Categories
Culture Features Hit-Or-Miss

Roy Choi’s Upcoming Las Vegas Restaurant Will Be A Hip-Hop Themed Ode To Los Angeles

Roy Choi

As the godfather of the food truck movement, nothing seems too adventurous or intrepid for Roy Choi when it comes to culinary expansion. The esteemed People’s Chef has been riding for Los Angeles’ food scene and Angelenos for a decade now, using different vehicles in the form of varied dining concepts along the way to drive his vision of what a true Los Angeles food experience should be along with impressing upon us the crucial role a sense of community has with food.

That decade of experience under his belt has earned him a status as one of Los Angeles’ culinary torch bearers, and as such has lent his time and expertise to speaking panels and discussions highlighting the landscape of food today. Speaking at the recent dineLA discussion panel, he reflected on the restaurant week’s ten year anniversary along with what he’s contributed to the L.A. food scene within the decade.

“I feel like I’ve laid a lot of groundwork in the past ten years, in regards to what I’ve done for the food world and the community. And it leads me to right now, where I’m focused on prosperity, not only for myself and my businesses, but also for the things I’m involved in and everything we represent.”

2018 is definitely looking like a prosperous one for Choi, what with the recent news of him working on a new restaurant at the upcoming Park MGM in Las Vegas, the recent launch of his own line of food products with Williams-Sonoma, and the opening of another Locol location within a Whole Foods in San Jose. All of such are major moves and indicate just how much Choi wants to level up in this new year.

“I feel like I’ve been making independent films. But what if I had a studio budget, you know? What if I had a Pacific Rim or Transformers budget? Then really, what can we do? And the first piece to that is Vegas.”

This talk of big budget translates to an 8,000 square foot space where Choi promises, “It’s gonna be poppin’.” The genesis and mood board for the yet unnamed Las Vegas project comes from Koreatown and the Line Hotel, both hallmarks of his brand, ethos, and cooking. He’s honoring this connection by taking everything both are and supplanting it on the Las Vegas strip, creating an environment that’s proudly Los Angeles. He then goes into enthusiastic detail about the vibe and features of the forthcoming restaurant.

“I want people from L.A. to walk in and be like, ‘FUCK YEAH‘ and ‘OHHH SHIIIT‘, you know? I want you to roll up with all your friends and feel at home. And then I want people from elsewhere to feel like they’re getting a good glimpse into what it’s like to live in Los Angeles. We’re very aware that this is gonna be a Vegas restaurant. So we won’t shy away from the big and spectacular. If they can recreate the cities of Paris and Rome in Vegas, I want to recreate Los Angeles, too, with varied levels of nuance.”

Such nuances mean we can expect big speakers and the bombastic sounds of L.A. area hip-hop to fill the space. It means that the Beat Junkies will be deejaying some nights and rapper Dumbfoundead will be on the mic on others. It also means that Choi is eager to fill a void where hip-hop has not succeeded in Las Vegas. “I want this to be a hip-hop restaurant,” he declares. And in a city dominated by the grinding wobble and pulsing thump of EDM, having a spot dedicated to hip-hop would be a fresh and welcome addition to Sin City.

“I’m ready, man. I’m not afraid of anything. I’m not only looking to learn and grow from Vegas, but also offer everything that I can do with where I come from. I want to make an impact. I want to make a change. If I didn’t believe in this project, I would have created just a cookie cutter restaurant. But I’m here to create a feeling, an experience. I could fall flat on my face, but I’m willing to gamble on that.”

Whether or not the pun was intended, the statement is fitting. But from what we’ve seen from Roy Choi and what he can do with his passion for food and community, it’s a safe bet that his 2018 is looking to be one filled with the prosperity he’s craving.

 

Photos: MGM Resorts International
Categories
Hit-Or-Miss

Roy Choi Wants To Save ‘The Hood’ With His New Restaurant

“In the ghettos of america we feed our children corrosive chemical waste.” – Chef Roy Choi, Owner of Locol

Powerful words from one of Southern California’s most influential chefs who is working to change the dynamic between healthier eating habits and people living in poverty-stricken communities.

With the opening of Locol, in Watts, Choi and business partner Daniel Patterson are taking on the fast food industry to make healthy food less expensive and accessible to all.

