Best New Chef 2010 Roy Choi
Best New Chef 2010 Roy Choi

Roy Choi

Born: Seoul, Korea; 1970. Raised: Los Angeles. ("I bounced through a lot of neighborhoods; we moved 12 different times.") Education: Culinary Institute of America; Hyde Park, New York. Experience: Le Bernardin, New York City; Embassy Suites, Lake Tahoe, California; The Beverly Hilton and Rock Sugar Pan Asian Kitchen, Los Angeles. Career wake up call: "When I was 25, before I started cooking, I hit rock bottom. I was almost disowned by my family. Then one day, I was lying on the couch watching Essence of Emeril, and I had an out-of-body experience. I felt like Emeril stepped out of the TV and shook me by the shoulders and said, 'Get off that couch. Taste this, smell this, do something.' So I went to the bookstore, started doing research and read about chefs like Eric Ripert [at New York City's Le Bernardin]." Childhood food memory: Making dumplings in his family's Korean restaurant when he was eight. "In Korean cooking, there are two things that take a lot of prep, besides kimchi: Picking off the bean-sprout skin and making dumplings. You'll always see an old lady sitting at a table making them. You can't wing it--dumplings don't fall out of the sky; you have to sit down and make them." Guilty pleasure: Milk shakes. "I'm a milk-shake connoisseur: chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, banana. I'm a laid-back dude but extremely particular about milk shakes—the iciness, the creaminess. When I cooked in Tahoe, the Nevada border was right across the street. So I'd hop across the state line and drink milk shakes until after midnight in the 24 hour coffee shops. I gained 20 pounds." On Chego!, his new rice bowl restaurant: "Chego loosely means 'thumbs up' in Korean. It's like when your mouth is full and your grandmother asks how her food is, you just give her a thumbs up." What he'd be if he weren't a chef: A topographer. "I can figure out a city in 10 minutes by looking at a map, I can almost see it. Like Arnold Schwarzenegger in The Terminator." Favorite cookbook: La Technique by Jacques Pépin. "It's amazing. For him to build that book at that time—amazing. He's the man."
Chef Roy Choi’s Kimchi Fried Rice is the best way to reinvigorate day-old rice with spicy, potent kimchi. The kimchi actually sweetens when heated and adds not only its signature funk, tang, and spice but also a delicious crunch. The briny, spicy dipping sauce is the perfect punchy accompaniment.
Advertisement
One of Choi’s first chef jobs was at an L.A. country club where he made New England clam chowder every Friday. This lighter, Asian-inflected version includes green curry paste, coconut milk and plenty of lime juice.Warming Soup RecipesRecipe from Food & Wine Best New Chefs All-Star Cookbook
LocoL Dipping Sauce
Rating: Unrated
New!
Chefs Daniel Patterson and Roy Choi season their awesome tomato-based spicy sauce with Korean chile paste and use it with everything from fries and onion rings to burgers and chicken.
Roy Choi spikes regular ketchup with ginger, Thai basil and bananas to make this spiced, fruity condiment. It's excellent with these crispy, starchy fries, though they can be served with plain ketchup instead. Slideshow:  More Recipes for Fries 
Mojo Pork Cubanos
Rating: Unrated
New!
Roy Choi's outstanding sandwich features slices of garlicky roast pork layered with grilled boiled ham ("American school lunch ham is great here" he says), as well as Swiss cheese and tangy pickles. You can substitute leftover roast pork for the Mojo pork shoulder Choi uses.
Roy Choi slathers his pork shoulder with a powerful marinade of garlic, citrus and herbs, then lets it sit overnight before roasting the meat until crispy. If you're using the roasted meat for sandwiches, Choi recommends refrigerating it first, which makes it easier to slice. Plus:  More Pork Recipes 
"Some people follow Texas or American barbecue. Me, I'm a connoisseur of Korean barbecue," says chef Roy Choi. "Growing up, I was the ultimate Korean barbecue champion. If you took me to an all-you-can-eat Korean barbecue restaurant, forget about it." Choi especially loves these thinly sliced short ribs, known as kalbi in Korea; they're marinated overnight in a garlic, soy and sugar mixture, then quickly grilled, so they're charred all over. On the side, Choi serves kimchi, steamed white rice and the ubiquitous Hawaiian side dish, macaroni salad.
Advertisement
Spam-and-Kimchi Musubi
Rating: Unrated
New!
