads—he’s digging into the intersection of food and culture, and inviting some famous friends to join him on the ride.
Netflix has just announced that Chang and Academy Award-winning director Morgan Neville (20 Feet from Stardom) are partnering to create the eight-episode series Ugly Delicious, which will premiere on February 23. There will be plenty of chefs from Rene Redzepi, to Ray Garcia, to Edouardo Jordan, to Justin Yu, to Nina Compton, and many more. He’ll also talk food culture with celebs like Eric Wareheim, Jimmy Kimmel, and Ali Wong as well to discuss how food breaks down cultural barriers.
“Food is something we all have in common. It’s an essential part of who we are and how we create connections across cultures,” Chang says. “In that spirit, we brought together some of the people we admire most to make Ugly Delicious a collaborative forum, a place where it’s okay to have strong opinions and honest conversations about food.”
Chang has long used the phrase “Ugly delicious” on social media, especially Instagram, when he’s highlighting dishes that aren’t not made for social media sharing. It’s his way of saying that he wants to celebrate flavor and not just rainbow bagels. He’s turned into an ethos that has guided him as he’s explored the less glamorous aspects of the food world, and this documentary project is about that as well. They won’t just be filming at three-Michelin-star restaurants, he’ll head to mom and pop places outside of New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco to understand culture, the immigrant experience, and how food plays a vital role in both.
And if the teaser Netflix released today of the conversation between Wong and Chang about Yelp is any indication, the show will be pretty funny too.