Roy Choi: The food truck revolution that spread like wildfire

The LA food truck kickstarted a global movement thanks to Twitter, says Roy Choi.

In this interview chef Roy Choi talks about building a food empire armed with an old food truck , inventive culinary skills, street smarts and Twitter. 

Roy Choi is the chef behind Kogi, the Los Angeles food truck known for its combination of gourmet and street food cultures. Talking about the early days of Kogi and the rise of the food truck movement, Choi says: “I never had a template or even a direction for it. I was just living a normal life. I thought that you were supposed to go to work, do your job and get your pay cheque.”

But when Choi got fired and the pay cheques stopped coming he created his own food truck serving up the crowd-pleasing mash-up of Korean BBQ and Mexican tacos he’s become famous for. To build a following, he turned to Twitter, back then a little-known social media platform that had just been launched.

Choi says he would “roll up” to the next location that he’d tweeted about and see up to a thousand people waiting for Kogi.

He’s an intuitive reader of social trends. “As far as communication goes, we’re at this rapid pace,” he says about the world in general. “I believe that this is why Kogi spread so fast.”

“I think the best is still ahead of us as far as food trucks go.”

Today Kogi is only one part of Choi’s food empire. There are now restaurants, Chego and A-Frame; a cookbook-cum-memoir, L.A. Son; a hotel in Koreatown called The Line; and a series called Street Food, where Choi interviews and eats with guests such as Youtube personality, Michelle Phan And actor Jon Favreau.


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