Chef Roy Choi and the Street Food Remix

Born in Korea and raised in Los Angeles, Roy Choi is a professionally trained chef-turned-"street cook" who wants "outsiders, low-riders, kids, teens, shufflers, and skateboarders to have food cooked with care, with love, with sohn-maash," or "the flavors in our fingertips... the love and cooking talent that Korean mothers and grandmothers mix into their handmade foods." After a celebrated career in high-end restaurants, Choi, overwhelmed by the pressure, lost his job. When a friend made the crazy suggestion that they start a Korean taco truck, Choi agreed, wanting to "remix the tastes he loved on the streets that were his home." Their unusual blend of cultural tastes became a street food sensation with "Koreans with Latinos, kids with elders, taggers with geeks"--everyone, in other words. Next, Choi and another chef friend began opening fast-food spots in "hungry neighborhoods" to "feed good food, create worthy jobs, and bring smiles." This venture, too, was a success, putting Choi's worries--"Would people care about soulful fast food?"--to rest. Choi continues to bring his "mad cooking skills" and fresh, local ingredients to the urban landscape, encouraging everyone to eat and cook with love.

Chef Roy Choi, book three in Jacqueline Briggs Martin's Food Heroes series (Alice Waters and the Trip to Delicious; Farmer Will Allen and the Growing Table), is co-authored by food ethnographer June Jo Lee who, like Choi, was born in Seoul, Korea, in 1970 and moved to California as a child. Internationally renowned Mexican-American graffiti artist Man One brings his up-close-and-personal spray-paint, pencil and digital art to this unusual and inspiring picture book biography. --Emilie Coulter, freelance writer and editor

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