A Day in the Life of Roy Choi
I head downtown to my Kogi trucks with coffee and doughnuts or pasteles for the guys. We shake hands and hug as they prep for the day in the morning mist.
Hugs all around at Chego! The smells and sounds of cooking fill the air. I check in with one of our sous chefs, Marlen, then go over all the food and taste, taste, taste.
I go to Alibi Room, then A-Frame. I check in with the chefs there and taste more food, crack a stupid joke and tweak a dish, then it’s on the road again.
I pop by two lunchtime truck stops. It’s important for me to be engaged with the food and the people who cook and eat it.
Office time. I buckle down and check on payroll, accounts payable and other general business stuff.
I drive back to the lot and check on the transition of the trucks. My world is filled with traffic, dusk and the Kogi smell of meat and tortillas. I say good-bye to the morning crew and hello to the nighttime crew. I go over dinner routes, check on the food, give high-fives and then return to the restaurants.
I climb out of my banged-up orange Honda Element at Chego! to see the crew before checking on more food.
Once everything has settled into a kind of chaotic clockwork, I run a similar temperature check on Alibi Room in Culver City.
I go to A-Frame to run service for a while. The restaurant’s buzzing, with Vampire Weekend and Florence + the Machine playing in the background.
It’s time to head back to the streets and check on my trucks—I try for at least two a night, depending on the routes. Tonight it’s all about bowling alleys and the 91 Freeway. The people are always different, but the cravings are the same. I climb into the truck with my crew to help feed the waiting crowd of hungry patrons.
One cigarette, and I head home to crash.
PHOTOGRAPHS BY MATHIEU BITTON