From Addict to Entrepreneur: Roy Choi's flavorful journey

roy choiRoy Choi was born in South Korea in 1970 but raised in Los Angeles. He tells his tale of being an immigrant misfit (embarrassed by the Korean cuisine in his lunch box) who finds a place in the L.A. biker culture, makes friends with drugs and gambling, and eventually focuses his addictive personality on creatively fusing flavors from all influences in his life and feeding people Kogi BBQ via his four restaurants and small fleet of food trucks. The verbally gifted Choi captures the joy, determination, and diversity that immigrants bring to their new home, as well as the inevitable struggles. His irrepressible personality and his wide range of experiences—from poor immigrant (when his parents owned a restaurant) to nouveau riche suburbanite (when they got into the import jewelry business), from addict to entrepreneur—remind us of the beauty and uniqueness of each person's story.

About KogiChoi is also an outspoken advocate for addressing hunger. At the MAD Symposium chefs' gathering in 2013, Choi talked about how food trucks, while a wonderful asset, are the result of the poverty, crime, and hunger issues that plague his city. In a talk called "A Gateway to Hunger: The Promise of Street Food," he spoke against the "corrosive, chemical waste" we feed children in the ghettoes of South LA, where 44 percent of children live in poverty, 17 percent in extreme poverty. He urged the chefs there to use their platform and position to address social issues. "What if every high-caliber chef, all of us in here, told our investors as we were building restaurants, that we leveraged it, for every restaurant we would build, every fancy restaurant that we build, it would be a requirement to build a restaurant in the hood too?"

http://t0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcT4xHlKns5uLf5bpE5jJ6jK-HtFHVPD2L8JhHi4JdqBXyWuk6ICCool guy. Spicy BBQ. Great combo. Learn more at Choi's blog. And check out his 2013 book, L.A. Son: My Life, My City, My Food.

 

 

 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

You May Also Want to Read

Comment policy: ESA represents a wide variety of understandings and practices surrounding our shared Christian faith. The purpose of the ESA blog is to facilitate loving conversation; please know that individual authors do not speak for ESA as a whole. Even if you don\'t see yourself or your experience reflected in something you read here, we invite you to experience it anyway, and see if God can meet you there. What can take away from considering this point of view? What might you add? The comments section below is where you can share the answers to those questions, if you feel so moved. Please express your thoughts in ways that are constructive, purposeful, and respectful. Give those you disagree with the benefit of the doubt, and assume they are neither idiots nor evil. Name-calling, sweeping condemnations, and any other comments that suggest you have forgotten that we are all children of God will be deleted. Thank you!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.