October 3, 2023


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A single of Momofuku’s Major Chefs Is Leaving the Restaurant Team

A person of Momofuku’s top stars and a single of the several girls to be named an executive chef at the acclaimed cafe team is leaving. Chef Eunjo Park, widely known for launching the instantaneous strike Kāwi in Hudson Yards, is departing the company 4 months following having about the Ssäm Bar reboot at the South Street Seaport. She will be replaced by present-day Noodle Bar at Columbus Circle chef de delicacies Kris Brumsted, Momofuku has verified. Park’s final provider at Ssäm Bar is Saturday, September 4.

“We’re unfortunate to validate that chef Eunjo Park is leaving Momofuku,” a enterprise spokesperson reported in an emailed statement. “Jo has been a pressure at Momofuku, from her times at Ko to opening Kāwi to having more than Ssäm Bar. She is getting time to care for herself physically and mentally. The very well-being of our cooks is most vital to us and we help her entirely.”

Park is a celebrated chef liable for spearheading the brief-lived but critically acclaimed present day Korean place Momofuku Kāwi at Hudson Yards. The restaurant, which opened 10 months prior to the pandemic strike, was declared “a vivid location in the mall’s normally bleak dining landscape” by Eater critic Ryan Sutton, although New York Periods restaurant critic Pete Wells showered praise on the restaurant in an early two-star critique. Formerly, Park had invested time cooking in other top rated fine eating spots including Momofuku Ko and For each Se in New York and Gaon in Seoul, South Korea. Park did not return requests for comment for this tale.

In the midst of the pandemic, Kāwi stayed dark for more than a calendar year — like a lot of of Hudson Yards’ places to eat — prior to shuttering for great previous March. Momofuku then announced that Park would be moving on to lead the kitchen area at Ssäm Bar, a single of the cafe group’s early crown jewels, which was relocating from its authentic East Village location to the swanky South Avenue Seaport growth.

Outdoor tables sit nearby the East River at Momofuku Ssam Bar

The new Ssäm Bar at the South Street Seaport
Adrian Gaut/Momofuku

The reboot, which opened in April, has not been off to a clean start out. The restaurant — recognized for its brash and bold lineup of smaller plates and a rollicking bo ssam — was a shell of its previous self in its new, shopping mall-esque spot, Eater critic Sutton discovered this summer. Park experienced opened Ssäm Bar with inventive kimbaps and rice cakes, both of those of which earned her acclaim at Kāwi, but the dishes possibly disappeared off the menu or fell flat at the new area. Park had to scrap the kimbaps thanks to staffing shortages, and replaced them with goods that missed the mark, together with a “flavorless” beef tartare that was “like feeding on absolutely nothing wrapped in herbs for $29,” Sutton wrote. The rice cakes, initially available in many preparations, ended up whittled down to just one $48 truffled cacio e pepe possibility likened to “a tasty but middle-of-the-highway mac and cheese” whilst the popcorn shrimp “appear to be cribbed from a community Tao.” (The cacio e pepe rice cakes are now $32, according to the restaurant’s most up-to-date menu.)

A Momofuku agent told Eater at the time of the overview in July that the cafe was nonetheless evolving, and would incorporate again extra dishes after extra staffers were being employed. They also plan to launch tabletop grilling and place much more vegetarian possibilities on the menu.

Ssäm Bar is not the only restaurant weathering modifications in the Momofuku empire. Veteran Ko chef Sean Alex Grey still left the extended-working tasting menu restaurant in May perhaps after over a ten years and was changed by incoming govt chef Esther Ha, who previously worked as the restaurant for four decades. Celebrated Sydney cafe Momofuku Seiobo, helmed by praised chef Paul Carmichael, shut in June. A lot of of the company’s fried hen chain Fuku’s actual physical places are not open up in NYC — with the exception of a shop in Hudson Yards — and the manufacturer now operates practically exclusively out of delivery-only ghost kitchens. Founder David Chang was embroiled in his possess controversy as staffers ended up calling out toxic place of work conduct in kitchens across the state through the pandemic.

As Park departs, former Noodle Bar chef de delicacies Brumsted has been mounted as the upcoming leader of the restaurant. Brumsted is a Momofuku veteran prior to his stint at the Columbus Circle Noodle Bar, he was the chef de delicacies at Momofuku’s five-12 months-previous D.C. cafe, the lauded CCDC, which shut down permanently in Might 2020.

“We’re enthusiastic that chef Kris Brumsted is taking over the kitchen at Ssäm Bar,” the enterprise spokesperson mentioned. “He’s been with us since day a single at Momofuku CCDC and moved to New York to operate the kitchen area at Noodle Bar Uptown. In his new position, he’ll be operating carefully with former Ssäm Bar executive chef and present Momofuku culinary director Max Ng to condition the long run of the menu.”

Update, 4:45 p.m.: Because of to an error in information and facts disclosed by Momofuku, an previously model of this story determined Eunjo Park as the initial woman to guide a cafe with the business. That is incorrect. That designation, according to the company spokesperson, goes to Paula Navarrete, previously the government chef at Momofuku Kojin and Momofuku Daisho in Toronto. Eater regrets the mistake.

Disclosure: David Chang is manufacturing displays for Hulu in partnership with Vox Media Studios, section of Eater’s mum or dad enterprise, Vox Media. No Eater staff member is associated in the output of people displays, and this does not effects coverage on Eater.