Roy Choi, more intimately known as Papi to his Kogi BBQ co-workers, is the first food truck chef to be named “Best New Chef” by Food & Wine. The 22nd annual award, announced yesterday by Food & Wine Editor in Chief Dana Cowin, highlights ten rising culinary talents nation-wide. The winners will be featured in the July issue of the magazine and will attend the 28th annual Food & Wine Classic in June. “This year we have one of the most exciting rosters of Best New Chefs ever,” Cowin said in a press release. “They represent every frontier of cooking in America today, from an avant-garde chef in a remote area of Virginia to the mastermind behind the Korean taco-truck boom in Los Angeles.”
Members of the Kogi team are a little more than excited about the honor. In a blog posted today on the truck's Web site titled “congraturations, papi! heLL muthafuckin YEAH!!”, Alice Shin, creative director of Kogi writes, “Look — Papi is a cLassicaLLy trained chef who came up through some reaLLy prestigious and hardcore kitchens. And his core business now stems from a TACO TRUCK?…now he's working on RICE BOWLS in the middLe of a forgotten strip maLL? What do you think he's trying to teLL you?”
Also dubbed “Best New Chefs” are: Matt Lightner of Castagna, Portland, Ore.; Clayton Miller of Trummer's on Main, Clifton, Va.; Missy Robbins of A Voce, New York ; Jonathon Sawyer of the Greenhouse Tavern, Cleveland ; Alex Seidel of Fruition, Denver ; Mike Sheerin of Blackbird, Chicago; John Shields of Town House, Chilhowie, Va.; Jason Stratton of Spinasse, Seattle, and James Syhabout of Commis, Oakland.