Roy Choi infuses his signature Kogi truck dishes with kombucha


At first glance, Roy Choi is the coolest person in the room. Talk to him and eat his mouthwatering dishes, he becomes 10 times cooler. Learn about his mission to feed underserved communities with healthy food options and he becomes almost saint-like, but this L.A. native's newest endeavor is focused on reinventing the way we think about food.

This summer, Choi partnered up with KeVita to showcase the benefits of fermented foods in some of his most mouthwatering Kogi food truck and Chego-inspired dishes, such as a miso spinach salad featuring KeVita apple cider vinegar tonic turmeric ginger, a Cali cauli adobo bowl featuring tart cherry kombucha and a lime mint coconut mojita.

"I tried to really take the flavor of Kogi and Chego," said the chef. "Some of them are plays on dishes that exist but I [tried] to really be true to the flavor and culture of Kogi and Chego, and take a look through the lens of kombucha."

KeVita, a kombucha and probiotic brand, strives to combat and overpower the "bad" bacteria in your gut and ultimately helps balance and maintain your digestive system. Choi's partnership with the brand helps highlight the concept that healthy food can not only taste good, but it can also be available to everyone.

Although the famous food truck chef is all about maintaining gut balance, he reveals that it's okay to be "bad" every once in a while.

"There's nothing wrong with junk food," explains the chef. "It's all good to have Cheetos and candy and soda -- and a lot of health nuts may not agree with me on that -- but I think there's room for a romantic comedy and there's room for documentaries. You need that balance in life, you need room for fun food, but when that fun food becomes your only food, then that's when the problem exists."

Good food that is available to everyone is one of Choi's passions -- and he showed it with LocoL, an American restaurant that had several California locations. The eatery aimed to revolutionize the fast-food industry with healthy options, all while supporting the surrounding communities of color. In what was one of the most heartbreaking moments for Choi, the restaurants closed their doors after two years.

"LocoL is not dead, but it is definitely limping," said the chef. "I have a lot of people that I really, really care about that no longer have a job right now. So for me, I have to wake up to that reality every single day and continue past the headlines. I have to wake up every day and still look at a whole community in their eye and try to figure out how we don't give up and continue to bring prosperity to the neighborhood."

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Choi hopes that they will find a way to generate revenue, position themselves for a new round of investments and reevaluate the models they've been using.

"You got to be there for the ups and the downs," expresses the chef. "You can't just be there when it's the easiest."

All dishes mentioned can be found at his restaurant Chego, until October 31st.

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Originally published