By: Lance Lorca and Aram Winter
Los Angeles, The City of Angels: one of the most diverse places in the entire world. People from all over the world immigrate to this city with hopes of a new life and bright future. Sometimes, those dreams are met and sometimes they are not. In the book L.A. Son by food truck king Roy Choi, we go on a grand adventure, riding shotgun with him through his own experiences in the city and throughout the world.
The book is truly a rollercoaster ride of emotions, blessings, and catastrophes. Roy Choi, one of the founders of the food truck business started out as a result of the immigration boom in Los Angeles. He grew up in the beginnings of a humble neighborhood which is known today as Koreatown. His early childhood was a struggle for his parents, who worked different jobs and had to close many doors in their lives just to make ends meet. As an American-Korean he was a minority and grew up joining various gangs that led him to trouble. Throughout his high school and college years, he slowly started to drift away from his family causing him to devote his time to the casinos and clubs. His life became a mess until he realized he needed to return back to his roots and become a serious adult with a job, rather than a big time gambler. He enrolled in the Culinary Institute of America where he learned how to cook from the best and ventured on internships around the globe. While pushing himself to the limit, the grind of the kitchen burnt him out which ended his fine dining career. But everything changed when a friend from one of his many jobs called him with the craziest idea. With nothing to lose, he purchased a run-down catering truck. At that moment, the Kogi Food Truck Empire began.This book in my opinion is one of the most unconventional books to hit the shelves. It is a hybrid of autobiography and cookbook, where at the end of each chapter comes a small collection of his own recipes. Each chapter is written so vividly that one may feel like they are in Roy’s shoes, especially during his times of struggle where the book pulls on your heartstrings. My favorite element of the book is whenever he writes about a restaurant in Los Angeles, describing its location and how the flavors of it truly make a person proud to be an Angeleno. It truly is a book for any L.A native, with descriptions and language that make your mouth water.Although this book has a lot of various profanity to emphasize his emotions, I would truly recommend this book to anyone. It is an inspiring tale of one going through multiple struggles in which many people can relate to. It also is an absolutely fantastic book for anyone that dreams to be a chef, so that they can understand the struggles and hardships of the kitchen. Roy Choi’s autobiography and cookbook L.A. Son: My Life, My City, My Food is truly a meal for the reader that hungers for a satisfying story.