Pint-sized foodie and Govans resident Nolan Morrison has been a fan of David Chang for most of his 10 years, so when he headed to the celebrity chef’s Momofuku CCDC in Washington D.C. for a seafood boil event celebrating the opening of the restaurant’s patio last week, he had high hopes of meeting the James Beard Award-winner.
“I knew that he was going to be there, because they had posted that he was going to be there,” says Nolan who reviews restaurants on YouTube. (His moniker is “food dude.”)
After spotting Chang in the restaurant, Nolan wanted to memorialize the moment. “I saw him eating a sandwich and I was like, ‘I want a picture with him,’” recalls Nolan, who attends St. Pius X School in Baltimore.
The hostess asked Chang if he would be willing to pose with the young fan, and Morrison was the first to have a photo-op with the chef, who knelt beside the beaming fourth-grader.
Later, while seated on the patio with his parents, Nolan watched as Chang checked on the other event attendees. At one point, recalls Nolan’s mom, Juliet Ames, “Nolan yelled, ‘David!’ across the patio. When he came over, Nolan just said, ‘Thank you so much for everything.’”
For his part, Nolan says, “I would have been happy with him just posing in a picture with me, but the restaurant kept giving us food and he saw me having the best time, then he asked, ‘Can I take a picture of you eating for my video?’”
In the video, Nolan sits in front of a platter of mussels, clams, and crawfish and pulls apart a shrimp like a pro, which, he says, “David put his own twist on” with a variety of unusual dipping sauces such as lemongrass curry and Sichuan chili butter.
Chang can be heard off camera asking him, “What’s up man?”—to which Nolan responds, “’Nothing much, I’m just eating all of this good food.’” “You’ve got to come back all the time,” says Chang. “Yeah, I always will,” says a smiling Nolan.
Nolan says that Chang couldn’t have been friendlier. “He told me I had a good palate,” he says, “and we talked about his fried chicken and caviar dish at [the Momofuku] in New York and how that was my dream dish.”
Chang even handed the foodie fan his own phone to get his contact information.
Within hours of posting his celebrity moment and getting tagged by Chang, Nolan gained 100 followers on Instagram and an additional 400 as last week wore on. (“I had 20 followers before that,” he says with a laugh.) To date, on Chang’s Instagram page alone, there have been more than 291,500 views. “This kid is living his best life,” wrote Chang on his Instagram account.
Meeting Chang, he says, has been a total highlight.
“It was one of the best days of my life. It was a great experience. Everyone should be able to have the experience of meeting someone they’ve always wanted to meet.”