Story at a glance

  • David Chang, a restaurateur, author and television personality, is the winner of the latest season of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.”
  • The season featured several celebrities and front-line workers.
  • Chang announced that he would donate the $1 million to the Southern Smoke Foundation.

“You’ve just won a million dollars!”

The line many Americans would risk it all to hear perhaps hits a little different if you’re already a millionaire. So when restaurateur and author David Chang became the first celebrity to win on “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire,” he decided he didn’t need the money. 

Instead, Chang is donating the $1 million to the Southern Smoke Foundation, a crisis relief organization for people in the food and beverage industry. The coronavirus pandemic has devastated the restaurant and hospitality industries and forced many workers to choose between a paycheck and their health. 


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“Since the government won’t help out restaurant workers...we have to do what we can to help out,” said Chang on Twitter. After the CARES Act was passed in March, negotiations for a second relief bill have dragged on — through the presidential election — frustrating many. 

Chang won over several front-line workers in this season of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire,” which also featured celebrities Tiffany Haddish, Julie Bowen, Ray Romano, Rebel Wilson and Joel McHale. The restaurateur, author and television personality is known for founding the Michelin-star winning Momofuku restaurant group as well as Netflix original series "Ugly Delicious" and "Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner." 

It was that entrepreneurial personality that made Chang the first celebrity to risk it all for the million-dollar question: 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?


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"Having a million dollars right now in this moment, is a game changer for many, many families," Chang said as he chose to go for the question. "And yes, half a million is as well — and I want to say 'No, just take the money!' — but I'm not." 

He phoned a friend, ESPN journalist Mina Kimes, and chose the right answer: President Benjamin Harrison. 

On Twitter, Southern Smoke celebrated Chang’s win when the final episode aired on Nov. 30.

 

"I'm so honored that Dave chose Southern Smoke as his charity," co-founder Chris Shepherd told CNN. "Now, more than ever, with indoor dining shut down in many parts of the country and temperatures dropping to prohibit outdoor dining, food and beverage industry employees are desperate." 


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Published on Dec 01, 2020