The Chef and the Critic

The Chef and the Critic:

We’re hoping to succeed; we’re okay with failure. We just don’t want to land in between. The app idea, which came first, was a way we were hoping to make TV without going through all the TV hoops. The magazine came later. Of course you want your peers and the public to engage with something like this, but I don’t have any idea of who the people are or what they really think of it. I’m always prepared for people to be like, “This is just f—ing too ridiculous,” and then it will all be over.

[snip -Ed.]

The first audience I think about is us: Can we make something we don’t hate? Then it’s my friends: Can I create something they will think is cool even though they have to listen to me bitch all the time? Then it’s people out in the world. And my secret hope is that a certain aspect of the magazine leads them down an unexpected alley—reading more Junichiro Tanizaki, or chasing down a Bill Orcutt record, or seeking out Kay & Ray’s potato chips.

I think Dave is incapable of stopping himself from following ideas that interest him. He doesn’t have a brand he’s worried about; he’s not worried about a message; he’s not interested in trying to create something that’s going to be a blockbuster. Failure is an option, but only when you’ve done something that says, “This is the most honest thing we can put out there.” So that allows us to make it as weird as we want because we believe in what we’re doing.

I can’t speak to how he runs his businesses, but he has just scores and scores of talented people, and he is creating scenarios where they run this restaurant and this restaurant—Dave Chang is not the chef of it. I’m probably in a much more stoney-baloney sort of way into that idea, but, also just creatively, that’s exciting to me. You find people and let them really go out on their own with it and then shape it as much as it needs to land on its feet.

[The bold bits (added by myself) are a model I’ve followed for years.]

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