6HWbNHN-show-poster2x3-c7tgE2Y.png

Artbound

Start watching
MJ250sC-show-poster2x3-Bflky7i.png

Tending Nature

Start watching
Southland Sessions

Southland Sessions

Start watching
HvlSxHY-show-poster2x3-4ik43uV.png

Earth Focus

Start watching
5LQmQJY-show-poster2x3-MRWBpAK.jpg

Reporter Roundup

Start watching
City Rising

City Rising

Start watching
Lost LA

Lost LA

Start watching
Member
Your donation supports our high-quality, inspiring and commercial-free programming.
Support Icon
Learn about the many ways to support KCET.
Support Icon
Contact our Leadership, Advancement, Membership and Special Events teams.

Famed L.A. Son Roy Choi to Host Socially-Minded New Food Program

Kogi food truck | Ted Soqui/Corbis via Getty Images
Support Provided By

In the eyes of revolutionary chef Roy Choi, food is about more than just cooking. It’s about feeding the soul. It’s about feeding the people. Wherever they live, whoever they are, wherever they stay, all over L.A. Bringing more eyes and ears to the issues around food has become Choi’s mission, which is why he is the new host of a new social-minded original food series produced by KCETLink and Tastemade called “Broken Bread,” slated for broadcast in early 2019.

“As the title suggests, we are going to take a look at the broken systems in our country and take off to find the good people on the ground doing things about changing those systems. A quest for goodness. A place where we can highlight amazing people doing amazing things,” says Choi, “There will be humor, music, tears, challenges, poetry, love, and action. A show with a lot of food; but not necessarily a food show. It’s time and the time is now.”

Roy Choi | Travis Jensen
Roy Choi | Travis Jensen

Choi’s passion is not only fueled by his explosive success in food, but also his immigrant background where he witnessed his parents hustling. “We moved a lot and we did a lot of things to survive,” says the perennially baseball-capped Choi in an interview with Reason

He’s also no stranger to L.A.’s many subcultures: the low-riding community, the skate community, the stoner-drug community, the gang community and the college community. “I’ve been through a lot of things in my life. It’s humbling,” says Choi on L.A. Weekly, “Because no one ever gave a shit about me before. So for people to give a shit about you, it's humbling and it means a lot.”

Be one of the first to get updates on this new show. Sign up for the newsletter below:

The many worlds he’s witnessed and lived through has helped him become a compassionate chef, who looks beyond the restaurant walls into the harsh realities of the world beyond. “I believe that chefs are maternal,” Choi says while on stage at MAD in Copenhagen, a symposium of the world’s top-tier movers and shakers in the food world.  “We feed people. Our nature is to care and take care of people.” That urge doesn’t cease once economic boundaries are drawn either, Choi feels strongly about the power of food to change the world. He knows he’s able to accomplish it too.

In 2008, he and his crew of friends and family started the street food revolution from behind the Kogi BBQ truck. Droves of people lined up to get a taste of his Korean-Mexican-inspired fare. From there, Choi went on to reinvent the rice bowl, redefine the communal table experience, flip the model on bar food and upend the staid hotel experience.  He’s fed people on almost every street in sprawling Los Angeles, yet he says it isn’t enough. “After all we had done [with Kogi BBQ], food wasn’t even close to them,” said Choi, referring to the people of South Central Los Angeles, where conditions are worse now than it was after the L.A. riots.

After an emotional breakdown, where he reflected on the futility of the past quarter-century (“I was there in ’92 and I’m here now,” he writes, “walk through South L.A., through the empty pockets of our youth, through the bedrooms of the abused, through the universe of Los Angeles street on Skid Row.  I don’t get the punch line and that shit ain’t funny.”)  he worked side by side with Thomas Jefferson High School students to develop and sell a fruit cup. “We just started doing fruit cups. We helped the kids build a café. We taught the kids Economics 101, marketing; helped with the flavor profiles and made a proposition to their friends: to buy this fruit cup with coconut milk, agave, fruit and lime juice for $1.” It was a challenge, considering the kids were eating plastic-sealed burgers, chocolate milk and candy, but in the end, community-run cafes serving smoothies popped up next to liquor stores and fast food joints.

Since then, Choi has proven he can be an outspoken voice for how food can make a difference in people’s lives. “Broken Bread” is his medium to explore the Hydra-headed issues of food and how people can be part of the solution. His explorations will be shared across the country and online on KCETLink.

Roy Choi - 1000
Chef Roy Choi at a Los Angeles Times Food Bowl event honoring the late Suthiporn “Tui” Sungkamee of Jitlada   | Courtesy of Tastemade

“As longtime admirers of Roy Choi, KCETLink is thrilled to be working with him on 'Broken Bread,'” said Juan Devis, Chief Creative Officer, KCETLink Media Group. “Choi brings social consciousness to food culture in a fresh, personal and unexpected way capturing the essence of Los Angeles and its people.

“People are hungry for this type of content,” said Oren Katzeff, Tastemade’s head of programming.  “It’s thrilling to work with KCETLink and explore how people are innovating new approaches to create a better world through food. We can’t think of a better person than Roy Choi to help shape this narrative with us and continue impacting communities in California and beyond.”

Top Image:  Kogi food truck | Ted Soqui/Corbis via Getty Images

Support Provided By
Read More
Close-up view of cherry blossoms in Little Tokyo.

Where to Find the Most Beautiful Blooming Trees in the L.A. Area

While L.A. may be more closely associated with palm trees lining its sidewalks and streets, this sprawling city and its surrounding municipalities is actually a horticultural delight of varied treescapes. Here are seven spots to get a glimpse of great blossoms.
A cup of ginjo sake paired with Tsubaki's kanpachi sashimi

Sake 101 Taught by Courtney Kaplan of Tsubaki and Ototo

Sake has existed for thousands of years. To help introduce and better understand this storied beverage, we turn to Courtney Kaplan, sommelier, sake aficionado and co-owner of restaurants Tsubaki and Ototo in Los Angeles.
An image of the French district in downtown Los Angeles. The image shows Aliso Street in downtown Los Angeles, California, with signs labeling buildings "Griffins Transfer and Storage Co." and "Cafe des Alpes" next to "Eden Hotel," which are located on opposite corners of Aliso and Alameda Streets. A Pacific Electric streetcar sign reads "Sierra Madre" and automobiles and horse-drawn wagons are seen in the dirt road.

What Cinco de Mayo Has to do with the French in Early L.A.

Cinco de Mayo is often celebrated wrongly as Mexican Independence Day, but a dig into the historical landscape of Los Angeles in the early 19th century reveals a complex relationship of French émigrés with a Mexican Los Angeles.