“When someone doesn’t like tofu or they feel like that it’s gross, I immediately assume that they’re some hardcore neo-conservative,” says David Chang, the chef and owner of the Momofuku restaurant group. Chang makes that provocative statement partway through the soy episode of The Mind of a Chef, a new PBS food and travel series produced and narrated by Anthony Bourdain.
Unlike many of the modern cooking shows, this one is punctuated by jokes (Chang says fart twice in this episode), profanity, and traditional as well as innovative cooking techniques. There is no loud screaming or overly staged dramatic situations. It’s as if you’re hanging out with Chang. The shows are smart.
I was planning to post a Burmese tofu recipe when I read a tweet from Xena N (@bowlfulofcomfor) about the segment. I stopped what I was doing and watched. In 23 minutes, the soy episode of The Mind of a Chef touches on a whole host of issues related to food, culture, and society.
At the core, Bourdain and Chang say to viewers: Don’t think of tofu and miso simply as what vegetarians order instead of a steak. They are more than that. Here’s the full episode, available until December 22, 2012 on PBS.org: