Sunday 25th February 2018,

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Chefs Roy Choi, Daniel Patterson may revolutionize the fast-food industry

posted by Randall
Chefs Daniel Patterson and Roy Choi opened the Watts outlet of Loco'l.

Chefs Daniel Patterson and Roy Choi opened the Watts outlet of Loco’l.

By Ed Diokno
Can fast food be healthy? Or, the converse to that question, can healthy food, that you usually find in high end restaurants, meet the demands of fast food, inexpensive, tasty and fast?
Noted chefs Roy Choi and Daniel Patterson brought their gourmet food to Watts to  challenge the notion that chef-created dishes have to be costly and “fast food” has to be greasy and fried.
“The core of the idea is how do we get the food to be 99 cents and sit right next to a Popeye’s and sit right next to a Church’s or a KFC?” Choi told the Los Angeles Times. “That’s where the chef’s mind comes in.”
If Choi and Patterson are right, McDonalds, Burger King and Taco Bell might be shaking in their grease-splattered boots.


Loco’l’s fare looks and tastes like fast foThey had planned to open their first collaboration in San Francisco’s Tenderloin, a neighborhood out-of-towners are told to avoid. Encountering complications with the site, they decided to focus on the Watts location to open Loco’l.


The line starting forming around 7:30 a.m. for the 11 a.m. grand opening. Opening on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day was a statement by the chefs.

A Rand Corp. study found that from 2007 to 2012, the percentage of people who were overweight or obese was increasing everywhere but especially in neighborhoods where the only dining out options are your typical fast-food outlets.
RELATED: Roy Choi and friends launch a fast-food revolution


The idea for Loco’l began a couple of years ago at a symposium for chefs from around the world meeting in Copenhagen. Choi, whose fusion offerings from his food trucks revolutionized the food industry, stood in front of the some of the best chefs in the world and talked about hunger.

“We have a hunger crisis in Los Angeles,” Choi told the international audience. “In many parts of our city, this is how we supply our neighborhoods: liquor store, liquor store, liquor store.”
After the symposium, Choi was contacted by Daniel Patterson, who at the time, was executive chef at Coi, one of the fine-dining restaurants in San Francisco. Together they merged their ideas to develop Loco’l.
The two chefs hope to open the Tenderloin restaurant and an Oakland outlet this summer.

Roy Choi and Daniel Patterson.

Roy Choi and Daniel Patterson.


“We fundamentally believe that wholesomeness, deliciousness and affordability don’t have to be mutually exclusive concepts in fast food,” state’s Loco’l’s website. “We believe that fast food restaurants can truly empower the communities they currently underserve. We believe that the giant corporations that feed most of America have degraded our communities by maximizing profits over decades. We believe that chefs should feed America, and not suits.”


Loco’l in Watts at 11 a.m. and will stay open until 10 p.m. at Wilmington Avenue and East 103rd Street. It closes on Mondays.
“If [Locol] becomes successful and it grows, then these kids will grow up with this as a memory and impression on their lives,” Choi said. “A lot of the [adults] in this community didn’t have this impression, memory, or experience growing up. Now, these kids will. That alone will change things. Their first and only experience with food won’t be fast food or processed food. It will be natural food.”
Let the revolution begin!
(Ed Diokno writes a blog :Views From The Edge: news and analysis from an Asian American perspective.)

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