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New PBS series: The Mind of a Chef

The chef is David Chang; the producer and narrator is Anthony Bourdain. Here's the NY Times story:


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  1. Sounds intriguing. I'll give it a shot.

    1. I'm excited about it. Tried finding it on my DVR guide today and it showed up but said "no showings available." Never seen that before. Hope it shows up soon.

      8 Replies
      1. re: LulusMom

        Just because PBS makes a show available, it does not mean that individual stations will carry it, or determine when they choose to do so.

        1. re: paulj

          That part I get. Why it would show up on the list of available shows on my DVR but say next to it "no showings available" is the part that confuses me.

          1. re: LulusMom

            I am in Md,DC with 3 or 4 DVR - PBS stations.The show appears on WETA,26 and WETAWORLD 473.The way it's listed is a bit odd here also.
            Currently it shows NEW 1 untitled for 10,November
            OLD 4 titled with some confusion NOODLE
            these have conflicting info when you go to "full information"

            1. re: lcool

              Very odd. I'll try again in a few days - maybe they will have gotten their act together.

          2. re: paulj

            Does anyone know if any of the Los Angeles area PBS stations are carrying it?

            1. re: Delphine

              KOCE, the PBS Orange County outlet is airing it on what seems to be an occasional basis. It was not available last week, not sure about this week.

              1. re: nikkihwood

                It was available and shown last week, but they aired the shows on Saturday night instead of Friday night like previous weeks.

          3. re: LulusMom

            we aren't getting it where I live, our public stations aren't running it. The more I read about it, I was kind of glad. I mean, I'm just not that obsessed with David Chang that I want to see a whole TV series about what he thinks and does.

          4. just did a search and found it.
            the noodle show I'll tape and see how it is.

            3 Replies
            1. re: iL Divo

              didn't like the noodle show.
              I'll set up future taping though to give it a few more tries.

              1. re: iL Divo

                Boy, I sure did. I think I'll start recording it myself. Why didn't you like it?

                1. re: EWSflash

                  EW, really don't remember. It just wasn't my cup of tea or bowl of noodles :)
                  As much as I enjoy cooking shows I do turn them off or turn the channel when I'm bored or disinterested. I suppose this one particular show on noodles was in that category. I'm not fond of Ramen anything so maybe that's why, didn't hold my interest.

            2. I am in Baltimore and it is scheduled to air on Friday at 530pm on 26 WETA

              1. I'm in the Boston area and it seems to be on from 9-11pm on Friday night.

                11 Replies
                1. re: LindaWhit

                  Was able to watch the third and fourth episodes tonight; they were very interesting. It's not really clear to me why Bourdain is narrating but not really there... but I've come to tolerate him over the years.

                  Now I'm wondering if PBS will be sharing any recipes from the show. Lots of the items he made seem very do-able in a home kitchen, and I would love to give some a try. Anyone know where they might be found?

                  1. re: GardenFresh

                    Bourdain and and Chang are friends. They first pitched the show to the networks and the Food Network who all passed.

                    1. re: GardenFresh

                      And I watched the first 3-1/2 shows. Agree, interesting, but I'm not sure if it's enough to hold my interest. But I was interested in the various types of ramen, as it's not something I eat, as well as the various ramen shops in Japan and the method in which the broths are made. Very time consuming. Seeing Chang in his own kitchen making a few dishes was also good. He seems like a fun guy and very well respected.

                      1. re: GardenFresh

                        Which recipe are you interested in? Cacio e Pepe using instant ramen? :) Or his 7 yr old way of eating instant ramen?

                        The Japanese move Tampopo centers around the quest for a perfect ramen.

                        The first segment has a Man v Food quality - the challenge of finishing the large bowl of ramen

                        I looked up tsukemen ramen (Google corrected my spelling
                        Cooking with dog version

                        1. re: paulj

                          So far I'd mostly love the specifics of his Korean burrito from the Memories episode, though I think if I re-watch the episode I can get the basics to work off of (I just didn't write anything down the fist go-through).

