Chef Roy Choi and the Street Food Remix (Food Heroes)

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Chef Roy Choi calls himself a “street cook.”
He wants outsiders, low-riders,
kids, teens, shufflers and skateboarders,
to have food cooked with care, with love,
with sohn maash.

"Sohn maash" is the flavors in our fingertips. It is the love and cooking talent that Korean mothers and grandmothers mix into their handmade foods. For Chef Roy Choi, food means love. It also means culture, not only of Korea where he was born, but the many cultures that make up the streets of Los Angeles, where he was raised. So remixing food from the streets, just like good music—and serving it up from a truck—is true to L.A. food culture. People smiled and talked as they waited in line. Won't you join him as he makes good food smiles?

Jacqueline Briggs Martin, author of the Caldecott Medal winner, Snowflake Bentley as well as Farmer Will Allen and the Growing Table, and Alice Waters and the Trip to Delicious continues her Food Heroes series with Chef Roy Choi on people who change what and how we eat. Together with food ethnographer June Jo Lee and internationally renowned graffiti artist Man One, they bring an exuberant celebration of street food and street art.


Jacqueline Briggs Martin is the author of many award winning children’s books, including Snowflake Bentley, winner of the Caldecott Medal. Farmer Will Allen and the Growing Table, which was named an ALA Notable Children's Book and a "Best Nonfiction Books" by School Library Journal, was the first of her Food Hero series on people who changed what and how we eat. Alice Waters and the Trip to Delicious, the second book in the series, received a starred review from School Library Journal and was named a "CCBC Choices by Cooperative Children's Book Center. She enjoyed home cooking while growing up at her family farm in Maine, but also liked sampling from the Korean taco truck, ramen and congee at Roy Choi’s restaurants while doing research for the book. She lives in Mt. Vernon, Iowa, and tries to eat kimchi everyday. Learn more about her at jacquelinebriggsmartin.com.

June Jo Lee is a food ethnographer, spending her days visiting kitchens, dining rooms, and markets to understand how America eats. She’s a national speaker on food trends and consults with organizations from university campus dining to Google Food and has been featured in the New York Times. She is also co-founder of READERS to EATERS, publishing books to promote food literacy. Like Roy Choi, she was born in Seoul, South Korea, and moved to the U.S., where she grew up eating her mom’s kimchi. She now lives near Seattle, Washington. This is her first book. Learn more about her at foodethnographer.com.

Man One has been a pioneer in the Graffiti Art movement in Los Angeles since the 1980s. His work has been exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, The Getty, and Parco Museum in Tokyo, Japan, and others. His artwork has been shown in galleries around the world including Australia, Germany, Mexico and New Zealand. He has painted live on stage at some of the largest U.S. music concerts and festivals including tours for MTV with The Black Eyed Peas. He is the recipient of the Speaker and Specialist Grant by the U.S. State Department to work with children in Panama to build self-esteem through art. In 2002, he founded Crewest Gallery, the premiere street art gallery in L.A. to give graffiti artists a professional venue to showcase their work. In 2014, he relaunched Crewest as a lifestyle media company focused on creativity, art and design. A proud Chicano artist, he is a first generation American whose parents immigrated from Mexico to Los Angeles in the late 1960's. He ate his family's delicious Mexican recipes at home growing up, but Bob's Big Boy was his favorite spot to eat out. This is his first children's book. Learn about Man One and Crewest at manone.com and crewest.com.

 

Editorial Reviews


From School Library Journal
Gr 1–5—Spicy, sweet, colorful, tangy—all the words that authors Martin and Lee use to describe Roy Choi's Korean Mexican cuisine apply just as accurately to the book they've created along with L.A. street artist Man One. Choi's parents came to the United States from Korea when he was two years old, opening a family restaurant in Los Angeles. After stints as an aimless street kid and a cooking school—trained chef, he combined his local knowledge, Korean heritage, and chef skills to open a taco truck, serving Korean barbecued short ribs wrapped in corn tortillas and loaded with Roy's "awesome sauce." One truck turned into many, which led to his first stationary restaurant, Locol, in the Watts neighborhood of L.A. Choi's dedication to bringing wholesome, flavorful fast food to low-income neighborhoods is reflected in every word and stroke of this colorful book. The jaunty text has the rhythm of a griot's story ("What? Chefs cook in kitchens, not on trucks!") without sacrificing readability. Graffiti tags and airbrushed landscapes are the background for energetically warped cartoon illustrations. Lots of diagonals and brilliant colors capture the speed and flavor of street food served hot. One particularly effective sequence juxtaposes Choi in his chef's whites garnishing a plate of lamb chops with Choi, wearing headphones and a backward baseball cap, scratching a record while mixing up "awesome sauce" on the following page. In both spreads, the focus is on his skilled hands, the concentration evident on his face. If you're not hungry already, this savory array of sizzling words and art will make your mouth water. VERDICT This excellent picture book biography about an inventive chef doing good belongs on all shelves.—Paula Willey, Baltimore County Public Library, Towson

