Are you going to eat that?

This week, New York magazine has a profile of Manhattan restauranteur David Chang. The header has the usual “radical chef” to “unlikely star” stuff...

This week, New York magazine has a profile of Manhattan restauranteur David Chang. The header has the usual “radical chef” to “unlikely star” stuff that you would see in an article about, say, Gordon Ramsey or Mario Batali. But there are two really interesting things about this story.

The first is the accompanying full page photograph of Chang cradling a dead pig. Not a disemboweled pig that would normally be hanging from a meat hook. Here, the only way you can tell the pig isn't alive is the purple FDA stamp on the back of its neck. Many people are quickly turned off when their food looks similar to the living thing it once was. Here’s a chef gently holding in his arms that which he plans to serve you. It’s a risky picture that works, if in an eerie way.

The second is the article itself, which dwells on the failure of Chang’s newest restaurant. His first, Momofuku Noodle Bar, a ramen restaurant, has been a smash. The second, Momofuku Ssäm Bar, an Asian burrito joint that goes from daytime cafeteria to nighttime “scene”, has suffered from poor judgment and customer confusion. Basically, Chang submitted to an article that would highlight his shortcomings. The story is a good move for a business in crisis. By letting a popular magazine take a few paragraphs to explain the concept of Momofuku Ssäm, Chang has taken a big step towards erasing some of that early confusion. And the story will make people curious enough to want to visit either restaurant. There's still hope for Momofuku Ssäm.

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