Teaching Students About Roy Choi

Teaching students about Roy Choi is an excellent way to inspire a new generation of chefs and food enthusiasts. Roy Choi, a Korean-American chef and entrepreneur, is often credited with popularizing the modern food truck movement in the United States. He is also known for his innovative cuisine, which combines Asian flavors with classic American dishes, creating unique and delicious meals. In this article, we will discuss the importance of teaching students about Roy Choi and explore how his story can be used to motivate and inspire young people in the realm of cooking.

Early Life and Career:

Teaching students about Roy Choi’s early life and career can help them understand the challenges he faced before becoming a successful chef. Born in South Korea and raised in Los Angeles, Choi’s love for cooking began at a young age as he watched his parents run their own restaurant. He was also influenced by the diverse culture of Los Angeles, which sparked his interest in fusion cuisine.

Despite dropping out of university, Choi eventually enrolled at the prestigious Culinary Institue of America (CIA) and embarked on his culinary journey. After graduating from CIA, he struggled to find his identity as a chef until he had a life-changing experience while eating from a taco truck.

Kogi BBQ Food Truck:

The creation of Kogi BBQ food truck is an integral part of Roy Choi’s narrative due to its significance in revolutionizing street food culture. Partnering up with Mark Manguera, they launched Kogi BBQ in 2008 as one of the first fusion food trucks featuring Korean-Mexican flavors. The Kogi BBQ truck became an overnight sensation on social media, paving the way for a new street food movement.

Chego!, A-Frame, LocoL, and Other Ventures:

Beyond Kogi BBQ, share with your students how Choi expanded his culinary empire including restaurants like Chego!, A-Frame, and LocoL. In particular, LocoL is an important venture highlighting his deep passion for food and community by creating affordable and healthy fast-food options in underprivileged neighborhoods.

Teaching Approach:

When teaching students about Roy Choi, focus on:

1. Overcoming obstacles: Choi’s journey was not a smooth one; he faced various setbacks but ultimately overcame them. This can inspire students to persevere in their pursuits.

2. Embracing cultural diversity: His fusion cuisine brings together diverse cultures, illustrating the importance of inclusivity and understanding other culinary traditions.

3. Emphasizing local and sustainable sourcing: Choi is an advocate for using local ingredients and supporting small businesses, important values to instill in future chefs.

4. Encouraging creativity and innovation: Choi’s unconventional approach to food can inspire students to think outside the box and explore new possibilities in cooking.


Incorporating Roy Choi’s story into your curriculum can serve as a brilliant source of inspiration for students interested in pursuing culinary arts. By learning about his life, innovations, and values, young minds will be encouraged to embrace diverse cultures, persevere through challenges, and think creatively. As future chefs or food enthusiasts embark on their culinary journey, they will carry forward the spirit of Roy Choi’s innovative and inclusive approach towards the craft of cooking.

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