Meet Your New 'Mind of a Chef' Star

May  8, 2017

On Friday, PBS announced that the star of the sixth season of its widely beloved culinary docuseries Mind of a Chef would be Danny Bowien. The news comes mere months after Bowien hosted the show’s holiday special. The network took a rather bizarre approach to breaking this news, with a deliriously odd 23-second teaser replete with booming techno music, blazing neon text, and a few frames of Bowien sweating bullets at SoulCycle.

Bowien, born in South Korea in 1982 and raised in Oklahoma, has spent the past decade or so becoming one of the darlings of the culinary universe. He’s perhaps best known for being the owner and proprietor of Mission Chinese, and its now-shuttered sister restaurant Mission Cantina, in San Francisco and New York. Bowien was the champion of 2008’s Pesto World Championship, with a rich, smooth recipe that catapulted him to fame.

Bowien's an extremely charismatic culinary personality, and he’s spoken with candor about the failures he’s encountered in his career—and there have been many, from restaurant closures to scathing reviews. He's had an appealingly circuitous path to fine dining, which makes him, to my mind, an engaging subject for a 16-episode series like Mind of a Chef.

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If you’re unfamiliar with Bowien’s work, I’d crack open 2015’s Mission Chinese Cookbook, which he co-authored with Chris Ying, or whip up some of that pretty little pesto that made him a star. Some other options? This Cabbage Salad, some French Toast Crunch, a nice batch of this XO sauce.

Alternately, you can lose yourself in the Spotify playlist, above, that he curated for PBS to tease Friday's announcement—it’s quite the gnarly mix of Marilyn Manson and CHVRCHES and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. PBS hasn’t announced a release date for the new season yet, though it's likely to premiere at some point this fall. Bummer. So far, it’s certainly done a good job of getting me excited.

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Mayukh Sen is a James Beard Award-winning food and culture writer in New York. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, the New Yorker, Bon Appetit, and elsewhere. He won a 2018 James Beard Award in Journalism for his profile of Princess Pamela published on Food52.

1 Comment

Edlyn May 8, 2017
CHVRCHES. Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Can't wait.