After singlehandedly launching the food truck movement with his now infamous Korean-style tacos, chef Roy Choi has opened a string of new eateries at one of LA’s hottest new hotels, The Line, which shines the spotlight on Korean gastronomy — and vegetables.
Along with Pot, a Korean hot pot restaurant, and Cafe, a collision of East meets Latin American desserts, Choi’s latest restaurant project, Commissary, opened its doors at The Line, a rooftop, light-infused greenhouse with a special emphasis on the humble vegetable kingdom.
In an Instagram post for the opening of the new restaurant, Choi says that Commissary represents the “final stanza” in his restaurant career, where he hopes to make the humble vegetable “relevant to a new generation by just making them fun”.
If his smash success with Kogi BBQ is anything to go by, consider the opening of a vegetable-centric restaurant likewise an important move: You can bet that the food world is watching.
Because Choi is a chef and entrepreneur to be reckoned with. He is considered a pioneer, having revolutionised the “fast food industry” by selling Korean-style tacos out of a mobile truck that blasted its location over Twitter.
Not only did the scheme catch fire in the US, but it’s been replicated across the Atlantic, seducing even finicky Parisians who have embraced the idea of eating out of a truck. Standing up. With their hands.
For being a trailblazer in the food truck world, Choi served as a culinary consultant to Jon Favreau’s latest food film, “Chef”.
It’s not just Choi who’s making vegetables sexy. There’s Dan Barber in New York, who gives beets, carrots and potatoes the starring role in his dishes at Blue Hill. There’s René Rezepi of Noma in Copenhagen, credited with resuscitating the foraging trend. And of course, there’s Alice Waters of Chez Panisse in California, the godmother of organic vegetable dining.
At Commissary, located in the heart of LA’s Koreatown, he wants to “build a country club, for the public”. Democratise the art of eating. Much like he did in his career, ultimately choosing to parlay his classical training at the Culinary Institute of America and his kitchen experience at the Michelin-starred Le Bernardin into US$3 (RM9.60) tacos sold out of a retrofitted roaming truck.
The restaurant will also be used to spotlight local producers and farmers in Southern California.
Choi has also become an unofficial ambassador of Korean cuisine along with his East Coast fraternity chef brother David Chang, both of whom have popularised the punchy, spicy flavours of Korea in the US through their imaginative and interpretive menus.
Commissary, 3515 Wilshire Blvd., Koreatown, 213-381-7411
Roger Scoble blogs about the latest gadgets, travel and luxury news. A graduate of UCLA, Roger loves to travel, drive luxe autos and have amazing adventures.