                          1. re: GardenFresh

                            The ingredients of the ramen broth recipe match the demonstrated Momofuku version - scaled down.

                            1. re: paulj

                              if you're looking for the recipes for this show, you'll find them by picking up copies of lucky peach magazine.
                              it's my understanding this show is made up of footage originally intended for the lucky peach app, which seems never to have become available.

                              1. re: linus

                                Oh that makes sense. I'll have to see if i can get my hands on a copy then. Thanks.

                                1. re: linus

                                  Yes but one of the noodle recipes in the Lucky Peach was way off so they printed a correction:


                                  Alkaline noodles recipe in LP#1 has an error: 4 teaspoons NOT 4 tablespoons for the baked soda. Apologies to @voyagegourmand & everybody

                            2. re: paulj

                              I finished watching the other 3 episodes online. While moderately interesting (except for the golf segment), I wasn't inspired to look up any other recipes. Kimchi 'salsa'? Pork katsuobushi is a bit beyond me. Well, maybe I should try the plastic wrap eggs, even if I never try 60C eggs. John Besh, on a Splendid Table Key 3 segment, talks about slow cooked fried eggs (starting in a cold pan). That makes a softer white.

                              1. re: paulj

                                I loved "Tampopo" and have watched it several times!

                          2. We don't have a first-tier PBS station here anymore, but the lead second-tier outlet started this tonight.

                            I like it. It makes me think of a filmed version of Lucky Peach magazine. Bourdain's narration is good.

                            Mind you, we're only 20 minutes into the first show.

                            But I like it. So happy we can see it.

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: nikkihwood

                              That's exactly what it was. A filmed version of the Lucky Peach. I like Bourdain. A lot. But I find this show - and the Lucky Peach - to be beyond ridic. So effing reverential about food. About noodles. I hope that Chang and Bourdain are in on the joke and realize that they are just playing the role of idiot food-worshippers. Oh holy ramen! Oh perfection sublime! Elevates us to a different plane of existence! Reverberates through our souls! Makes us more worthy of eternal salvation! We now belong to a higher cult of mortals! Ugh. Spare me. It's food.

                              1. re: Just Visiting

                                I suppose that comment could be made about pretty much any show about food.

                                And that ramen show made me want to climb through the tv...

                                1. re: Just Visiting

                                  Wow!!! Not familiar with the Lucky Peach, but you sure do have a different POV on this show. Not sure an audience would think much of it if the commentary were something like "Here it is. Draw your own conclusions." I think Chang DOES have a kindof Zen-like thing for food, which I can't find much to argue with.

                                  1. re: Just Visiting

                                    LOL! Had the same reaction watching this show. Way over the top. Best segment was when his friend, Aziz Ansari, was approached by a fan who thought he was someone else. I thought Chang was soooo pretentious after his demo. Next!!!

                                2. For a limited time the 1st 4 episodes can be watched online. - at PBS Mind of the Chef.


                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: paulj

                                    Thanks for linking to them. I've watched the Spain, Memory, and Pig episodes. The episodes are kind of loose and relaxed, and there are never recipes (he just makes something and gives an outline of what's happening) but it's fun to watch him/someone else put something together. Kind of a No Reservations feel without as much travel.

                                  2. saw the Noodles and Pork show , as well as the first ten minutes of the Memory show.

                                    I liek ti, its a little different, a lot more challenging mentally. Lots of cool facts and information. Food is definitely front and center with enough of culture and commentary and cleverness to make a nice complete show.

                                    I like it.

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: Phaedrus

                                      It was interesting, but when I watdh cooking show I want to be able to get the recipe. Japan is too far to travel when you are limited.

                                      1. re: sharhamm

                                        The title of the show seems to me that it isn't a cooking show. It is how a chef thinks, which is different from people who just want recipes to follow.

                                        Basically there is the information part of the episode then the segment Chef Chang going into the kitchen and showing you how he uses those ideas, sometimes in an unorthodox way. The concept is how chefs get ideas.