“This is the peanut butter and jelly sandwich of Hawaii,” says Roy Choi about the sushi-like musubi, a mix of seared Spam, sushi rice and pureed kimchi, all wrapped up in nori. “If you’ve been swimming, if you’ve been hanging on the beach, it’s the perfect snack. Something about it just hits the spot. And the best place to find it is at a 7-Eleven.” Slideshow: More Tasty Snack Ideas 
Oxtail is a popular ingredient in Hawaiian cooking. Roy Choi makes it the base for the broth of his hearty soup and adds plenty of the tender braised meat as well. The soup is also packed with ramen noodles and sliced daikon and leeks, and then garnished with crisp, sweet fried garlic chips. Slideshow: Hearty, Healthy and Easy Noodle Recipes 
"Some people follow Texas or American barbecue. Me, I'm a connoisseur of Korean barbecue," says chef Roy Choi. "Growing up, I was the ultimate Korean barbecue champion. If you took me to an all-you-can-eat Korean barbecue restaurant, forget about it." Choi especially loves these thinly sliced short ribs, known as kalbi in Korea; they're marinated overnight in a garlic, soy and sugar mixture, then quickly grilled, so they're charred all over. On the side, Choi serves kimchi, steamed white rice and the ubiquitous Hawaiian side dish, macaroni salad.
Spam-and-Kimchi Musubi
Rating: Unrated
New!
“This is the peanut butter and jelly sandwich of Hawaii,” says Roy Choi about the sushi-like musubi, a mix of seared Spam, sushi rice and pureed kimchi, all wrapped up in nori. “If you’ve been swimming, if you’ve been hanging on the beach, it’s the perfect snack. Something about it just hits the spot. And the best place to find it is at a 7-Eleven.” Slideshow: More Tasty Snack Ideas 
Oxtail is a popular ingredient in Hawaiian cooking. Roy Choi makes it the base for the broth of his hearty soup and adds plenty of the tender braised meat as well. The soup is also packed with ramen noodles and sliced daikon and leeks, and then garnished with crisp, sweet fried garlic chips. Slideshow: Hearty, Healthy and Easy Noodle Recipes 
Midnight Tortas
Rating: Unrated
New!
This spectacular torta (Mexican sandwich) is Kogi chef Roy Choi's gift to Los Angeles's late-night partiers. The over-the-top combination of fried eggs, spinach, pork belly and roasted jalapeños is a little Mexican and a little Asian—a uniquely Choi hybrid. Best New Chef 2010: Roy Choi More Easy Recipes from the 2010 Class of Best New Chefs
L.A. Gas Station Tacos
Rating: Unrated
New!
Los Angeles's Kogi BBQ truck started the Korean-taco craze. Chef Roy Choi also loves the convenience-food ingredients (processed cheese! pork rinds!) sold at American gas stations. Slideshow:  More Tasty Tacos 
Advertisement
Kogi Dogs
Rating: Unrated
New!
When Kogi's truck first tweeted its stops last November, no one had heard of Korean short rib tacos. Now hundreds of people line up for them, and for kimchi hot dogs. Credit Roy Choi, who cooked at NYC's Le Bernardin and recently opened a Kogi counter at L.A.'s Alibi Room. In 2018, Food & Wine named this recipe one of our 40 best: Roy Choi was the first chef without a brick-and-mortar restaurant ever named a F&W Best New Chef. His mission to bring great food to the streets via his Kogi Korean BBQ food truck represented a seismic shift in the way food was delivered and consumed around America. A Culinary Institute of America grad and former cook at Le Bernardin, his culinary pedigree was hard-core, but the forward-thinking chef opted for a more unconventional path. When Kogi's first truck tweeted its stops, no one had ever heard of Korean short rib tacos. Soon, lines were endless, and smoky Kogi dogs, piled high with cabbage, kimchi, and cheddar, became a cult favorite.
Golden Garlic Chips
Rating: Unrated
New!
These fried garlic chips from chef Roy Choi of Los Angeles's Kogi BBQ—made simply by frying garlic slices in canola oil—are an excellent accent for soups, salads, and stir-fries.
For these double cheeseburgers, chef Roy Choi mixes toasted sesame seeds into the mayo for extra flavor and texture. He also tops the burgers with a combination of fresh shiso leaves and butter lettuce, in addition to thinly sliced red onion and tomato.
Chicken Katsu
Rating: Unrated
2
For Roy Choi, these crispy egg-and-panko-coated chicken cutlets, generally made with pork in Japan, represent something major. “People think frying chicken cutlets is simple, but it’s like cooking pasta,” says Choi. “It’s a dish that seems remedial, but when you get it right, it changes the whole ball game. I call it the cult of katsu.” Slideshow: Quick, Delicious Chicken Recipes 
One of Roy Choi’s favorite Honolulu spots is Side Street Inn. “The first time I went there, I was blown away by the dive bar scene—TVs everywhere, empty beer glasses, a mismatched hodgepodge design—and the quality of the food, which is really good,” he says. Side Street’s sticky fried ribs really stand out for Choi: He makes his version with a mixture of staple Asian sauces, including hoisin, black bean sauce, oyster sauce and Sriracha. Slideshow: Asian Beer Pairings 
"The $24 spaghetti from Scott Conant's Scarpetta in NYC is so delicious," says Roy Choi of L.A.'s Kogi empire. "My $4 version tastes almost as good." Roy's trick: flavoring tomato sauce with a quick mushroom broth and slow-cooked garlic.