Once the award-winning chef got a taste for acting, he couldn't let it go. 

Maria Yagoda
July 24, 2018

Roy Choi is a man of many talents. Chef, restaurateur, food truck pioneer, pizza innovator—the list goes one. And one of his most recent roles inspired him in ways he didn't expect. 

"I had to get a SAG card for that," says Choi of playing himself on the Gilmore Girls revival in 2016. "I haven’t gotten any gig since then, but I keep renewing my membership just in case, just to dream. I got to go into the Dragonfly Inn and cook and get fired!"

We caught up with Choi, who recently partnered with KeVita drinks, about fermentation, restaurant projects, and Korean breakfast, but we also couldn't resist asking him about how the Gilmore Girls revival gig came to be. Apparently, the crew had approached Choi for the role because they were fans, not knowing that Choi was a fan himself; in particular, he "had a huge crush on the daughter." (For the uninitiated, he's referring to Rory Gilmore, played by Alexis Bledel.)

But the person on set who taught him the most? "Lorelei." (He's referring to Lauren Graham.)

"Everyone went out of their way to make it very special for me, and most of all Lorelei," he says. "She really taught me how to act. She would grab me by the elbow and do little slight things to help. She would just be watching me. She would whisper in my ear. She would give me all these little pointers in the moment."

If you missed it, Choi played a chef at Lorelai Gilmore's Dragonfly Inn, filling in after the departure of longtime chef Sookie, played by Melissa McCarthy. There's a Rachael Ray cameo, too, but in the end, no one could fill Sookie's shoes. (In the Gilmore Girls universe, April Bloomfield, Alice Water, and David Chang had all tried, and failed, to fill the role.)

"[Amy Sherman-Palladino] is definitely someone who eats out and who is very, very in tune with and aware of our food world," Choi told us in 2016. "She loves our food and appreciates who we are as chefs and personalities. And having Rachael Ray be the other chef—those are bookends that balanced really well. It all felt right."

So, Hollywood: If you're looking for a star for your next superhero movie, we implore you to consider Choi. 

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