                                        I've liked what I have seen so far

                                        1. re: MVNYC

                                          the how's and why's, very similar to the magazine and well literally "the mind of a chef".

                                          great show.

                                    2. It started on PBS-SoCal last night. DVR'ed it but haven't watched yet.

                                      6 Replies
                                      1. re: Midlife

                                        They seem to have shown 4 episodes on the same evening. First one, about Ramen, was pretty good and interesting to watch...... although I have to say that this formula is getting to be a bit ho-hum. Not that I have any great ideas for alternatives.

                                        1. re: Midlife

                                          I think that has to do with the fact that others had pointed out: the footage was originally filmed to be a part of an app and not necessarily to a TV series.

                                          1. re: Phaedrus

                                            These shows are always filmed in advance, so the 4 show night was probably just to hype the series. Harder to miss if they run 4. Do you think the 'formula' is because it was meant as an app? How's that?

                                            Anyway, IMHO Chang is entertaining and his cooking style is pretty interesting and unique. The characters he works with are pretty Bouirdain-ish but that's a good thing. This show may just be different enough to be popular.

                                            1. re: Midlife

                                              Or PBS made these 4 episodes available to their stations (and online), and your local station decided showing them together was the best fit. I still don't see the show on CreateTV or the Seattle/Tacoma station listings.

                                              The Seattle station often shows it's own 'KCTS cooks' on Saturday afternoons, especially during fundraising times. 2ndary Tacoma KBTC seems to show a subset of Create's offerings.

                                              1. re: Midlife

                                                The "formula" is that they needed a way to turn segments that were intended to be presented in a parallel manner as in an app and then re-organizing them into a sequential or linear way. The segments of cooking as well as the segments with Harold McGee were definitely meant to be background kinds of links for the app. It was meant to be supplemental information. People may never see those segments and they were not meant to be the primary source.

                                                The memories show was probably meant to be a back ground part of the app to give people an idea about David Chang and where he came from and what his background is.

                                                I think they did a pretty nice job re-writing the narrative and editing the disparate segments into cohesive shows. But the way the segments were filmed imposed a structure on the segments and made it inconvenient to re-order into a TV series.

                                                1. re: Phaedrus

                                                  The "formula" I was referring to is the 'chef visits other chef/artisan supplier/winery' formula. But Chang is more interesting than most and his subjects seem to be as well.

                                                  Our local PBS channel showed 4 new shows yesterday. Haven't had time to watch yet. Overall I'm liking this series a lot. For something that was made for another medium (if that's true) it really doesn't seem to be abnormal in any way.

                                        2. They hit up a shop that I visited and posted about six years ago--> http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/347723 ...I enjoyed this episode. Nothing new for me, but I'm happy that Japanese ramen culture is getting some of its' day here in the U.S.

                                          1. Other shows from Zero Point Zero productions (on Travel, Cooking, PBS)

                                            1. The SF Bay Area PBS channel, KQED, is showing this on Saturday morning, as part of their line-up of cooking shows. First episode is Nov 17, 9:30am Pacific time.

                                              1. Speaking of ramen, a Japanese chain is opening their first US shop in the Seattle area
                                                Kukai / Kookai

                                                1. I got my DVR cranked up too late for the first episodes, but they're online here and there as mentioned. "Rene" was a lot of fun, but I had to watch "Rotten" through my fingers. They both present such different (to me) ways of looking at food that I'll likely watch them once or twice more.

                                                  1. I am completely loving this series. I think Chang has a certain kind of brilliance, and getting a peek into how his world works is fascinating. How do you go from a childhood snack of sprinkling a ramen seasoning pack onto noodles and eating the cold move into adult food that people wait in line for hours to eat? Or watching Chefs of the World as a kid to determining how to cook eggs in an infusion bath?

                                                    1. All of the Mind of a Chef episodes (up to the Rene Redzepi episode) are on YouTube, although a few may get taken down since they've been uploaded by a 3rd party.

                                                      1. I really dislike most food TV programming, but I'm quite enjoying this show, having made it through the first 10 episodes.


