If you somehow haven't watched Gilmore Girls: A Year In The Life yet, be warned. Mild, but not medium or hot spoilers are to follow. Chances are, though, you've launched into "Winter" and have noticed a strange man occupying Sookie's spot. Who is Roy Choi in Gilmore Girls, and how did he end up in the Dragonfly Inn kitchen? Well, it looks like the Stars Hollow hub has been staffing a bunch of famous, real life chefs for pop-ups, and Choi is the first casualty we witness in the revival.
Lorelai dismisses the celebrity cook by calling him "the Food Truck guy," while Michel embellishes Choi has, "a fleet of food trucks, three restaurants, and a massive online following." Lorelai, still missing Sookie, is unimpressed that Choi is a "Tweeter." And while these labels all superficially describe the Choi, let's break down Choi's credentials a little more specifically shall we?
As far as his background goes, Choi was born in South Korean, raised in Los Angeles, and was valedictorian of his class at the prestigious Culinary Institute of America, so early on there was promise that he'd merge these elements in an interesting way. However, Choi actually began his career as a hotel chef in the '90s, tackling such hospitality institutions and chains as the Hiltons and Embassy Suites. After bolstering his craft in the kitchen, he decided to move his dishes to the streets... or rather, Venice Beach.
The late 2000s saw Choi joining forces with Mark Manguera and Caroline Shin-Manguera to found Kogi Korean BBQ, a food truck that serves out Mexican-Korean fusion delicacies. While initially the business started small, word quickly spread through the social network and within a year or so the Kogi brand was a hot commodity. 2010 saw Choi opening two sister restaurants and by the following year there were five Kogi food trucks on the streets. And in 2016, he finally officially gave Kogi BBQ an in-house location with Kogi Taqueria, a restaurant that among many things, boasts all the same items as the famous food trucks. So there you have it: a fleet of food trucks, three restaurants, and an empire.
Choi is widely credited for elevating food trucks from being a trashy way to grab lunch on the boardwalk to something hip and exciting. Kogi Korean BBQ has been called "the first viral eatery," by Newsweek due to the way it achieved popularity on social media, and Choi himself has received many accolades over the year, making TIME's 100 Most Influential People list in 2016 and 2011. Oh, and btw, Lorelai, Choi is totally a "Tweeter": he currently has upwards of 48,000 Twitter followers on his personal account alone, while the Kogi BBQ account has upwards of 149,000 fans. I think that loosely qualifies as a "massive following," don't you?
Unfortunately, no matter how accomplished Choi is, Lorelai's irrational loyalty to Sookie propels him from the pop-up spot, leaving the kitchen open for some other massively famous chef to pick up the slack. Oh well... although Choi's stay in Stars Hollow was short and sweet, I'm willing to bet that he'll have many fruitful future endeavors.
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