You may know me for Kogi and my new Las Vegas restaurant Best Friend, but my new passion project is my TV series BROKEN BREAD, which is about food insecurity, sustainability, and how food culture can unite us. The show launches May 15 on KCET in Los Angeles and on Tastemade TV (avail. on all streaming platforms). In each episode I go on a journey of discovery and challenge the status quo about problems facing our food system - anything from climate change to the legalization of marajuana. Ask me.


Comments: 1770 • Responses: 89  • Date: 

lowtoiletsitter337 karma

Hey Chef Roy,

I’m sure you know about the hundreds of pounds of food grocery stores throw away because it isn’t seen as “good anymore.” Have you worked with local food banks to get grocery stores to donate? If so, how did you do it? If not, do you have resources/advice to help out? Thank you!

RoyChoi258 karma

chefs to end hunger is a great org trying to help this. first thing is we as consumers must demand our stores to not ttrow away perfectly good food

iacs12102 karma

Hi Chef

If Gordon Ramsey ate one of your signature dishes and after you asked him how it was, he responded with “ITS RAW!”, would you be insulted or honoured?

RoyChoi70 karma


SSJGodFloridaMan95 karma

A lot of the people I worked with working in a restaurant had some sort of criminal conviction in their background.

Do you actively work to seek out and employ rehabilitated people re-entering society?

RoyChoi130 karma

we don't discriminate. come as you are. don't care where you been

slom0pete85 karma

Didnt Burnt Chrysler try to make you dinner once and fuck it up? How'd that go?

RoyChoi88 karma

yeah he made it really spicy and cooked with no shirt on.

whats_nineplusten70 karma

Hey Roy, I know you started out doing Mexican/Korean food fusion. What are some of the other regional/cuisine combinations that are great?

RoyChoi114 karma

japanese-italian, tex-med, chinese from mexicali

CreepyOrlando50 karma

Did you really leave Bert Kreishers house when he screwed up a dish by adding way to many hot peppers and you told him it was not fixable?

RoyChoi48 karma

i stayed actually

Shampacolyps49 karma

Hey Chef! I’m a cook from the LA area and like many others a big fan of your work! Thank you for everything you have done. You are an inspiration

One big thing I see in the hospitality industry across the board is that a majority of people struggle with mental health. I have struggled with anxiety and depression most of my life and have been able to get some help. I also try to encourage my fellow cooks to do the same and to not be afraid of reaching out to someone. I often read posts over at /r/kitchenconfidential about cooks looking for help or have lost friends and family due to mental health issues.

My question is, what changes would you make to this industry as a whole in order to improve mental health among all employees in the hospitality industry?

RoyChoi48 karma

we need healthcare, better benefits, better pay, regulated hours, more vacation time

coldize35 karma

I sort of like to cook. Too often it feels like a chore at the end of a long day.

How do I spice up my cooking habits without having to put a lot of mental energy into looking up recipes or attempting dishes that are exhausting?

RoyChoi66 karma

cook like you feel. don't let it bring you down. cook like you are playing music. just go for it, add spice, big flavor, mess up. it's all ok

Sonoranpawn35 karma

Chef I discovered you years ago because of Anthony Bourdain. I became a fanboy and bought your book and traveled to LA to try Kogi, locol, and chego!. Just curious of how much Tony meant to you and if he had any influence on your TV series?

RoyChoi41 karma

Tony is family and i miss him dearly. i hope he watches our show from wherever he is

hintomint25 karma

Hi Roy! I used to live in LA and would see you at your restaurants quite frequently (POT, Alibi Room) just hanging out and seeing how things were going. I really loved that you would actually be there checking things out on a regular basis.

2 questions: - do you go to your restaurants on a specific schedule each week, or just as issues arise? What’s your day-to-day? - what’s the craziest/funniest/weirdest thing that happened at one of your restaurants when you dropped by to observe one night?

RoyChoi38 karma

i go everyday. thats my family. i've seen thousands of people on the street waiting for our tacos. thats pretty crazy

bombayblue24 karma

Growing up the in SF Bay Area I always felt like our food scene was dwarfed by LA. Almost every major cuisine found here (korean, mexican, etc) seems to have better, and usually cheaper, alternatives in LA. Are there any specific cuisines or types of food that you feel like the SF Bay Area does better than anywhere else?