                                                        1. That Parisian gnocchi recipe really gave Paul Deen a run for her money, didn't it? First he tells us that he can't eat it because of salt and cholesterol. He cooks the noodles in milk. Presumably whole milk. Four egg yolks. Pipes it out into boiling water then rolls it in olive oil and fries it in butter. Then parmesan reggiano. Instead of rolling her eyes and extending the word delicious into 29 syllables, we get a little giggle from Chang.

                                                          1. I watched the Noodle and Memory episodes online. I was very interested in watching David Chang cook, and talk about cooking, and talk to other people about cooking. But I was much, much less interested in watching him eat, or play golf, or hang out in an arcade, or shoot the shit with Peter Meehan. I don't watch much non-fiction tv, precisely because I find it too reliant on this type of filler - the vapid ad-libbing, the pointless repetition. That 23:00 of pretty good could easily have been 15:00 of awesome, and I'm annoyed that it wasn't.

                                                            4 Replies
                                                              1. re: small h

                                                                Those two episodes have an unusual amount of non-food stuff in them. Basically all episodes afterward are entirely food-related. They're up on pbs.org, I'd give it another go. The Rene Redzepi and Egg/Chef episodes are great.

                                                                1. re: lamb_da_calculus

                                                                  I just tried the whirlpool egg. Interesting and good, in its own way. Texture is distinct, though reminiscent of creamy small curd scrambled eggs. I'm sure I'll try it again.

                                                                  A small amount of egg stuck to the pan bottom, so next time I'll use more water. The chef mentioned that without the whirlpool the egg will just settle to the bottom. So don't skimp on the water depth.

                                                                  1. re: lamb_da_calculus

                                                                    I just watched Rotten & Rene, and I found both to be heavy on the wheat and light on the chaff. So thanks for encouraging me to give the series another chance. I wish I hadn't see the death of that 200-year-old clam in Rene, though, as it made me sad. I've killed more than my fair share of clams, and rarely gave it a second thought, but the advanced age of that one got to me.

                                                                2. Gluttony, Simple, and Japan were highlights so far. Although the Joe Beef's double down is ...sick. I'd have to share it with at least 3 more folks. How much does it even cost??

                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                  1. re: linguafood

                                                                    Per a photo on Yelp, it looks to be 21 canadian for an entree size, which doesn't seem unreasonable at all. I wouldn't eat more than a bite though. The guy making it didn't seemed kind of annoyed that there was a market for it.

                                                                    1. re: linguafood

                                                                      i loved that too.

                                                                      didn't like the sort of "edgy" editing/music - too "No Reservations" in some ways, but overall enjoyed the one I've seen so far. I now want to taste really good ramen.

                                                                    2. Anyone know where a Canadian might be able to catch all the episodes?

                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                      1. re: AngelSanctuary

                                                                        Have you tried seeing them online (via PBS Mind of A Chef)?

                                                                      2. I loved the 3 I have seen. I like it that there is more than just cooking. It's the "mind of the chef", so it's fun to get to know said chef a little through the non-kitchen spots. Very entertaining TV, and Chang is charming.

                                                                        1. Liking this show more and more with each episode. Always thought Chang was unique and fascinating. Now I'm sure of it.

                                                                          I like the way he adapts concepts. Even though his food is decidedly Asian, there is plenty that applies to whatever I'm thinking of doing. Much of the fun of cooking, for me anyway, is applying techniques and ingredients from one cuisine to another. You come up with some pretty amazing food that way. It DOES help, though, to have some idea of what you're likely to end up with as you go.

                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                          1. re: Midlife

                                                                            Making gnocchi out of ramen was brilliant.

                                                                          2. Another 4 episodes - "New York", "Fresh", "Soy", and "Sweet Spot" - are up on PBS (at least in the U.S.).

                                                                            1. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TJ64ZW...
                                                                              Harvard Science and Cooking lecture with David Chang

                                                                              1. I subscribed to a year of Lucky Peach, and found it to be equal parts fascinating insider reading and colossal circle jerk. I liked it more than I wanted to. Not sure if they're still publishing or if they are, whether I want to sign on. Does anybody know what they're up to?

