Celebrity chef David Chang, founder of the successful restaurant brand Momofuku, is a force to be reckoned with in the culinary world, but he’s also pretty smart on many other fronts.
Momofuku means lucky peach, and luck was certainly with Chang when he sank his teeth into the jackpot on last week’s episode of ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?’
Winning a million dollars can be the most exciting thing in life and Chang was certainly in awe that he beat the odds, but even more exciting was the prospect of how all that money would be spent.
That’s because no matter what he earned on the show, Chang had already earmarked his earnings to go to a charity that is near and dear to his heart: the Southern Smoke Foundation, an emergency relief fund for people in the food and beverage industry.
According to its website, to date, the Southern Smoke Foundation has “distributed more than $ 5.7 million, both directly to people in need through the Emergency Relief Fund and to organizations representing the needs of people in our industry. ”.
While Southern Smoke was established in 2017, the devastating impact of COVID-19 on restaurants, bars, and caterers in 2020 has made the need for intervention in the financial crisis even more urgent.
“I am very honored that Dave has chosen Southern Smoke as his charity,” said the founder. Chris Shepherd told CNN. “Now, more than ever, with indoor dining closures in many parts of the country and temperatures plummeting to prohibit cookouts, employees in the food and beverage industry are desperate.”
When Chang hit the $ 500,000 mark, millionaire host Jimmy Kimmel warned him that no famous contestant had ever taken home “the big check.” Chang seriously considered leaving, but trusting his luck, decided to go all out.
“Having a million dollars right now, right now, is a game changer for many, many families,” he said during the show. “And yeah, half a million too … and I mean ‘No, just take the money!’ But I’m not.”
With the help of a Lifeline friend, ESPN correspondent Mina Kimes, who taught him that Benjamin Harrison was probably the first US president to have electricity in the White House, Chang gave his final answer.
Within seconds, the set erupted in celebration.
“I always wanted to have a giant control on television,” said millionaire writer and director Alan Yang enthusiastically, tweeting a photo from Chang, Kimmel, the check and himself. “Thanks @MillionaireTV! Ftw asian trivia dream team “.
While the big camera-friendly check is probably just a stage prop, the money it represents will make a big impact. Southern Smoke estimates that Chang’s million dollar “lucky peach” will benefit roughly 500 food and beverage workers in need.
(CLOCK David achieves his great victory in the Jimmy Kimmel Live! Video below.)
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