Since ABC’s Who Wants to Be a Millionaire premiered in 1999, 14 people have become a millionaire, but only one “celebrity.” (The John Carpenter who was the show’s earliest million dollar-winner is not that John Carpenter.) Chef David Chang became the first celebrity contestant to have ever won the top $1 million prize during Sunday’s episode after correctly answering the following 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?” The Momofuku founder was stumped, but luckily his phone-a-friend, journalist Mina Kimes, correctly told him that it was Benjamin Harrison.
“I was so full of adrenaline, I just decided to go for it,” Chang told USA Today about getting to the final question in the episode, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel (it’s still weird not seeing the late Regis Philbin hosting Millionaire). “In that moment, I was like, ‘Worst-case scenario it’s $32,000, and then I’m a laughingstock because half a million dollars for charity is huge.’ And I was like, ‘Man, I don’t want to lose that $468,000,’ and I remember thinking, ‘That would be terrible. But I like to gamble, and I started to play it out in my head.” Chang was playing for the Southern Smoke Foundation, which raises funds for those in the food and beverage community. He continued, “We are in such a bad shape that half a million dollars isn’t enough – and neither is a million dollars – but I wanted to put emphasis on it and raise awareness of the problem, so it was worth the chance.”
You can watch Chang, Kimes, and, uh, Harrison’s moment of triumph above.