                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. re: EWSflash

                                                                                  Issue #5, The Chinatown Issue, just came out in mid-November. They are soliciting for subscription renewals, so I guess they plan to continue publishing it. You can always buy the individual issues, but the cover price is $12.00 vs. the $28/annual 4 issue price.

                                                                                2. for some reason on PBS online, episodes 2, 3, and 4 are missing...

                                                                                  just watched the Rotten episode. Great! i loved seeing how bonita shavings are made. and the kimchi segment was good too, despite that woman's annoying voice. I'm really liking David Chang - he's down-to-earth, real, doesn't seem to be trying to be cool or hip.

                                                                                  just watched the Rene episode - really awesome too. such interesting things he's doing. especially loved the trash dish.

                                                                                  but i too felt sad about the 200 year old clam....

                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                    The full episodes are online for only a limited time. The next set (5&6) are labeled as expiring 12/7

                                                                                    1. re: paulj

                                                                                      ah, got it. thanks. bummer. must hurry.

                                                                                  2. I think Chang is great as a host, and a chef as well, but having watched all episodes thus far I don't think I've ever seen anyone who uses slow-poached eggs as much as he does.

                                                                                    1. For those who can't watch this show, it might be worth buying the DVD. The DVD listing shows two more episodes:
                                                                                      15. David Chang profiles regional BBQ in North Carolina, Texas and Kansas City and the other-worldly smoky bacon from Allen Benton in Tennessee.

                                                                                      16. David Chang cooks and goofs around with his friends Peter Meehan in Japan, Laurent Gras, Sat Bains, and Rene Redzepi in Copenhagen.

                                                                                      7 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: paulj

                                                                                        Has anyone seen these last 2 episodes? Online they have shorts from episodes 1-14, and full episode 1. All the other full episodes have expired.

                                                                                        1. re: paulj

                                                                                          PBS now has clips from episodes 15 and 16 online. Maybe they will put the full episodes online next week.

                                                                                            1. re: lamb_da_calculus

                                                                                              and available for the rest of January

                                                                                              1. re: lamb_da_calculus

                                                                                                full versions? have to check that out as i missed a couple episodes.

                                                                                                1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                  It's only the last two, 15 and 16, that are available in full. Looks like episode 1 is up permanently.

                                                                                        2. Yesterday I saw the Ramen episode and then last night dreamed about making Chicken noodle soup. It was something about the deep color of the chicken stock reduction that made it so inviting.

                                                                                          1. Resurrected to point out that the whole first season (a second one, although not with David Chang, is coming in the fall) is on Amazon streaming. It's free if you have prime.

                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: lamb_da_calculus

                                                                                              The first season is also on Netflix instant streaming.

                                                                                            2. I've watched some of the shows and wonder how David Chang can have gotten his reputation as a chef. Yes, he's opened a bunch of successful restaurants, but if they served the kind of dishes he does in the last segment of this show, who would eat there? The low point was a "Chinese" dish of pork belly simmered in Hawaiian Punch, Starburst candy and strawberry Menthos. The rest of the show, when he visits real chefs making very edible food, is well worth watching.

                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                              1. re: John Francis

                                                                                                I thought it was pretty clever how he made gnocchi out of ramen noodles, and find the show generally one of the more watchable food shows on TV these days.

                                                                                              2. I just started watching this on Netflix, somehow I missed this thread and any mention of the show previously. It's always interesting reading an old discussion about something that's fresh in your mind. Especially when you couldn't disagree more with some people.

                                                                                                I really really like this show, I find it very interesting. I like the look of different foods, the interesting takes on classics, the riffs that Chang does in the kitchen, some simple and some incredibly complex. I don't care that I may never make any of it, I like the insight into the mind of an obviously great chef. And I like Chang a lot, I'd love to hang out with him and sip some whiskey and eat some food.

