Empire Building

Roy Choi Made the Time 100 List

Nice.
Nice. Photo: Emma McIntyre

There are few people in the culinary world as deserving of being named one of Time’s “100 Most Influential People” as Roy Choi, who can now add the honor to his résumé. Listed in the “Pioneers” section, Choi’s entry is fittingly written by fellow “culinary trailblazer” Anthony Bourdain (who co-published Choi’s memoir, L.A. Son, under his Ecco imprint). Bourdain kicks off his blurb with Choi’s hugely influential Kogi BBQ food trucks, which not only introduced the world to Korean tacos and pioneered social media as a marketing tool, but in the author’s words “elevated the food-truck concept from ‘roach coach’ to highly sought-after, ultra-hot-yet-democratic rolling restaurant. It was a new entrepreneurial model that allowed talented culinarians to make their mark without hundreds of thousands of dollars in investor money.”

That’s hardly all he’s done: Choi’s list of accomplishments in the eight years since Kogi was founded is extensive and wide reaching. He’s subsequently been named a 2010 Food & Wine “Best New Chef,” built an empire of restaurants, and become a partner in hotelier Andrew Zobler’s the Line in Koreatown. Most significantly, though, he launched the potentially game-changing fast-food operation Loco’l with chef Daniel Patterson, putting it, in Bourdain’s words, “all on the line to improve the quality of life for people few others seem to care about.”

[Time]

Roy Choi Made the Time 100 List