David Chang

The chef/owner of NYC's trendiest restaurants, including Momofuku Noodle Bar, Má Pêche, and Milk Bar.

Unlike a number of his contemporaries, Chang hasn't been cooking since childhood: he entered the culinary world at 23, first working at Mercer Kitchen and then answering phones at Tom Colicchio's restaurant, Craft. After a stint working at a soba shop in Japan, Chang made his way back to the U.S. and, in 2004, opened his first restaurant, Momofuku Noodle Bar. He opened his second restaurant, Momofuku Ssäm Bar in 2006 opened his third, most exclusive spot Momofuku Ko just two years later. Ko's limited seating (12 seats) combined with its reservation policy (six days in advance, online only, on a first-come-first-served basis) have made it exclusive and, consequently, wildly popular. Milk Bar is Chang's venture into desserts: Crack Pie, Cereal Milk, and Compost Cookies are now trademarked products.

Chang's restaurants aren't wildly popular without reason: Ko has achieved two of three Michelin Stars three years running. Altogether Chang and his string of restaurants have received seven James Beard Award nominations. If a trip to one of the restaurants isn't in the cards for you, don't despair: you can attempt to recreate the magic at home with recipes from Chang's 2009 cookbook, Momofuku, or his magazine, Lucky Peach. [Image via Getty]