Entertainment

David Chang Won a Million Dollars for Restaurant Relief on 'Who Wants to Be a Millionaire'

The chef is the only celeb to win the million-dollar prize in the show's 22-year run, donating the winnings to the Southern Smoke Foundation.

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Until recently, no celebrity guest on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire has managed to take home the big prize in its 20+ year run. On Sunday night's episode, though, for the first time ever, the latest famous participant on the Jimmy Kimmel-hosted game show was able to cook up a million dollar win. 

The restaurateur behind the Momofuku empire (including Momofuku Noodle Bar, Hudson Yards' Kāwi, and Christina Tosi-founded Milk Bar) and host of Netflix's food series Ugly Delicious, David Chang is now the only celeb to make it to the final round and take home the big bucks to donate to the charity of his choice. He played on behalf of the Southern Smoke Foundation, an organization that offers emergency relief to the food and beverage industry, which has taken a major hit since the start of the pandemic without any state or federal aid.

While he made it to the million-dollar question, which is a feat any fans of the long-running reality show know, it wasn't without a little help that he was able to score. Chang used his final lifeline, Phone a Friend, to give ESPN analyst Mina Kimes a ring to see if she could tap into her history knowledge to help answer which U.S. president was the first to have electricity in the White House. Given the options Ulysses S. Grant, Benjamin Harrison, Chester A. Arthur, and Andrew Johnson, she gave him the assist of it's "probably Benjamin Harrison"—who Chang admitted that he didn't even know was a president. 

Nevertheless, he trusted Kimes' guess, and gambled—knowing that if he was wrong, his prize would've dropped down to $32,000—but it all paid off in the end. The chef was thrilled and in disbelief, and later took to Twitter to explain why it's important to help restaurants, bars, and service industry workers right now. You can watch the clip above.

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Sadie Bell is the entertainment editorial assistant at Thrillist. She's on Twitter at @mssadiebell.

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