                                                                                                1. been watching on it Netlfix and re-watching it over and over and over again... basically I love this show. Didn't like the second season with Sean Brock.

                                                                                                  12 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: YAYME

                                                                                                    Our public TV station is running these late and out of order. The one episode I saw so far with Sean I didn't like too much but the one with April Bloomfield was very good.

                                                                                                    1. re: jackiecat

                                                                                                      2nd season was half Sean, and half April. Overall I preferred April. But for me it was more a matter of content than personal style.

                                                                                                      1. re: paulj

                                                                                                        Myself I liked Sean Brock's country take on things, particularly the heirloom beans episode, but that's one of the good things about this movable host concept.

                                                                                                        1. re: paulj

                                                                                                          I felt the same way. Sean Brock is clearly very serious about representing southern food in a positive and thoughtful light, and I can respect that but after a few episodes it got kind of old. I never saw his Senegal episode though.

                                                                                                          April's half felt more like the first season with Chang, where it's really just "here's some thing and here are a bunch of people who know about that thing, now let's watch them do something with that thing".

                                                                                                          I'm really excited about Season 3. The two chefs are going to be Edward Lee and Magnus Nilsson. Lee I've never heard of but given the show's track record I'm optimistic. With Nilsson I actually read the Faviken (his restaurant) cookbook last summer and can't wait to see what he does, especially given how hyper-local and traditional much of his cooking is.

                                                                                                          1. re: lamb_da_calculus

                                                                                                            Edward Lee was featured on The Splendid Table

                                                                                                            I hadn't heard of Nilsson. Sounds like he's another excuse for Bourdain to visit René Redzepi in Copenhagen.


                                                                                                            1. re: paulj

                                                                                                              He's also been on at least one episode of MoaC, but I can't remember what he did or who with. And of course he was a contestant on everyone's favorite Top Chef: Texas.

                                                                                                              1. re: ennuisans

                                                                                                                From Wiki, Season 2 of MoaC
                                                                                                                3 "Rice" September 21, 2013
                                                                                                                This episode is all about rice and its role in Southern cuisine. Sean visits Anson Mills to see where they grow and mill Carolina Gold rice. In the fields at Anson Mills, Sean and Glen prepare an Appalachian classic, perlou. And in Nashville, Sean makes Hoppin’ John and Chef Ed Lee shows Sean how to make Korean BBQ.

                                                                                                                Season 3 press release

                                                                                                                1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                  He was on an earlier episode, one from Season 1 (as I haven't seen any of season 2), it was one involving bourbon, but he didn't really do anything, he was just there.

                                                                                                            2. re: lamb_da_calculus

                                                                                                              Looks like we're getting the premiere of Season 3 this Saturday afternoon. Check those listings!

                                                                                                              1. re: ennuisans

                                                                                                                I'm stoked for season 3. This is pretty much the only food show on TV that I think is worth watching. I liked season 1 better but season 2 is great too. I've watched both seasons like 3 times now, great stuff.
                                                                                                                I hope it's not sponsored by Breville again. Nothing against their products but they are clearly inferior to the commercial products in the restaurant kitchens. Season 2 had so much product placement it got kind of annoying.

                                                                                                            3. re: paulj

                                                                                                              i liked april bloomfield more than sean brock. but i agree with paulj, sean brock's foods did not interest me while i want to make everything april bloomfield made.

                                                                                                            4. re: jackiecat

                                                                                                              I just finished Season 2 on Netflix and I have to say I have really enjoyed watching this series. Sean Brock was a bit of a goof ball but I liked him cooking with his mom and the trip to Senegal. And roasting the Ossabaw hog with the pitmaster guy in the rain. Loved the woman who raises those pigs - very matter-a-fact about loving her hogs and eating them too.

                                                                                                          2. season 2, episodes 9 and forward, april bloom.
                                                                                                            i made her clam chowder. i followed her verbal recipe from the show, since the one by bittman and april from NYTimes did not follow what was shown on the mind of a chef.
                                                                                                            it was delicious. it was a "wow" dish.