And the chef decided to give everything to a good cause – he donated the entire million dollar prize to restaurant workers who have been affected by the pandemic.
In the closing moments of Sunday’s episode, host Jimmy Kimmel watched Momofuku founder wrestle over the final question.
“No (celebrity) has ever been there,” Kimmel said. “They are all gone.
For his last question, Chang was asked to name the first US president to have electricity in the White House.
After phoning a friend – ESPN reporter Mina Kimes – Chang guessed President Benjamin Harrison, even though he didn’t even know if Harrison was president.
Chang jumped out of his chair when he heard the sound of screaming, as writer and director Alan Yang presented a gigantic check on stage. Chang had won.
Chang had always intended to donate money to the Southern Smoke Foundation, a crisis relief organization for people in the food and beverage industry. If Chang had decided not to answer the question, he would have walked away with about $ 500,000. Instead, he decided to risk everything to double this donation.
“Having a million dollars right now is a game-changer for so many families,” Chang says in the episode’s music video. “And yes, half a million is also – and I mean, ‘No, just take the money!’ – but I am not. ”
While restaurants and bars were classified by states as essential businesses that could operate on take-out and delivery, many still had to close during door-to-door orders. Some companies found it difficult or economically impossible to adopt this model, or had other public health issues.
The Southern Smoke Foundation, established in 2015 by Chef Chris Shepherd, has distributed $ 4,097,425 to 2,071 people across the country, according to its website. “To date, Southern Smoke has distributed over $ 5.7 million, both directly to people in need through the Emergency Relief Fund and to organizations that represent the needs of people in our industry,” says the organization on its website.
“I am so honored that Dave chose Southern Smoke as his charity,” Shepherd told CNN. “Now more than ever, with indoor restaurants closing in many parts of the country and temperatures dropping to ban outdoor dining, workers in the food and beverage industry are in despair. ”
Southern Smoke estimates Chang’s donation will help 500 food and beverage workers.
Shannon Liao of CNN contributed to this report.