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Celeb Chef David Chang Wins $1 Million for Houston’s Southern Smoke Foundation

The chef is the first celebrity to hit the $1 million mark on “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire,” and all those funds will go to help hospitality workers in need

Chef David Chang and Jimmy Kimmel on the set of Who Wants to Be A Millionaire, with a large logo for the game show in the background
David Chang and Jimmy Kimmel on the set of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire
ABC/John Fleenor

On Sunday night, celebrity chef and Momofuku culinary empire builder David Chang brought home $1 million on ABC game show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, and it’s all headed to Houston’s own Southern Smoke Foundation.

The chef is the first to take home the game show’s top prize, and it couldn’t go to a better cause. Founded in part by chef Chris Shepherd, the organization raises funds for multiple sclerosis research and, for the past few years, has been instrumental in providing emergency financial assistance to people who work in the hospitality industry during crises like Hurricane Harvey and the COVID-19 pandemic.

For those who missed the episode, watch Chang’s big win below:

“My gambling problem finally pays off,” Chang said in a tweet after the episode aired. “Since the government won’t help out restaurant workers...we have to do what we can to help out.” Chang’s long been a fan of the Southern Smoke Foundation — in 2017, the chef trekked to Houston to cook at the organization’s annual barbecue bonanza in the aftermath of Harvey.

The question that Chang answered to win the $1 million was definitely a toughie: “Although he and his wife never touched a light switch for fear of being shocked, who was the first president to have electricity in the White House?” After about a minute of debating his choice, Chang correctly chose President Benjamin Harrison, and seemed decidedly shocked that he’d gotten the answer correct.

In an Instagram post, the Southern Smoke Foundation thanked Chang for choosing the organization as the beneficiary of the funds. “We cannot thank you enough,” the post reads. “This will change so many people’s lives for the better.”

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