While browsing Netflix you may have come across a show simply called The Chef Show. The display image will show familiar face John Favreau and Gweneth Paltrow making food together in a kitchen. The trailer shows John eating and cooking with an all-star cast, including the Avengers Robert Downy Jr and Tom Holland.
But what might surprise you is the co-star of this show isn’t an actor or a musician. Yet they are one of the most well-known names in Hollywood. Their food truck is praised by studio execs, celebrities, and normal Hollywood citizens alike. But why is it you haven’t heard of them then? And how did a simple food truck owner rise to become a Hollywood superstar?
The chef in question is Roy Choi. A man of humble origins, born in South Korea, Roy was raised in California with his parents who ran a series of various shops. Groceries, Laundrette. Hairdressers. His family was slowly building a small scale empire of stores within their community. And from this Roy slowly learned a lot about both business and hard work.
Roy spent a lot of his adult life unsure of his destination. He went to school and then dropped out. He also spent some time teaching English in Korea but soon decided this also wasn’t for him.
In 1996 he began attending a culinary school, honing his passions for cooking. He also worked as an intern in New York City, learning from some of the best chefs around.
Roy spent years working with many chefs in various four and five-star restaurants he moved onto food trucks. At the time food trucks were more associated with hot dogs of greasy baseball food. But Roy wanted to imagine something different.
He marketed his trucks as gourmet. Serving restaurant-quality food at fast-food speeds. With the prices matching what you would expect from a food truck. And it didn’t take long before it all took off. He started with a gourmet taco truck, using only the finest ingredients, and slowly branched into deserts, using portable ice makers that work well to create complex and stunning ice-based deserts for a hot summer day.
And this truck caught the attention of one significant actor/producer. John Favreau. At the time John was in the middle of creating his new movie, Chef. And he needed someone to teach him the ins and outs of cooking. He wanted to present the Chef experience as authentically as he could. So he soon struck up a friendship with Roy and Roy started mentoring John in the arts of cooking like a chef.
The movie was a success. And it boosted John up in the Hollywood world. Soon he was working as a producer on bigger pictures. Eventually landing the role as producer on Iron Man, the start of the entire MCU. And John had a suggestion for who should provide the catering for the set. Roy Choi.
So, every few days of shooting, Roy would show up with his food truck. And the entire cast and crew would have the option of eating his food, paid for by the studio of course. And soon, through word of mouth, Roy began showing up on more movie sets. Eventually, he became a staple of Hollywood filming. Most big-budget movies will have one of Roy’s trucks present on set.
And he has slowly built up a fantastic list of connections. He knows nearly every major chef in Hollywood. He frequents all the hottest restaurants and is renowned by everyone who meets him. This just goes to show the power food has on people, even the most powerful people in the entertainment industry.