In this video, uploaded by Uproxx to YouTube, we get a first hand look at exactly what Locol is all about.

With locations now open in Oakland, California and the flagship store located in Watts, customers are beginning to understand what they’ve been missing out on.

Roy Choi speaks candidly about his vision and his determination to revitalize impoverished neighborhoods.

“What we’re going to do is tackle the fast food industry. And we do it like we know how as chefs; we just get in and cook.”

Locol features recipes built from scratch and all food made by hand, Locol is creating waves throughout the communities it serves, simply by creating an environment for people to care about food.

In areas dominated by franchised fast food chains, mom-and-pop grocery stores lacking organic produce, Locol is coming to the rescue. Reasonable prices and outside-the-box menu items have made venturing to Locol a new dining experience, while also providing employment opportunities for those living in the communities Locol aims to serve.

Photomenu_Locol

During a 2014 MAD Symposium and Conference, in Coppenhagen, Choi shared his well-spoken philosophy when describing exactly how he envisions the Locol legacy will endure.

“You wouldn’t have record execs making the music, right? That’s what musicians do,” he said. “But right now, we’re in a situation where cooks aren’t designing the food that most people are eating. The suits are. Let’s get back to the chefs making the food and the moral choices for the people. Let’s get in and cook.”

When describing how he came up with the name, Choi simply explained that there’s two very specific meanings behind “Locol.”

The name ‘Locol’ is two concepts together, like we’re fucking crazy to be doing this, and we’re local,” he said.

With a well known brand throughout Souther California, Roy Choi’s chef-driven vision is sure to stay alive.

Categories
Cravings

Hello Kitty Musubis are so Totally Kawaii

hello-kitty-spam-musubi-roy-choi

Even though Hello Kitty is officially no longer a cat, we can confirm that she is indeed now a musubi.

This totally kawaii snack is the result of a collaboration between acclaimed chef, Roy Choi, and Spam. Almost too adorable to eat, the Hello Kitty Musubi will be available on the room service menu at the Line Hotel in Los Angeles, which also happens to be the official hotel of Hello Kitty Con. Yes, it’s a thing.

This isn’t the first time everyone’s favorite cat, er, cartoon character, has been immortalized in edible form. Other Hello Kitty culinary creations include fried tofu, donuts, steamed buns, and booze.

H/T + PicThx Eater

Categories
Food Trucks

Say It Ain’t So — Kogi BBQ Truck Gets Rid of Select Menu Items

Looks like Chef Roy Choi of Kogi BBQ fame is back on his feet again and is planning to add new menu items to his world famous Los Angeles and Orange County based trucks.

Following a recent stint in which Choi stopped eating meat for a week and considered leaving the culinary world, it seems as if his passion for cooking has been reignited.

Fans of the truck that started the food truck phenomenon may be disappointed to find some original Kogi menu items are on the chopping block. However, as the truck’s creative director Alice Shin points out on their blog, “after the rain comes rainbows, and there shall be some amazing dishes to take the place of all those who are passing on to the other side.”

A rainbow of new Kogi BBQ menu items doesn’t sound so bad when you think about it that way. According to Alice’s post, Choi’s decision to remove items is because of the truck’s huge menu. To put things into perspective, the truck only usually features one new item each week because there are already 13 other menu items (19 if you count the different types of burritos and tacos). For a food truck, and even for some restaurants, that’s a huge menu.

Here’s the list of items that are set to leave the menu within the next two weeks:

  • Kogi Dog
  • Kimchi Quesadilla
  • Calamari Tacos
  • Blue Moon Mulitas
  • Pacman Burger
  • Pacman Quesadilla
  • Sweet Chili Chicken Quesadilla

I’m especially bummed about the Pacman Burger, but knowing that new menu items are scheduled to hit the truck from the Chef himself makes the wound heal a little easier.

Chef Roy Choi creating new innovative culinary fusion masterpieces? Count me in. Fans of his restaurant Chego should also rejoice in the fact that he’s also doing similar additions and subtractions, so be on the look out as well.

We’ll see what he adds in the upcoming weeks, but we’d love to hear your feedback until that happens. Do you think this should’ve happened sooner? Are they taking away some of your favorites? Sound off in the comments below!