Review


• Robert F. Sibert Award Honor for Most Distinguished Informational Book, 2018
• Notable Children's Book, American Library Association
• Orbis Pictus Award Honor Book for Outstanding Nonfiction for Children 2018, National Council of Teachers of English
• Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People 2018, National Council for the Social Studies
• "Outstanding Merit," Best Children's Book of the Year 2018, Bank Street College of Education's Children's Book Committee
• Junior Library Guild Selection
• "CCBC Choices,” Cooperative Children's Book Center
• Texas Bluebonnet Award Master List, 2018-2019
• Rhode Island Children's Book Award nominee, 2019
• Finalist, INDIES Book of the Year Award 2017, Forward Review
• “Starred” review, School Library Journal
• “Starred” review, Publishers Weekly

“The perfect family gift.”―“Best Books of 2017,” Minnesota Public Radio

"Part biography, part culinary adventure, this vibrant and energetic book captures the essence of the LA street food scene. Graffiti-inspired art and hip-hop flavored text blend food, community and identity into a delicious feast for the eyes and ears that reflects the melting pot of America."
―Robert F. Sibert Award Honor for Most Distinguished Informational Book

"Author Jacqueline Briggs Martin and June Jo Lee remix authentic language and engaging text with eye-popping graffiti art by Man One. In this culinary celebration, cooking with love becomes food for the soul."
―Orbis Pictus Award Honor Book for Outstanding Nonfiction for Children

"Graffiti-inspired illustrations bring to life the story of food truck/fresh food movement pioneer Chef Roy Choi."
―Notable Children's Book, American Library Association

*Starred Review* “Spicy, sweet colorful tangy―all the words that authors Martin and Lee use to describe Roy Choi’s Korean Mexican cuisine apply just as accurately to the book they’ve created along with L.A. street artist Man One… Choi’s dedication to bringing wholesome flavorful fast food to low-income neighborhoods is reflected in every word and stroke of this colorful book… If you’re not hungry already this savory array of sizzling words and art will make your mouth water. VERDICT This excellent picture book biography about an inventive chef doing good belongs on all shelves.”
―School Library Journal

*Starred Review* “In clipped verse that draws on the rhythms of hip hop, the authors follow Choi from the launch of his Kogi food trucks to his efforts to “’feed good food create worthy jobs and bring smiles’ to ‘hungry’ parts of the city. Man One’s layered graffiti-style artwork mimics the narrative’s energy and Choi’s commitment to ‘cooking for everyone.’”
―Publishers Weekly

“This is one of the most exciting picture book biographies of the year. Come for the ramen endpapers. Stay for the killer story and art.”
―Fuse #8 Production blog, School Library Journal

“The third installment in the Food Heroes series presents Roy Choi and the Los Angeles street-food scene. Breezy text and lively illustrations invite young readers and cooks into the world of the food revolution happening across the country… Man One's graffiti-art style is the perfect complement to Choi's cooking and the lively LA street scene… A vibrant, life-affirming tribute to a chef and his city.”
―Kirkus Reviews

"With street-art-inspired illustrations, Martin and Lee tell the story of Roy Choi, a Korean American chef who combined his favorite flavors―his mother’s home-style Korean food and the street food of L.A.―into a culinary revolution… Man One’s graffiti-like artwork, filled with stylized figures, neon colors, and paint splatters, emphasizes Choi’s urban origins as well as the dynamic, multicultural environment that inspired his particular brand of fusion. With an energetic message of thinking outside the box, this lively picture-book biography will give kids plenty to savor."
―Booklist

“Chef Roy Choi and the Street Food Remix is like a short-rib taco served straight from the truck--inspired, unexpected, and just so good. Roy is a reflection of his city--its creativity, its diversity, its possibility. This book is a must read for all chefs, aspiring chefs, and those of us who know the best recipes are coming out of LA.”
―Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti

"Bold graffiti and staccato writing are just right for this Korean American foodie, proponent of fusion and inclusion."
―San Francisco Chronicle

“Killer art accompanies the true to life picture book biography of Roy Choi, the man who brought high end cuisine and street food together so that everybody could have an equal chance to eat. Special Bonus: Ramen endpapers.”
―Evanston Public Library’s 101 Great Books for Kids List

“A fascinating story and incisive text are matched perfectly with art whose energy jumps off the page. Bursting with flavor and color, this book is a FEAST!”
―Linda Sue Park, Newbery Medal winner, first-generation Korean-American

“While this is the story of how Choi overcame professional hardships and opened his own business, it is also the story of how he combined the two cultures of his childhood into something successful. It is the story about how you don’t have to forget any part of yourself in order to be accepted, and how taking that risk to show others every part of you is worth it.”
―Northwest Asian Weekly

“Every time I re-read this book, it makes me happier… One of the main ingredients for this LA-connected book is street art turned into book art by Man One. Don’t miss the authors’ and illustrator’s notes in this book. They will have your students wanting to know more about these talented book creators… This is a book filled with so much respect for readers eaters and kids with aspirations … it’s completely satisfying.”
―Bookology

 

From the Inside Flap

Chef Roy Choi calls himself a “street cook.”
He wants outsiders, low-riders,
kids, teens, shufflers and skateboarders,
to have food cooked with care, with love,
with sohn mash.

