David Chang, chef of New York City’s famed Momofuku, toured the globe for his upcoming Netflix series Ugly Delicious to give viewers a new perspective on global cuisines. Joining him were guests like Gillian Jacobs, Nick Kroll, Wolfgang Puck and Aziz Ansari (who lived out a real-life version of the fictionalized food travel show his character pitched on Master of None.
But it’s late-night host Jimmy Kimmel who Chang thinks will truly surprise people with his culinary appreciation. “I don’t think people realize that Jimmy is like a really amazing amateur home cook,” the James Beard award winner, 40, tells PEOPLE. “He’s a real gourmand, as I like to say. He appreciates good food, and not just fancy stuff — anything and everything that’s tasty.”
Kimmel — who often shared pictures of themed pancakes he prepares for his daughter Jane, 3 — accompanied Chang with tasting some fire-cooked meats in the barbecue episode. “Getting to cook for Jimmy is something that’s super cool,” Chang says. “I was just so happy he participated.”
A post shared by Jimmy Kimmel (@jimmykimmel) on Oct 26, 2017 at 7:46am PDT
Other stops included Copenhagen, Tokyo, and Houston, which Chang calls “one of the better food cities in America.”
“I’m pretty bullish on Houston,” he says. “The food there is tremendous.”
Chang’s childhood in Virginia, though, gave him a different perspective on food that eventually encouraged the eight-episode series.
“Growing up as a Korean-American, so much of the food that I grew up eating was something I was embarrassed about or didn’t think was cool,” the restaurateur says. “A lot of the food these days that’s being covered is glossy, or tells only one kind of story. And now what I realize is that all the food I really like to eat is not really pretty from a certain viewpoint.”
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So what does Chang think of food bloggers who make a living off of posting glamorized dishes?
“Anything that increases food awareness is a good thing,” he says. “It’s important to show pretty food because a lot of food is certainly pretty. But I think that the conversation that we’re trying to talk about is what’s pretty to one culture might be ugly to another. Beauty’s in the eye of the beholder for sure.”
All eight episodes of Ugly Delicious will be available on Netflix Friday, Feb. 23.