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Why 2014 Was LA Chef Roy Choi's Year

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10 reasons why the Kogi chef was everywhere this year.

Eric Charbonneau/Eater LA

In 2014, everything was coming up Roy Choi. From opening new restaurants to consulting on the Jon Favreau film Chef to announcing an upcoming healthier fast food restaurant, here's a list of 10 things Los Angeles chef Roy Choi did to dominate 2014. Have a look:

1) Roy Choi Taught Jon Favreau a Thing or Two About Cooking for Chef...

Photo: Eric Charbonneau/Eater LA

Roy Choi was the culinary muscle behind the year's biggest food film, Jon Favreau's Chef. The mentorship actually began last year, and 2014 was more about watching the fruits of that labor pay off as Chef won over the food world. More than just a mentor, Choi even cut certain details from the film, Favreau told Eater.

2) ...Which Led to Pop-Ups and Plans for a Favreau/Choi Restaurant

Photo: Merrick Morton/Open Road Films

Roy Choi presided over many, many pop-ups of the El Jefe cubanos concept featured in the movie Chef. Soon, rumors swirled that Favreau and Choi would open a brick-and-mortar El Jefe restaurant together. In September, Favreau admitted this brick-and-mortar is something the duo is actively planning. Sound too good to be true?

3) Roy Choi Opened Two Hit Restaurants

This year Roy Choi opened two restaurants at The Line Hotel in LA's Koreatown: POT and Commissary. POT opened first — after a crazy animated video trailer — serving up riffs on Korean classics, stews, and noodle bowls. Later in the year, Choi welcomed the world to Commissary, a stunning rooftop greenhouse restaurant with a focus on vegetables. Check out photos of Commissary above.

4) Roy Choi Got His Own CNN Web Series

This year, Roy Choi unleashed his highly-anticipated CNN web series Street Food. He teased the nation with previews, and then delivered episode after episode of Los Angeles-based food exploration.

5) He Laid the Groundwork for a Fast Food Revolution

Loco'l Website

[Screengrab: Official Website]

At this year's MAD Roy Choi announced his plans for Loco'l, a new kind of healthy fast food chain he is creating with San Francisco chef Daniel Patterson. The road to their affordable but nutritious fast food mecca has had some bumps — including a trademark infringement issue — but the chefs have secured a space in San Francisco for their first location. Next up: LA, Oakland, Detroit, and the world.

6) Roy Choi Teased New York City

On a visit to New York this summer, Roy Choi got that city's hopes high when he declared he was "ready to try and make New York happen." There hasn't been much word of it since, but New York City is waiting with baited breath for Choi's #next move.

7) Roy Choi Made Hello Kitty Spam

Photo: courtesy the SPAM® brand

He worked with Spam to make musubi in the shape of Hello Kitty. It is adorable and an unequivocal victory for humankind.

8) Roy Choi Parked a Food Truck in LAX

Thanks to Roy Choi, travelers passing through LAX can now eat delicious Korean-meets-Mexican street tacos from his mega-popular Kogi truck right in the terminal. This is a very good thing.

9) He Embraced New Technologies

This year Roy Choi showed the world what Google Glass can do in a kitchen. He made an awesome video and a compelling case for wearable technology. Also, is there anybody besides Roy Choi who could make the nerd trophy seem cool? Probably not.

10) He Gave Great Twitter

In 2014, Roy Choi dominated the culinary Twitter field. His tweet game was so on point that Eater named his 2014's Twitter Personality of the Year. Head over to @RidingShotgunLA to see why.


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