David Chang's Net Worth In 2024 Proves He's a Lucky Peach Indeed

David Chang's net worth in 2024 is stratospheric, and while he's one of the most influential and famous chefs on the planet, his fortunes have ebbed and flowed through the years with changes in the restaurant industry. Here's what to know about how he became so rich and the secrets to his success—and the lessons he's learned from his failures.

Related: Momofuku Noodles with Choose-Your-Adventure Meatballs

How did David Chang become famous?

David Chang was born to Korean immigrant parents and raised in Arlington, Virginia. Becoming a chef wasn't really on his radar for his early life, he told The New Yorker. He was a junior golf champion who surrendered his clubs at the ripe age of 13, and after graduating with a degree in religious studies from Trinity College, briefly worked in finance.

Eventually, he made his way to the French Culinary Institute, where he studied for six months while working shifts at New York City's famed Mercer Kitchen and answering phones at Tom Colicchio's flagship Craft eatery before becoming a cook there.

Chang's biggest culinary inspiration came when a family friend, Korean businessman Rev. Paul Hwang, offered him a role cooking in a ramen shop he owned in Tokyo and to stay in a homeless shelter in the same building. The ramen shop wasn't a particularly great one, according to The New Yorker, so Chang left relatively quickly, but not before solidifying his love for ramen and other noodles and making them better and more popular stateside.

Chang returned to New York City, where he worked in Café Boulud under Andrew Carmellini, who he said was tough but brilliant. He left Café Boulud to take care of his mother while devising a plan to open his own noodle restaurant. With nearly $200,000 from his father, he opened his first Momofuku Noodle Bar location in the East Village in 2004.

Related: Momofuku's Soy-Marinated Flank Steak with Savory Smashed Potatoes

He opened his second location, Momofuku Ssäm Bar, in 2006, just blocks from Momofuku Noodle Bar, two years later. In 2008, Chang opened his restaurant Ko and expanded Momofuku Ssäm Bar into its neighboring space with pastry chef Christina Tosi launching the Momofuku Milk Bar dessert and soft serve shop.

"In four years, we’ve gone from that small-ass Noodle Bar to this f—king big restaurant, when the whole goal in the beginning was, 'Let's serve better food than that place across the street,'" he told The New Yorker. "I know we've won awards, all this stuff, but it’s not because we're doing something special—I believe it’s really because we care more than the next guy."

Since then, Chang has opened numerous restaurants throughout North America in cities including Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Toronto, as well as in Sydney, Australia, though several closed or consolidated in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chang also launched a magazine (Lucky Peach, which is the English translation of "momofuku"), which ran for 25 issues, and Majordomo, a media company. He starred in Netflix's Ugly DeliciousBreakfast, Lunch & Dinner; and Dinner Time Live; as well as Hulu's Dave and Chrissy Dine Out. He's also become a relatively regular guest on other shows, appearing in everything from Top Chef to Blue's Clues & You!, Celebrity Jeopardy!, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire and Apple TV's Loot.

Chang's attitude, aesthetic (backless metal stools, anyone?) and simple but bold, high-low combo recipes became so popular that they garnered their own adjective: "Changian." Just don't mention it in front of him.

"I don't want it to ever be something that is permanent or something that's static," a visibly "uncomfortable" Chang told The Washington Post. "It's easier for people to think about whatever it was when I was 29, 30, 32 years old as what Momofuku still is."

Related: Momofuku Sheet Pan Vinegar Chicken with Roasted Peppers and Onions

What is David Chang's net worth in 2024?

According to Celebrity Net Worth, David Chang's net worth in 2024 is a cool $20 million. Chang, whose restaurants offer workers benefits packages beyond most, told The New Yorker in 2008 that he could be richer if he didn't do those things for his staff.

“If it was solely about money, I could have sold out a long time ago," he said. "But I wouldn't feel good about it, because I'd let everyone down." That said, it is worth noting that members of his staff have since spoken out about the anger and toxicity Chang brought to his own workplaces.

Much of his wealth comes not from the thin profit margins of restaurants, but from his expansion into retail thanks to Momofuku Goods, which has raised close to $30 million in the last year. His chili crisp was in the news in May 2024 when Chang was called  a "trademark bully" for trying to trademark the term "chili crunch."

Related: Christina Tosi's Cinnamon-Bun Quick Bread Recipe

How many restaurants does David Chang have?

Chang's restaurant empire shrunk significantly following the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as simply oversaturating the market, especially in New York. Today, there are five different Momofuku-owned eateries: Bāng Bar (one each in New York City and Las Vegas), Momofuku Las Vegas, Majordōmo in Los Angeles and Noodle Bar New York.

"The most ironic thing is what I hate most about copying, and what I hate most about myself or this restaurant group Momofuku, is that we wound up copying ourselves, too," an apparently prescient Chang told The Washington Post in 2019. "We became one of those restaurant groups that had a lot of resources that did the same thing. And ultimately that proved almost the end of Momofuku."

Related: Momofuku Shrimp Stack

How much did David Chang spend on a caviar?

In an episode of Dinner Time Live with Seth Rogen and Ike Barinholtz, Chang shelled out a massive $4,300 for a drum-sized tin of Regalis Golden Kaluga Caviar.

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