Roy Choi

The Newborn Activist, Chef Of The Year, 2012

Why We Picked Him: The food world took a collective gasp when the Kogi King blogged in April that he might be turning vegetarian. We applaud his stance, an uncharacteristic move for the soapbox-shy chef. Choi has since become a regular volunteer at numerous local nonprofits. More important, he’s the only chef on this list whose cooking—which layers strong international flavors with L.A. street style—has changed the fabric of our city. Cause and Effect: “If I’m going to do anything with all that has happened in my life, I’m going to do it for kids. In our schools we’re funneling 1,800 kids in 28 minutes to eat crap—by the time they get their food, they have 9 minutes to eat. They can’t think about it. And that’s the culture we’re in.” 

Where to Find Him: Sunny Spot, A-Frame, Chego, Kogi