Chef David Chang: ‘My passion for microwave cooking only continues to grow’

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Chef David Chang, the winner of Celebrity Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, made a controversial claim recently. He loves using his microwave to make quick meals. David will be hosting a cooking class this month for American Express’s Membership Week. The class will teach participants how to make a few of Chang’s favorite dishes from his Majordomo and Bang restaurants. In an interview with People, Chang said that he likes the simplicity of the microwave to make healthy food. He especially enjoys nuking potatoes to save time making mashed potatoes. Below are a few more details from People:

“When cooking at home, I really believe that simplicity is key,” Chang, 43, tells PEOPLE. “The microwave is really future technology, and I love how simple and healthy microwave cooking can be.”

He will demonstrate the technique — along with many others — during an upcoming virtual cooking class with American Express.

As part of their first-ever “Membership Week” from June 14-18, Chang and author Chris Ying will lead the class, where they’ll walk participants through how to make some of Chang’s favorite dishes from his Majordōmo and Bāng Bar restaurants. (There will also be a virtual performance by SZA and more benefits for cardholders during Membership Week.)

“Cooking potatoes in the microwave isn’t just faster since I don’t have to wait for a pot of water to boil, but the potatoes are actually more delicious since they don’t lose any flavor to the water,” he tells PEOPLE. “Once the potatoes are cooked, it’s easy to mash them and season to my liking.”

Although Chang is a “longtime fan of the microwave,” recently he’s found himself utilizing it more often.

“My passion for microwave cooking only continues to grow,” adds the chef. “It’s been fun sharing recipes and techniques with others through social media, and, soon, as part of one of the culinary experiences with Momofuku exclusively for American Express Card Members.”

Chang also recently launched Anyday, a new line of microwave cookware. “The Anyday Dish was designed specifically for microwave cooking and is now indispensable in my kitchen,” he says.

[From People]

Like ya’ll I am aghast. A CHEF using the microwave? Like really? First of all I am a child of the 80s and the only thing I keep think as I read this article is how much this man is going to glow like a worm. I know I am a snob but I really don’t use the microwave, not even for popcorn. I just feel that the microwave nukes the flavor out of food. I know Chang says differently but that has not been my experience. The fact that Chang is releasing a line of microwave cookware tells me he is really serious about getting people to use their microwaves more often.

I prefer conventional methods like the stovetop and oven. I stopped using my microwave over a decade ago because I wanted to take my time cooking, savoring the experience. I was gaining a crap ton of weight and realized I was no longer tasting my food. So banning the use of the microwave was my way of forcing myself to slow down. I carved out time in my busy schedule of two jobs and pursuing my Master’s degree. I do understand many people truly feel they don’t have time to slow down so they use the microwave often. In which case, I think following Chang’s advice may help them find some healthier alternatives.

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32 Responses to “Chef David Chang: ‘My passion for microwave cooking only continues to grow’”

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  1. Southern Fried says:

    David Chang fan here. I’ll watch to get new ideas but I have begun utilizing my microwave more recently, mostly vegetables. As he says it’s quick and tastes great.

  2. Lauren says:

    The only thing I use my microwave for is steaming veggies when in a hurry and heating some leftovers. I would totally use it for cooking though if I had any idea of what to cook in a microwave. I don’t often buy ready-to-heat food, I enjoy cooking a bit too much just have no idea how to do it with a microwave.

  3. SarahCS says:

    I steam vegetables in my microwave for pretty much every meal. I have a great microwave rice cooker too but my favourite is making porridge in it every morning on a lower power setting so it has 10 minutes cooking time (while I put on my make up) and then stir and cook for 2 minutes more and so creamy and delicious.

    I use my microwave pretty much daily alongside the stove top and other things and I wouldn’t be without it. I’m also a big fan of cooking big pots of things like curries and then I can re-heat easily.

