"Here’s the story you may have heard about Locol: In 2013, Roy Choi spoke at the MAD Symposium in Copenhagen, the TED Talks of the food world, and called on his fellow chefs to think beyond feeding the rich. He stood in front of the audience of culinary luminaries, including Patterson, and asked them a question: 'What if every high-caliber chef, all of us in here, told our investors as we were building restaurants, that we leveraged it [so that] for every restaurant we would build… it would be a requirement to build a restaurant in the hood, too?' Three months later, Patterson called up Choi, and, long story short, the duo were back in Copenhagen the next year, an odd-couple pairing of the lanky, studious fine-dining chef and the hip-hop- and weed-loving food truck king. Together, they unveiled their plans to launch Locol, and a revolution.
With its burgers and fried chicken sandwiches, Locol is recognizably a fast-food restaurant, despite the absence of counter-service standards like soda and French fries. But the greasy paper wrapper of the Locol 'cheeseburg' is deceptive. The patty is not all beef, as other chains may proudly advertise: Thirty percent of it is composed of cooked grains and tofu. It’s served on a whole-grain bun leavened with koji, the fermentation culture used to make sake, soy sauce, and miso, which is designed to reproduce the soft texture of white bread without sacrificing nutritional density. The dishes served are punctuated with various Korean and Mexican touches, like breakfast sandwiches loaded with carnitas, or a noodle bowl flavored with ginger and lime."If you haven't read it, Choi's biography -- pretty much the confessions of a self-admitted first-generation Korean-American fuck-up who was rescued when he discovered his passion for cooking and bringing together the various flavors of southern California -- is a great, quick read. It also contains a recipe after every chapter, which is kind of brilliant.