LA Chef: Roy Choi of Kogi BBQ and Chego

LA Chef: Roy Choi of Kogi BBQ and Chego

Chef Roy Choi pioneered the Los Angeles food truck craze when he rolled out the very first Kogi BBQ truck, serving up fusion Korean BBQ, in 2008. Four years later, hundreds of food trucks roam the city among four Kogi BBQ trucks and Choi's empire has expanded to four different brick-and-mortar ventures: A-Frame, Sunny Spot, Alibi Room and Chego, which is currently under renovation.

[caption id="attachment_5732" align="alignnone" width="600" caption="Roy Choi and friends. Photo courtesy of RidingShotgunLA.com."][/caption] Chef Roy Choi pioneered the Los Angeles food truck craze when he rolled out the very first Kogi BBQ truck, serving up fusion Korean BBQ, in 2008. Four years later, hundreds of food trucks roam the city among four Kogi BBQ trucks and Choi's empire has expanded to  four different brick-and-mortar ventures:  A-Frame, Sunny Spot, Alibi Room, and Chego, which is currently under renovation. The LA native gave us the scoop on Chego's reopening, his rumored vegetarianism and what he thinks of this LA food truck phenomenon he helped launch. So sorry to hear about the kitchen at Chego. What happened and what made you decide to close for now? We are not closed. We are still serving food, but just had to deal with some real-life technical issues. For now, it's like living in a motel while you re-do the roof. Know what I'm saying? What should we expect from the new Chego when it reopens? When do you think you'll reopen? Expect the same. We're working on it daily and I hope to have an answer in January. Earlier this year, there was a strong reaction to a blog post where you talked about giving up meat. Are you still meatless? How is that going and what inspired that decision? I eat vegetables and fruits. Things are fantastic. Change inspired me. [caption id="attachment_5733" align="alignnone" width="600" caption="The Kogi BBQ tacos that helped start a movement. Photo courtesy of Kogi BBQ."][/caption] How did your time training at the Culinary Institute of America and growing up in Los Angeles shape what your are doing in the kitchen today? The CIA gave me a form. LA shapes my understanding. Kogi BBQ is well-known in Los Angeles for its food and for pioneering the Los Angeles food truck scene. What inspired the birth of Kogi and why do you think the food truck trend exploded the way it did in LA? Inspiration came from eating tacos and Korean BBQ living in Koreatown. The food trucks exploded on the scene because they've always been the truth. It's just some were blind. But now with the third eye open, it's on. What do you think of the food truck craze and the other food trucks that have come onto the scene? We got a long way to go. It's young and it's time to move into the next phase—deeper roots, more delicious food and less hype. How would you describe the perfect meal? Feeding those that aren't fed well. Where are some of your favorite places to unwind before/after work? The gym and the streets.
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