  4. manda says:

    I don’t really use the microwave either, and pretty much for the same reasons, because i feel like it ruins food. Eww, in the 80s, they really tried to push people to cook their food in the microwave, like meat too. Blech!!!!! I would never. But I also never steam veggies in there, and pretty much use for reheating, and even then I prefer the stove. However, I will point out that I also have no idea how to really use it as far as adjusting the power level or any of the set buttons, and I’m betting that makes a difference.

    ETA: yes, I make oatmeal in the microwave, had forgotten about that. I put in a bunch of water and let it go like 3 or 4 minutes, and it comes out the way I like it

  5. Christa says:

    Lol. I love this. I work long hours so don’t have much time for cooking. Bring it on David Change. Btw, the Purple Carrot frozen meals which Target carries are so good. I am so happy vegans and vegetarians have more choices these days

    • Betsy says:

      David Chang has a whole line of microwave cookware, I’m pretty sure – there are recipes and all, too. I’m in a no-income situation right now so I haven’t bought, but I might.

    • Christine says:

      Thank you for the tip, I hadn’t heard of them.

  6. Nancy says:

    Microwave vegetable steamer here too! I also use it to “jump start” potatoes for breakfast home fries. I partially cook them in the microwave then dice and finish frying in a cast iron skillet. And after much experimentation I also use it to defrost things I’ve forgotten to take out of my freezer before work.

  7. sa says:

    I use my microwave a lot. Sometimes it’s for convenience, but there are also foods I think taste better when cooked in the microwave. For example, I always use my microwave for sweet potatoes, the consistency is different than if you make it in the oven and I prefer it (but weirdly for regular baked potatoes the consistency is better from the oven).

  8. faithmobile says:

    David Chang is one of my celebrity chef crushes, so needless to say i’m pondering bringing potatoes down to our basement microwave(because it doesn’t deserve to be in the kitchen). I often boil my potatoes in milk or chicken stock for mashed potatoes, I never use plain water for cooking.

  9. Willow says:

    Number 1 best use for the microwave: keeping food safe from the counter surfing cat.

    • Christine says:

      LMAO!!! It’s also useful in my house, I hide all the good stuff from my 11 year old in the microwave.

  10. mellie says:

    I’m a child of the 80′s too and I remember when we got our first microwave, it was HUGE. It came with all these different pans (roaster, loaf pan, muffin pan) etc…and my mom used the muffin pan to make blueberry muffins in the microwave. They came out all pasty white and chewy, blech…terrible.

  11. Esmom says:

    Chang is an interesting guy, I recently heard an interview with him that was fascinating. Lots of good insights and I don’t disagree that the microwave makes it easy to cook healthy, which for me primarily means steaming veggies. It never occurred to me to steam potatoes for mashing versus boiling them.

    I lived for a long time without a microwave and was fine. My sister hasn’t had a functional one in 10 years and she and her family are fine. It’s not necessary. I am renovating a new place and our kitchen is tiny and was tempted for a minute to not put a microwave in. But that feels radical now, lol, a microwave feels almost as standard as a range/fridge/dishwasher. So I think we will have one tucked away in a corner.

  12. Golly Gee says:

    I love the quick convenience of the microwave, and I use it a lot. It’s probably also more economical for electrical use than an oven and it doesn’t create as much humidity as stove top boiling. But I would like to see some serious studies about whether microwaving affects the nutritional value of vegetables, and whether eating nuked food affects our health.
    Also wondering which came first, Chang’s idea to put out a microwave cooking line or his enthusiasm for microwave cooking.

  13. Ellen says:

    Total Chang fan here. I have the Anyday cookware set and it is spectacular. It’s not cheap but it makes a huge difference. I’m leaning to love my microwave again!

  14. goofpuff says:

    I use it often to precook the potatoes before heating them up in the oven. Nowadays with the instant pot I use that more to steam veggies but before it was a godsend to a (still) busy mom of 3 under 5 a few years ago.

  15. upstatediva says:

    I have watched a lot of his cooking using his microwave. He has a little kid, and a lot of the videos feature making a quick lunch for Hugo. At the end of a long day, I am into some quick fixes (for things that don’t need a good crisping!!)