"Sohn maash" is the flavors in our fingertips. It is the love and cooking talent that Korean mothers and grandmothers mix into their handmade foods. For Chef Roy Choi, food means love. It also means culture, not only of Korea where he was born, but the many cultures that make up the streets of Los Angeles, where he was raised. So remixing food from the streets, just like good music—and serving it up from a truck—is true to L.A. food culture. People smiled and talked as they waited in line. Won't you join him as he makes good food smiles?

Jacqueline Briggs Martin, author of the Caldecott Medal winner, Snowflake Bentley as well as Farmer Will Allen and the Growing Table, and Alice Waters and the Trip to Delicious continues her Food Hero series with Chef Roy Choi on people who change what and how we eat. Together with food ethnographer June Jo Lee and internationally renowned graffiti artist Man One, they bring an exuberant celebration of street food and street art.
From the Back Cover

Chef Roy Choi calls himself a "street cook."
He wants outsiders, low-riders,
kids, teens, shufflers and skateboarders,
to have food cooked with care, with love,
with sohn mash.
"Sohn maash" is the flavors in our fingertips. It is the love and cooking talent that Korean mothers and grandmothers mix into their handmade foods. For Chef Roy Choi, food means love. It also means culture, not only of Korea where he was born, but the many cultures that make up the streets of Los Angeles, where he was raised. So remixing food from the streets, just like good music--and serving it up from a truck--is true to L.A. food culture. People smiled and talked as they waited in line. Won't you join him as he makes good food smiles?

Jacqueline Briggs Martin, author of the Caldecott Medal winner, Snowflake Bentley as well as Farmer Will Allen and the Growing Table, and Alice Waters and the Trip to Delicious continues her Food Hero series with Chef Roy Choi on people who change what and how we eat. Together with food ethnographer June Jo Lee and internationally renowned graffiti artist Man One, they bring an exuberant celebration of street food and street art.

About the Author

Jacqueline Briggs Martin is the author of many award winning children’s books, including Snowflake Bentley, winner of the Caldecott Medal. Farmer Will Allen and the Growing Table, which was named an ALA Notable Children's Book and a "Best Nonfiction Books" by School Library Journal, was the first of her Food Hero series on people who changed what and how we eat. Alice Waters and the Trip to Delicious, the second book in the series, received a starred review from School Library Journal and was named a "CCBC Choices by Cooperative Children's Book Center. She enjoyed home cooking while growing up at her family farm in Maine, but also liked sampling from the Korean taco truck, ramen and congee at Roy Choi’s restaurants while doing research for the book. She lives in Mt. Vernon, Iowa, and tries to eat kimchi everyday. Learn more about her at jacquelinebriggsmartin.com.

June Jo Lee is a food ethnographer, spending her days visiting kitchens, dining rooms, and markets to understand how America eats. She’s a national speaker on food trends and consults with organizations from university campus dining to Google Food and has been featured in the New York Times. She is also co-founder of READERS to EATERS, publishing books to promote food literacy. Like Roy Choi, she was born in Seoul, South Korea, and moved to the U.S., where she grew up eating her mom’s kimchi. She now lives near Seattle, Washington. This is her first book. Learn more about her at foodethnographer.com.

Man One has been a pioneer in the Graffiti Art movement in Los Angeles since the 1980s. His work has been exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, The Getty, and Parco Museum in Tokyo, Japan, and others. His artwork has been shown in galleries around the world including Australia, Germany, Mexico and New Zealand. He has painted live on stage at some of the largest U.S. music concerts and festivals including tours for MTV with The Black Eyed Peas. He is the recipient of the Speaker and Specialist Grant by the U.S. State Department to work with children in Panama to build self-esteem through art. In 2002, he founded Crewest Gallery, the premiere street art gallery in L.A. to give graffiti artists a professional venue to showcase their work. In 2014, he relaunched Crewest as a lifestyle media company focused on creativity, art and design. A proud Chicano artist, he is a first generation American whose parents immigrated from Mexico to Los Angeles in the late 1960's. He ate his family's delicious Mexican recipes at home growing up, but Bob's Big Boy was his favorite spot to eat out. This is his first children's book. Learn about Man One and Crewest at manone.com and crewest.com.