RoyChoi31 karma

you have better chefs and high end progressive cuisine but for some reason your cultural foods from immigrants lacks depth. not sure why.

RoyChoi21 karma

hi all thank you for the questions. i did my best. love you all. trolls and haters included. peace

yes_its_him20 karma

For a place where you are worried about food insecurity, we sure do have a high obesity rate. 40% obese, and close to 70% of adults at least overweight.

And while there are those folks that will say it's because people are eating the wrong things, which might or might not be the case, it's certainly not the case that they are not getting enough of something to eat. Any thoughts about that?

RoyChoi50 karma

as ron finley says there is not a food supply problem there is a food distribution problem. there is plenty of food and plenty of bad food especially in our low income communities. obesity rates are a result of direct targeting

rds696920 karma

Why did you stop answering people's questions on here? You said AMA... but then got triggered. Why are you not engaging?

RoyChoi44 karma

i'm trying to keep up. i type slow

screechdiddy16 karma

My wife and I lived in Los Angeles for several years and we miss your food very much now that we are back in the Midwest! Do you remember living in the same apartment building as comedian Bert Kreischer many years ago? Do you have any funny stories to share?

RoyChoi55 karma

Bert! he was my landlord believe it or not. our kids became friends. he didn't wear shirts much

nukde6914 karma

why are all your answers to questions short, uninformative and a bit sjw retarded?

RoyChoi10 karma

i am just trying to keep up. what would you like me to say? i only have one hour. i am doing the best i can and i type slow. is this long enough for you?

JPDUB198413 karma

Big Fan, met you at the Chego in Whole Foods and you were super humble and an amazing inspiration. Thank you! Why did you move the Chego in Chinatown? For real? Obviously not all ventures are successful, what was one of the most valuable lessons you have learned though all of your expansion?

RoyChoi24 karma

landlord issues in palms back then. that's all. and thank you!

rtechnix13 karma

Would you rather have your home interior spray painted by David Chang or all meals for a month cooked by David Choe?

RoyChoi24 karma

i'll take bobby lee

Ccstriker7711 karma

Whats your all time favorite meal?

RoyChoi36 karma

rice, egg, butter, and soy sauce. and tacos of course

Poobum42010 karma

What is the most complex meal you have made in your career?

RoyChoi11 karma

koi because it changed my life

nmgoh28 karma

Even food secure people tend to gravitate to whatever is cheapest.

I'm sure there are millions out there that want to help "save the world" with their purchases, but just want something to shove it a toddlers mouth so it doesn't starve.

What would need to happen for sustainable and locally sourced foods to become cheaper than factory made equivalents?

RoyChoi6 karma

foraging, switching to plant based diets, stop buying from corporations till they make changes. support small business

LookinStr8Grizzly8 karma


I come from a Korean household where my family opened our first restaurant (southern breakfast food) when I was 9. I am 25 now, just graduated from college and have been working in the business since then. I am currently at a crossroads in my career path and could use a little advice. I love to cook, my ultimate goal is to open my own restaurant but I am having a hard time choosing between getting a job in my degree field or jumping in as a line cook/attending culinary school. As a fellow Korean I think you might be able to understand the family pressures of finding a safe, stable, and reliable job in my tech field rather than taking the risk of becoming a chef and opening my own restaurant. Did you experience any feelings like this in your come up? Any advice for a lost 25 year old trying to figure out his future?

RoyChoi29 karma

do what you want. love your family but don't live by the restrictions of being korean, this aint korea, be you

BlackKlopp7 karma

What was Babish like as a guy irl? Seems really likeable and cool.

RoyChoi11 karma

he is the best

DJVanillaCurry7 karma

On social media you’ll see a lot of people preaching that you need to wash your meat before you cook it. Others say you don’t. End the argument for me, should you wash your meat before cooking it?

RoyChoi13 karma

no need to wash

RoyChoi10 karma

in the bedroom meat or animal meat?

AtheistTyler7 karma

Mr. Choi, there are obviously a lot of issues that deserve attention, but some would be more foundational to creating sustainable changes.

In your opinion, what are the most important foundational changes that we can make as a society? What are the quickest/easiest ones that we can make make?

RoyChoi15 karma

support small orgs and businesses, make fundamental changes in your habits, eat less meat, challenge corporate propaganda

koalafalafel6 karma

Hey chef,

Line cook here, aspiring business owner looking to develop with sustainability in mind. What have you seen in terms of business to business services that focus on reducing and reusing waste like oyster shells or other waste in restaurants? What seems to be some of the most troubling aspects that restaurant owners should be addressing and what changes would help change the industry in the future?