  16. Ari says:

    I love using the microwave and I use it daily. I also love my crock pot and my pots and pans and just cooking in general. You will not end up glowing like a worm LOL I am a child of the 80s also and I make a lot of food that will last a good 3-4 days so re-heating it in the microwave is ideal unless I use my convection oven to crisp up things a bit. One thing I do love the most about the microwave is to cook beans quickly after dumping all ingredients into a glass bowl. I am not a fan of plastic cooking in the microwave, I will say that at least.

    • Christine says:

      I am with you, I was born in 1974, and my Mom microwaved chicken with saran wrap on top of it in the microwave all the time, and my twin brothers and I are still alive at 46 and 45. I don’t do plastic in the microwave, which feels slightly absurd, since I’m not dead, but I apparently have different priorities for my child than I have for myself, even though I am not remotely unwell.

      The CDC should probably look into me and my fellow GenXers, we were raised on microwaved plastic and marshmallow fluff. And Pot Tarts, and grape soda. And ramen.

  17. CV says:

    HUGE David Chang fan. He actually did a microwave chicken (!!) recipe that I tried and it was legit amazing. He is the real deal. Might have to buy that dish too :)

  18. Zantasia says:

    Microwaved eggs—never again.

    • Hannah Young says:

      Koreans like steamed eggs and it’s one of few things I microwave. My husband & kid don’t like them, so anytime I bake something that needs a little egg wash, I’ll microwave the leftover egg wash. You can eat it plain, add a little salt & pepper, cheese, add ham scraps with some scallions or whatever vegetable trimming/leftover you have on hand. Once you get the power/time down, it’s silky, fluffy eggs in less than 2 minutes. No need to add butter or oil.

  19. Adream says:

    Around the world people are living in homes that dont have ovens because of space, economics or the heat of the weather. In many small apartments or homes, having a single plug in burner and a microwave are the only cooking options. Or think of students or travelers who only have access to a shared
    microwave. I think it’s great to teach cooking skills that employ these methods

  20. detritus says:

    So it’s a plug for his cookware line LOL

    Without reading his recipes my guess is that he will use it only for dishes that can be steamed or boiled.

    Microwaving doesn’t create Maillard reactions or lend itself well to textural differences so it is limited in certain ways.

  21. JanetDR says:

    I use the microwave at work for reheating my lunch in cold weather but very little at home. I was at a Susun Weed workshop many years ago (herbalist and wise woman) when someone asked about microwaves and she said that it killed the spiritual essence of food.

  22. victoria says:

    i have ADHD and am also managing depression/anxiety and even though i enjoy cooking when i have the metaphorical spoons to do so, most of the time i don’t. if i couldn’t microwave food, there are many, many days where i would not eat anything but cereal and whatever else i have around that doesn’t require cooking. and that would be way less healthy than microwaving. i’m glad there’s a chef out there who is recognizing the value of the microwave as a tool, and i think it’s kind of rude/ableist to act like it’s inherently bad to cook in a microwave.

    • Christine says:

      I know I’m being awkward, but your comment really resonates with me, because I was you, not that long ago. I understand, and if you ever need to talk, I am here.

  23. Christine says:

    So, he is my definition of Food God. I am with him. There are so many things you can give a nudge in the microwave, and then finish in the oven, or on the stove, in less time. The easy example is baked potatoes, but it really expands from there. I am a person who only used my microwave for reheating coffee and tea, and cooking microwave oatmeal, prior to my renaissance!

    *disclaimer* there is no protein I will ever accept, out of a microwave

  24. StrawberryBlonde says:

    I really like David Chang. Also, our sons are only 2 days apart in age. Hugo is adorable!

    I use the microwave daily. I batch cook on the weekend and reheat in the microwave. I don’t have time to cook a new meal every day, or the desire, and reheating on the stove or in the oven takes too much time for me.