Roy Choi

time 100 2016 Roy Choi
Jake Stangel—August

Culinary trailblazer

Roy Choi first changed the world when he elevated the food-truck concept from “roach coach” to highly sought-after, ultra-hot-yet-democratic rolling restaurant. It was a new entrepreneurial model that allowed talented culinarians to make their mark without hundreds of thousands of dollars in investor money. Choi’s Kogi trucks also pioneered the use of social media as a marketing tool.

Now he and fellow chef Daniel Patterson are changing the world with their ambitious startup, LocoL, whose goal is to bring healthy food, at an affordable price, to underserved inner-city neighborhoods across America while employing residents of those neighborhoods—basically, replacing traditional fast food with a more positive, socially responsible institution. Chef, activist, film producer, restaurateur and author of a superb memoir, L.A. Son: My Life, My City, My Food, Roy Choi has put it all on the line to improve the quality of life for people few others seem to care about. It’s not a pose, it’s not a cause: it’s who he is.

Bourdain is an acclaimed chef and author and the host of CNN’s Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown

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