RoyChoi12 karma

we waste too much. we need to start thinking in terms of sustainability quick or else shit is gonna be bleak soon

Daveeyboy6 karma

What are your 5 favorite dishes from specific restaurants in Los Angeles? (e.g. one of mine is the Original Baco from Baco Mercat)

RoyChoi12 karma

soon tub at beverly soon tub, humble bowl at cafe gratitude, berry at el parian,

slashquit5 karma

Hey Chef

Why do you think Locol didn’t work out? I thought it was a great idea, but I’m not really the target demographic.

RoyChoi17 karma

only one facet had to stop because of economy but we are still alive. stay tuned

ygrasdil5 karma

I haven’t seen the show, so perhaps this is answered somewhere already, but what is the connection between social justice and food? Food is perhaps one of the easiest-to-cross bridges between cultures. Does that somehow fit into your premise or am I missing something?

RoyChoi9 karma

the access and lack of it is the intersection of injustice and food

Hiot4 karma

What will you do when your show fails?

RoyChoi8 karma

become friends with you

5_sec_rule4 karma

Why do people post pictures of food to social media?

I can understand if you're a chef, but it'd be like if I took a picture of my oatmeal, had 200 photos printed up with the captain "look at this yummy treat!" and mailed it to 200 of not so closest friends.

RoyChoi2 karma

food porn is safer than real porn i guess

elkingo7774 karma

What is your personal favourite recipe you came up with for the Beastie Boys Book?

edit: missing a "with".

RoyChoi8 karma

the clams dish

jaydc3934 karma

Hey Chef! @behindtheknife on Instagram here - Been a follower from the start and love your work. Would love to collab some time and share your story! Can't wait to see the show!

One of the things you're most known for is challenging norms around how food is served, pioneering the advent of the food truck scene in LA and building personality behind your brand. Now with restaurant concepts breaking out from trucks, street corners, food festivals, and even Smorgasburg here in LA, how do you find new chefs are breaking into the scene and what can they do to be unique? It takes more than delicious beautiful food to stand out these days.

RoyChoi3 karma

first bite especially in street food is still key. gotta capture the imagination on that first bite

sandleaz3 karma

Can you please explain what social justice is and what food insecurity is?

RoyChoi3 karma

no markets and fresh produce in our communities

kalesaji3 karma

How does it feel to know that whatever you do doesnt stop climate change?

RoyChoi19 karma

actually in the show we show how it can. number one start is our consumption of meat. if we can reduce that it will have a huge effect

District_953 karma

If you were to make a Korean fast food joint, what would be on the menu?

RoyChoi29 karma

mung bean pancakes!

DignityInOctober3 karma

Where I live we only have 2 large grocery chains, and neither of them has particularly good quality food. The thought has crossed my mind about what it would take to start a grocery store.

Given the economics of groceries (very low margins, perishable goods, and demand for large variety of food) How can new stores open and grow to offer food in new and under served areas like food deserts?

RoyChoi9 karma

never waste, stock what you can sell, treat it like am open air market mentality

MexicanRadio2 karma

Hey Roy. Thanks in advance for bringing Chego back to the westside. We've missed you deeply.

Do you ever plan bringing the specials/experimental menu back to Chego? I remember when Chego opened it was so exciting to get a new kind of bowl each week (or the Plan A, Plan B, Plan C, etc. burgers for a while there), but there hasn't been anything new there in quite a while.

RoyChoi5 karma

i will soon. promise

b1gmouth2 karma

When will Kogi Palms start serving Chego bowls and where will the new Palms location of Chego be?

RoyChoi4 karma

we do now online for delivery. looking to move in on same block hopefully

bugginout8882 karma

What restaurant do you like in St Louis?

RoyChoi-1 karma

anything by Gerard Craft, IMO's, and the frozen custard place Ted Drewes

clampy2 karma

Any word yet on when and where Chego is going to reopen? I need those Ooey Gooey Fries.

RoyChoi10 karma

alibi room and koi taqueria can fix you until we get back on our feet

elee02282 karma

I've heard that you are a big fan of Emeril Lagasse. Have you ever had a chance to meet him in person, and what was that like?

