Written By Ryan Fu @fu_beatz
Roy Choi is a Korean American chef who gained prominence as the creator of the gourmet Korean taco truck, Kogi. He is well known as a chef who is celebrated for “food that isn’t fancy” and is known as one of the founders of the food truck movement.
His cooking style fuses Mexican and Korean flavors and dishes. On what Choi sees as a food mission: “What I would love to do in the big picture is change the paradigm of how people eat, how younger generations, and people that aren’t within our foodie world, view food. Like skaters or the kids that I grew up with that don’t even know what vegetables grow in what season, that live off fast food for 70 to 80 percent of their lives. But when they eat Kogi and it speaks to them on that same level that their skateboard speaks to them, because it’s got that vibe and that credibility.”
Choi’s company, Kogi, which is run with partners Mark Manguera and his wife, Caroline Shin-Manguera, “started in late 2008 as one mobile food truck that parked outside nightclubs on Sunset Boulevard late at night, selling Mexican tacos stuffed with Korean-style meat. Within three months, it began drawing crowds of hundreds and soon added more trucks. The company used Twitter to alert customers to trucks’ locations.”
In 2014, the Jon Favreau movie, Chef, was released: it is a film about a chef who finds himself through work on a food truck, is loosely inspired by Choi and the food truck movement. Choi appears in the end credits of the film and who worked as a technical advisor to Favreau on the film.
“I went with him in his car to every one of his restaurants – like a ride-along if you’re doing a cop movie,” said Favreau. Additionally, Choi sent Favreau to a French culinary school and then had him train in several of Choi’s kitchens. Choi “consulted on every kitchen scene, every food porn-worthy shot — and turned what can sometimes look like fakery into an authentic representation of the inside of a restaurant kitchen.”
Check out Roy’s new pop up restaurant El Jefe Cubanos inspired from Jon Favreau‘s movie, Chef, this memorial weekend at the Grove in Los Angeles for 4 days from 7pm to 11pm.