Chef David Chang won Celebrity WWTB a Millionaire, he’s giving it to restaurant workers

Celebrity Chef David Chang became the first celebrity to ever win the million dollars on Who Wants to be a Millionaire. The celebrity contestants always play for charity and this year it’s benefiting frontline workers. Chang gave his million dollar winnings to the Southern Smoke Foundation. Southern Smoke provides crisis relief to hospitality workers and organizations and has distributed $5.8 million both directly to people via their Emergency Relief Fund and to industry organizations since 2015. Jimmy Kimmel stated before Chang answered the million dollar question that every celebrity has walked away before risking it all by this point in the game. Chang decided to take the risk and answered the question, “Who was the first president to have electricity in the White House?” Chang called his friend, ESPN journalist Mina Kimes, for the answer. Here are a few excerpts via CNN:

Chang jumped from his chair when he heard the sound of screams, as writer and director Alan Yang presented a gigantic check on stage. Chang had won.

“Always wanted to hold a giant check on television,” Yang wrote on Twitter, with a photo of him, Chang, Kimmel and the check. “Thanks @MillionaireTV! Asian trivia dream team ftw.”

Chang had always intended on donating the money to the Southern Smoke Foundation, a crisis relief organization for people in the food and beverage industry. If Chang had decided not to answer the question, he would have walked away with roughly $500,000. Instead, he decided to risk it all for the sake of doubling that donation.

“Having a million dollars right now in this moment, is a game changer for many, many families,” Chang says in the video clip of the episode. “And yes, half a million is as well — and I want to say ‘No, just take the money!’ — but I’m not.”

While restaurants and bars were classified by states as essential businesses that could operate on takeout and delivery, many still had to close down during stay-at-home orders. Some businesses found it hard, or economically unfeasible to adopt that model, or had other public health concerns.

“Since the government won’t help out restaurant workers…we have to do what we can to help out,” Chang tweeted on Sunday in a thread about winning on the show.

[From CNN]

I would have lost all my money. I don’t think I have any friends who know such intimate details of American history. I know I don’t. I like the fact that this season was all about social responsibility. The show didn’t have a live studio audience and only allowed the contestant, the host and celebrity guest on the stage to comply with Covid regulations. I really like that they highlighted charities that focus on frontline workers who have been hit the hardest in the pandemic, especially those working in the hospitality industries.

I’ve never watched Millionaire but I love a great trivia show so I may just check it out because the nerd in me demands it. Hopefully the million dollars will go a long way to help hospitality workers who have suffered due to the pandemic. If we flip the Senate in January, Biden and Harris can address the financial strain on American families rather swiftly when they first take office. In the meantime, here’s hoping that we pull through the next few months and our economy rebounds at some point.

Related stories

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

15 Responses to “Chef David Chang won Celebrity WWTB a Millionaire, he’s giving it to restaurant workers”

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. lola says:

    Congrats! And the money goes to a great cause!

    Interesting that he’s the first one to win it. The celebrity version in Germany has easier questions than the normal one so quite a few celebs have won it.

  2. Esmom says:

    Awesome. I heard an interview with Chang not long ago and found him to be an interesting guy. It’s a tough industry, not for the faint of heart, and must be exciting that he’s able to donate to a cause so close to his heart. I hope it helps but the industry has taken an incredibly massive hit. It’s unfortunate that business owners have to rely pretty much solely on private donations to try to survive, but that’s another story.

  3. Astrid says:

    Everything he touches seems to turn to gold. What a champ. Congrats!

  4. Becks1 says:

    We were watching this and I was so nervous on the last question! It was funny bc he called Mina back and she had looked up the answer (to confirm that she was right) so she knew he had won and was so excited.

  5. Cait says:

    What a great gesture! I am a restaurant server, laid off yet again due to COVID…) No unemployment as of yet.

  6. miss shell says:

    Yay for helpers like Chef Chang!

  7. jaylee says:

    Chang is the real deal, I’m a huge fan. He’s so talented. If you ever need a little pick me up go on his IG & watch his baby son try new foods. I also listened to a podcast of his recently & was pleasantly surprised by his earnest, nerdy vibe. It was refreshing because superstar chefs tend to be over the top with the macho bs.

  8. lucy2 says:

    That’s awesome! I would have been too chicken to risk it, but I’m so glad he did.
    Thanks for including the link to the organization too!

  9. Mom2mom says:

    For the phone a friend lifeline, can the friend just Google the answer?

    • Laalaa says:

      As far as I know, he or she can. My friend went on the quiz recently, and had a specific friend on this list for this purpose especially

    • windyriver says:

      If they do, they have to be fast! Mina Kimes did an interview afterwards, said she would have said more, like, “I’m not totally sure”, etc. – but the phone went dead. The friend only has about 30 seconds to answer.

  10. Renee says:

    Chang is such a good person. I was nervous for him taking the risk but am so glad it paid off. He has so much integrity. I’m so glad the charity will benefit from his generosity.

  11. titroflo says:

    I listened to David’s book “Eat A Peach” on audible and it was a wonderful, funny and sometimes heartbreaking telling of his life. Recommended if you like him.

  12. Missjo says:

    He’s a genuinely nice guy, l cut his hair a few years back when he came to open a restaurant in the Casino where l was working at the time

  13. BeanieBean says:

    But what was the answer?! (OK, OK, fine, I’ll google it. For those nerds, like me, who needed to know, it’s Benjamin Harrison.)