RoyChoi7 karma

yes, he is amazing to me. shout out emeril

geekteam62 karma

Hey Chef, huge fan of all your projects! One question: How come Kogi hasn't been turned into a national chain of trucks/brick n' mortar places?

RoyChoi0 karma

we like being independent. no one can tell us what to do

DOOOK2 karma

Hi Chef, I've been a huge fan since the early Kogi truck days. What is your current top 3 places to eat in LA?

RoyChoi7 karma

i've been eating at cafe gratitude a lot lately tbh. eating less meat

Lukaloo2 karma

Why did chegos move away from West LA area? That place was my go to! I still make the trip downtown for the OG. But it was so close :(

RoyChoi2 karma

moving is a part of life

GwnWest192 karma

Before you created Kogi tacos did you visit mexican food places and mirror mexican dishes to incorporate into your own cooking?

RoyChoi6 karma

i grew up around it

DOOOK2 karma

Hi Chef - You're widely known as the pioneer of the modern food truck movement. Food halls have now taken over as the next big thing in food. What are your thoughts on the sustainability of food halls? Is it a bubble waiting to pop? Also, what do you believe will be the next big movement in the food world?

RoyChoi1 karma

it's alright. i think it's reaching a bubble. would love to see it veer more towards hawker center culture and put them in all communities, not just chic ones

AFreudOfEveryone2 karma

What was it like being on Gilmore Girls?

RoyChoi9 karma

lorelai was amazing to me, really helped me through the scene. love goes out

Kingicez1 karma

Is it just me or does no one stop and look at a strawberry, trying to figure out how this beautiful fruit exists?

RoyChoi-1 karma

look at the ones in Japan and Oxnard

SorryIAteYourChild1 karma

NSFW but how did you break your bread? Also, how does your SO feel about your newfound inability? (assuming you have one)

RoyChoi1 karma

i don't understand your question

doublej12051 karma

Hey chef! Regular of Kogi for years now.

With your diversity of projects (Locol, Pot and Best Friends) I’m sure you’ve seen a huge number of unique challenges.

Has there been a consistent challenge that you’ve had to consistently learn from that spans all of your ventures?


RoyChoi7 karma

nothing lasts forever so don't get complacent. be honest and keep it moving

ciacco221 karma

First off, thank you for creating the most delicious burrito I’ve ever had. Second, when is Chego coming back? I loved that place!

RoyChoi4 karma

thank you, give us a little time

OhOhOhMyGosh1 karma

Honestly, is LocoL ever coming back?

p.s. Blown away the even though the food truck fad has started to fade away, Kogi still brings the longest lines.

RoyChoi1 karma


seanmharcailin0 karma

Do you know much about working with developers or city planners to ensure that plans are put in place to get rid of food deserts? I’m lucky to live walking distance to two great grocery stores, but there is a huge HUGE chunk of LA that is considered a good desert. I currently work at a Real Estate Association, and I believe it makes sense to collaborate across the board to ensure more affordable home ownership measures are brought to the legislature as well as regulation or incentives to aggressively tackle food insecurity.

We obviously need private sector support on this. What are your thoughts on creating meaningful change in communities that are so neglected?

RoyChoi1 karma

i don't get involved in politics but i try to make change from the ground

alacp12340 karma

Hey Chef, it was awesome seeing you open up Best Friend at Park MGM this New Years!

Why do people here automatically assume that caring about social justice (making sure everyone is treated fairly in society) is a bad thing? Why should we care about marginalized people especially when their food is involved?

RoyChoi-9 karma


AGentleBee-6 karma

Hi Roy. Big fan. Quick question: what is food, to you?

RoyChoi0 karma

nourishment and knowledge

Trans_am1978-9 karma

Do you know Chef Boyardee? If so, can you explain his ties to pedophilia and Nazis?

RoyChoi-2 karma

pedophilia is not funny my G

PizzaDeliverator-11 karma

"Social Justice Warriors" gave Trump the presidency and people are sick of them.

Dont you realize that calling yourself that will only alienate the crowd that no longer wants to hear how everything is offensive and there are 235235 genders?

The food industry has serious issues, it seems you get complimentary heroin with you chefs hat, dont you think its better to approach these questions in a more pragmatic way?

RoyChoi-3 karma

i am a warrior, of love

_whodie-15 karma

Do you do the pee pee poo poo?

RoyChoi1 karma

with a YooHoo