Chef Danny Bowien of Mission Chinese is nothing if not a provocateur, and man, does he really go hard with this photoshoot in Interview. In the latest issue of the newly revived magazine, Bowien bares all in a dramatic nude photo in which his legs are spread open and a giant lobster hangs from his crotch.
Here’s the online version of the photo and the interview, which is a conversation between Bowien and the icon behind the clubby Mr. Chow Chinese restaurant chain, Michael “M” Chow.
It doesn’t quite do the full print spread justice, which titles the piece, “I’ll Have What He’s Having” and has a cropped version of the photo where Bowien’s nude, tattooed body is the centerpiece of the page.
A second photo of Bowien later in the piece, both taken by model, artist, and activist Richie Shazam, displays the chef with squid ink slobbered around his mouth; a caption notes that it is after Bowien “digests an order of Mr. Chow’s squid-ink noodles in the site of his upcoming Bushwick restaurants. The napkins haven’t arrived yet.” The chef is in the throes of opening his new Bushwick location of Mission Chinese, and according to the interview, “this is the first restaurant I’ve opened that doesn’t terrify me,” he says.
This is, to be fair, a great pivot for Bowien, who’s been in the news for less-than-positive reasons in the last year. The striking image of a huge lobster as his cock — which cannot be unseen — definitely helps distract from that racial discrimination lawsuit and his star deputy Angela Dimayuga leaving Mission Chinese.
And though Bowien is totally naked in the shoot, Chow — always the character — gives him a run for his money on over-the-top quotes. The famed restaurateur behind a chain of upscale Chinese restaurants mentions writing a poem for his “lover” Lilly while staying up at night. That poem isn’t in the online version, but the print edition notes that Lilly is also his assistant. Here it is, including the lines “Let me take a steam bath with you in the middle of the summer night”:
“I always say that there is no luxury without fantasy,” Chow later says. “Owning a restaurant is like being an artist or a priest or a healer. Danny, you and I are 21st-century healers. I think that a restaurant is a work of art. Maybe it’s not the highest level of art—like painting, poetry, calligraphy, or music—but it can certainly be equal to architecture.”