Wednesday, 30 January 2013

10 Essentials: Eddie Huang

The chef and Baohaus founder shares his favorite threads, caps, vaporizer, and more
If you've followed the world of food this past year, you'll recognize Eddie Huang as the next big celebrity chef. The former lawyer turned Baohaus founder becomes a memoirist this month with Fresh Off the Boat, his story of growing up Asian-American. As sharp as Anthony Bourdain (a man he's often compared to), as marketable on TV as Guy Fieri (a man he'd rather not be), he's fresher than both, with a backwards-cap swagger and no doubt of what's dope and what's dumb. After shooting him a direct message on Twitter, Eddie got on the phone with us to talk about the ten things that are Huang-approved.

Matching sweat suits
1. Matching sweat suits
"Here's my thing: I do a lot of meetings, whether I'm at networks or publishers, and everybody is in suits—but I don't want to wear a suit, so I wear sweat suits. I used to wear the Carhartt onesies that look like Super Mario brothers outfits. Now I have a lot of Adidas matching sweat suits, a la The Sopranos. My favorite is an Opening Ceremony Warriors of Radness sweat suit, with a turquoise hoodie and shorts."
2. Extra-long chopsticks
"Sometimes I think American cooks are very bro-y and want to be burned. You know what? I don't want to get burned when I'm cooking. To avoid getting hit when pan-frying, I stand far away and use chopsticks that are almost two feet long. I learned it from my mom, who does the same thing.
3. Perfecto by Schott NYC Big Al mouton collar jacket
"When I first saw this jacket I thought, 'This is a Freeway Ricky Ross jacket,' so I went straight to the showroom and got it. A lot of my jackets are from Schott, but this is my favorite. I have to feel really good about myself to wear it. I don't have a car, but my jackets are like cars for me in a way and this one's the Benz SL, the Bentley." 
4. Black Forest gummy bears
"I'm a junk food person 'cause I smoke weed. That's pretty much where the gummy bears situation comes from. Everybody likes Haribo Gold-Bears, but I'm a dedicated fan of Black Forest gummy bears—they're softer and sweeter."
5. Black snapbacks between barber visits
"I like to get shaped up once a week, but if I'm late for my shape up, the rest of the week I wear a black snapback. I have all kinds of black snapbacks—40oz, 10.Deep, Strada, and Only NY—and two barbers. One is Mike, my go-to guy on Sixth Street and First Avenue, who's a really funny Russian guy who calls himself Money Mike, and the other's Luis Cedano, from Rudy's Barber Shop at the Ace Hotel. Money Mike was my first barber, but when the Ace opened Rudy's gave me a couple of free haircuts that were really good, too Rudy's offers free haircuts to hotel guests. One day I was walking on the street and Money Mike was like, 'Yo! I see you get haircuts somewhere else, what's up with that?' So now I have a deal: the first week of the month I go to Mike, then Luis for the second, then Mike, and then back to Luis for the fourth. That way nobody gets upset."
6. Theme music: Killa Cam and Kanye
"Anytime I do speaking engagements or events, I listen to Killa Cam backstage and then 'Can't Tell Me Nothing' by Kanye when I go on. I also wear a pair of Jordan Eleven Concords that one of my best friends got me for my thirtieth birthday right before a speaking engagement. They're my lucky shoes."
Tao Te Ching
7. Tao Te Ching
"When I feel off, I read the Tao Te Ching to get my equilibrium right. I started reading it in the eleventh grade. I'd never really liked or understood Christianity because I was picked on so much at private Christian schools. When I met Islamic people in high school, I read some of the Qu'ran to see what that was about, and then I just read more and more of what people considered religious texts. Nothing related to me until I read the Tao Te Ching. It asks you the questions that you need to ask yourself on a daily basis. I don't believe in answers, I believe in the right questions."

8. The G Pen
"The G Pen is a vaporizer so you can smoke weed in public. When I smoke, I like to put on my big jacket and go out in the cold, and just walk around outside and look at stuff. I also like to go to bodegas when I'm high and read the labels out loud. If I'm with friends, I'll read the labels in different voices. That's my thing. I also like to watch Knick Games with the vaporizer at Madison Square Garden (I hope I'm not blowing up anyone's spot by saying that...).
The Godfather
9. The Godfather
"Everybody likes II better, right? De Niro's in II. I just really like Marlon Brando and the scene in the garden where he's talking to Michael about—that's my scene. One is also much more about brothers. My family is three brothers, too, and the Sonny one is sad, but Michael killing Fredo in two is even sadder for me. I watch them both every year around the holidays."
10. Susan Miller
"She is just dead on. My agents think I'm insane. I send them e-mails sometimes, after she does the monthly, and I'll say 'Look, Susan says we shouldn't strike the deal at this point, so we should set the meeting at this time…,' and they'll tell me I'm crazy. Susan Miller's daughter is a Pisces and I'm a Pisces, so I think she knows Pisces. Anyone who doesn't believe in Susan is a fool."

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