David Chang and the Bulleit Speak Easy Series

We’ve done some pretty interesting stuff and met some pretty interesting people in the short time since TVG began, but after a couple of Bulleit Rye whiskeys with Momofuku founder and chef Mr David Chang we decided that we’d had our most interesting experience to date. I’d heard and read that David Chang was a man with an opinion and before I met him I wondered if I’d like him, I have a real appetite for challenging people with an opinion. In saying that it’s rare you meet someone who has an opinion and not a single one that you can fault, everything that Chang said was calculated and thought out. At one point of the night a crowd member asked him what he thought of Masterchef and as I prepared for him to get tucked in he answered, “the reason Australian’s eat so well and have such a keen interest in food is because of shows like Masterchef, so in a way it’s doing good things”, Tom and I just looked at each other and nodded our heads and said “Sure, he’s completely correct”.

To tie everything in Bulleit have just released their new rye whiskey which we had the pleasure of enjoying with David, served neat with a rind of lemon. The rye is so drinkable that I think a bottle will become a permanent feature in my late night quaffing selection. The lemon rind is a simple addition that brings out a lot of delicate flavours in the rye, opening it up to something I didn’t realise bourbon could be. In conjunction with the release Chang has prepared a traditional pickleback to drink with the rye which in its rawest form is just pickled lemons. Why the lemons? Well what else does every barman in the world have lying around? This is a concept true to Chang’s style, creating something better without the need to acquire anything to do it. At the end of the conversation I can’t even gauge if David likes his creation, he says he doesn’t and nor should we because it’s just salt and lemon and vinegar which is disgusting, which makes me confused but also makes me like Chang even more.

David Chang is very humble for a man that founded Sydney’s newest 3 hat restaurant. We asked him about the hats and he said it was nice to be recognised but Momofuku will always strive to be better because the moment you become complacent you are screwed. As I said above, I don’t think I’ve ever listened to someone so intently as I did David Chang and I walked away with a lot of respect for him. I also walked away craving a serious night out on the ryes with him because I think he’d be the perfect addition to any ‘Hangover’ style session.

David Chang’s counterpart at the launch event Andrew Levins (who has just released his highly anticipated cookbook ‘Diner’, and who is equally as charismatic as Mr Chang) will be hosting the Bulleit Speak Easy Series, a string of low-key public nights throughout November that will celebrate the spirit of good conversation in some of Sydney’s most independent small bars.

Visit www.fbiradio.com/speakeasy to find out when, where and how you can have a whiskey and a chat with Levins.

Photos above taken for Lifelounge
Bottle credit: Mike McCune

James is the Founder and Editor of The Versatile Gent.

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