Since opening his first restaurant in Manhattan’s East Village in 2004, Korean-American chef David Chang has built a global food empire celebrated for popularizing modern Asian cuisine, and won the prestigious James Beard Award a total of seven times. He also authored the New York Times bestselling cookbook Momofuku, and shot to superstardom as the creator, producer and host of the hit Netflix series Ugly Delicious – a documentary-style show that explores culinary history and culture around the globe.

While promoting his much-anticipated 2020 memoir Eat a Peach – which pulls back the curtain on his lifelong struggles with anxiety and depression – Chang sat down with the Daily Beast to discuss some of the books he recommends to aspiring chefs. From Michael Pollan’s mind-bending chronicle of psychedelics to famous French chef Bernard Loiseau’s rise and fall, check out his reading list below. For more celebrity chef faves, dip into the bookshelves of Anthony Bourdain, Chrissy Teigen, Julia Child and Nigella Lawson.

David Chang’s Reading List

How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan

“One of my favorite books is by Michael Pollan. Everyone thinks about Omnivore’s Dilemma, but what makes How to Change Your Mind so amazing is I would literally say Michael Pollan is one of the last people I’d expect to be tripping balls and then writing the most insane book about all of the positive and medical benefits of psychedelics and the history behind them. I mean I love that almost more than the contents of the book, which are amazing in itself. But it’s worth buying if you want to read his descriptions of hallucinogenic experiences because those are never captured well in film, but Pollen’s real straight-laced sort of Hunter S. Thompson’s style really does it justice.” -DC

Our Lady of Perpetual Hunger by Lisa Donovan

“An eye-opener for me…She’s a world-class pastry chef and a real writer, like a real fucking writer and it’s an extraordinary book about her life and the trials of being a woman in the industry, being in the south, and being a mother, and all of the issues she has to overcome.” -DC

On Food and Cooking by Harold McGee

“Another book that I tell everyone to own and read…which is less about recipes per se and more about the science and philosophy of food. But I mean, it’s basically required reading for anyone who wants to cook seriously.” -DC

The Perfectionist: Life and Death in Haute Cuisine by Rudolph Chelminski

The Perfectionist: Life and Death in Haute Cuisine is a good book because it covers modern French gastronomy from its inception and covers the madness of this man obsessed with perfection. He gets three Michelin stars, and then loses one, and it ends with him killing himself.  I think it’s a really good book if you want information on how competitive the restaurant industry is but it’s not like an amazing read.” -DC

Wagnerism by Alex Ross

“The book I’m reading now is Wagnerism by The New Yorker’s music critic, Alex Ross, who also wrote The Rest Is Noise, which is amazing and if you haven’t read that you should check it out.” -DC

(via The Daily Beast)

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