Roy Choi Had to Confront His Weed Demons in L.A. to Learn About Cannabis Cuisine
The chef’s new show Broken Bread tackles the drug war and legalization in his home city of L.A.
Roy Choi has lived four out of his nine lives, or so he says. The chef, most known for starting the food truck revolution with Kogi BBQ and scooping up a bundle of food awards, has five more lives to live, and with them, he wants to figure out how to take what’s broken in his world and fix it. “I’ve got a lot of experience under my belt, but I still have a very naive and idealistic outlook on life,” he says.
For his new show, Broken Bread, which premieres May 15 on Tastemade TV, he walked his hometown of Los Angeles and asked people for their stories—stories about homelessness and addiction, about food waste, about imprisonment, and about how to repair the inequalities in their communities.
The stories are divided into six episodes, each focusing on a specific topic. In the “Transformation” episode, he talks to the mayor of L.A. about workforce issues and visits a priest who gives bakery jobs to ex-gang members. The “Cannabis” episode features Choi hitting up a shiny new weed dispensaries for the first time, learning about cannabis cuisine, and then speaking with men still hurting from dealing marijuana while legalization hit the state of California.
Choi is making sure L.A. communities have an opportunity to see their stories told on Broken Bread by working with local PBS channel KCET, where the show will also premiere May 15.
“Public television is a very important thing for our human race, and it allows us the ability to discuss the elephants in the room and understand stories beyond the headlines,” Choi says. “What I feel I can do, now that public television has trusted me, is that I can somehow create a bridge to get that to the masses, make it pop culture.”
Choi spoke with Esquire about creating a forum for his city, balancing beauty with darkness, and making a television show to make a difference.
Founder & Interim Editor of L.A. Cannabis News