The Hollywood Reporter's 20 Most Influential Chefs in Hollywood
No L.A. chef in recent memory has experienced as meteoric a rise as Choi, creator of Korean-inflected Mexican cuisine.
His roving Kogi food trucks, supported by oft-tweeted location updates, popularized a kimchi-and-kalbi taco that took the city by storm in 2008. He solidified his influence by making successive sensations out of Asian rice bowls (in a Chinatown mall, at Chego on 727 N. Broadway), picnic basics (in a renovated IHOP at A-Frame at 12565 W. Washington Blvd.) and home-style Jamaican staples (at Sunny Spot in Venice at 822 W. Washington Blvd.).
His gestalt -- egalitarian vibe, modest prices, unrestrained flavor-bomb cooking -- came to define the recession-rocked city while receiving rapturous reviews. "Chef-driven dining used to seem out of reach for a lot of people," says Choi. "These places help level the playing field."
Where else Choi eats: Tommy's, for the chili tamale and fries.