The culinary saga continues: Peter Chang, the former Knoxville chef who accidentally created his own cult following on the Internet by not staying at any one restaurant for very long, has vamoosed once again.
As you'll recall, Chang left Hong Kong House on Kingston Pike a few months ago for Taste of China in Charlottsville. He then became a feature profile by Calvin Trillin in the March 1 New Yorker. And in its March issue, the Oxford American also put out a 7,000-word tribute by Todd Kliman, entitled "Todd Kliman Pursues the Perfect Chef."
Apparently, this sent Chang-mania into even new heights, with droves of curious customers descending upon Taste of China. Which can mean only one thing. As reported in a cover story in Charlottsville's weekly paper The Hook, Chang has left the building:
"Chang says the small business had become so overwhelmed by the attention that the quality of the food and the service began to suffer, and it was becoming 'embarrassing' to him."
So, where is Peter Chang now?
Well, there was a public sighting of Chang in Atlanta on March 26--which so excited a local restaurant publication there that it declared, "Peter Chang is Back!" (The blog post described Chang as the "most electrifying chef to ever cook in the Atlanta market.") But, alas, it was not to be, and the writer had to retract that news two days later.
According to Dave McNair at The Hook, Chang is returning to Charlottsville where he will "continue working on his plans to develop a Peter Chang-themed restaurant somewhere in the greater Charlottesville area."
We'll keep you updated on Peter Chang's whereabouts as soon as they're reported. Apparently, teams of journalists are working 'round the clock on this one.
(Honestly, I ate at Hong Kong House while Chang was chef there perhaps a half-dozen times, and would make a point of ordering the more exotic-sounding items on the menu. Good? Oh yes. Good enough to cause a national hysteria among foodies? Er, I guess I missed something. Perhaps I'll get a second chance someday...)