Is Roy Choi the Next David Chang?

Worth reading: A Time profile of Kogi Truck chef Roy Choi, who has heightened Asian street food and captivated Los Angeles with delectable Korean eats like no other. Reeks of early Chang buzz to us. The most interesting bits:

1) Choi decided to attend the Culinary Institute of America in the strangest of ways: "In 1996, Roy Choi, a law-school dropout and a general disappointment to his Korean-immigrant parents, was watching the Food Network one afternoon, eating Cheetos while coming down from some serious drugs, when suddenly Emeril Lagasse started talking directly to him. "He came out of the TV," Choi recalls, "and said, 'Smell this. Touch this. Taste this. Do something.'"

2) He's making bank: "Kogi made $2 million in revenue in its first year, on checks averaging $13 per person...Kogi's current operations serve about 3,000 a day."

3) The on-the-ground, fixed location of Kogi will open up at the end of March, and there are details: "They're not going to fix it up and instead will serve $7-to-$9 rice bowls--including lacquered pork belly, and steak topped with horseradish cream and poached eggs--in the 30-seat space, where Choi believes he can somehow serve 1,000 people a night."

4) He gets emo when it comes to sustainability: "Choi's sensitive-burnout passion is the movement's story. He gets choked up about replacing McDonald's cuisine with freshly prepared, price-competitive, high-end food. "It's convenient to eat horrible food, and it's so difficult to eat great food. It's O.K. to eat flaming-hot Cheetos and never read books or eat vegetables," he says. "This is where we've come as a country, and I'm not cool with it."
So, it's ok if Cheetos inspire you to go onto culinary greatness, but not in any other case. Good to know. It also would have been good to know when Kogi is going national, but we'll have to wait a little longer for that news.
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