Culinary arts programs are a great way to start making your mark in the culinary world like legends Roy Choi and Daniel Patterson. This dynamic duo has teamed up to reinvent the way Americans view fast food, and they’re ready to take the concept nationwide as quickly as possible. Choi and Patterson announced their collaboration at the MAD4 Food Symposium, stating that the venture would be titled Loco’l. The chefs developed the name as a hybrid of local and loco, emphasizing elements of using local, seasonal ingredients while simultaneously challenging a long history of poor quality fast food in a crazy fashion. Loco’l epitomizes these concepts by looking to create high-quality fast food at a competitive price. However, Loco’l doesn’t intend to stop at simply raising the bar on fast food; the duo looks to build establishments that create community environments, offer good wages to workers and develop a more sophisticated restaurant aesthetic. Essentially, Choi and Patterson are taking on one of the biggest industries in the United States, and they are doing so with audacity and confidence.
The influence of MAD
Choi spoke about the food crisis in America during MAD3. Through the development of his food truck, Kogi, as well as his brick-and-mortar establishments, Choi has become a powerful chef internationally. Much of Choi’s focus is taking action to ensure that people of all backgrounds, especially those in inner cities, don’t go hungry. Patterson is very like-minded on this subject, and the two chefs took a mutual passion discovered at the MAD symposium and transformed it into what has become Loco’l.
In a joint letter posted on MAD’s website, the chefs state: “High-level chefs have an opportunity to do much more than just cook for the few people who can afford it. We can create real change, in this case by building a better business. As much as thoughtful articles and speeches and books are important in shifting how we think, they are not going to solve the food problems we have in our country. Our government certainly won’t solve them, either. We have to act if we want change.”
Choi and Patterson each have decades of food service experience. Now both renowned chefs, the duo have a wide range of connections in the culinary world to help them accomplish this new undertaking.
According to Eater, the first Loco’l is expected to open in San Francisco in 2015. Choi and Patterson have teamed up with Tartine Bakery chef Chad Robertson to develop healthy, wholesome burger buns. Burgers, among other fast food staples, will certainly be present on the menu, but the makeup of said foods will be different from those from a Burger King or McDonalds. Considering each Loco’l is going to have an in-house chef, the food will be healthier and tastier than its competitors. This is precisely what Choi and Patterson intend to do. To put it simply, these chefs aren’t just looking to compete, they want Americans to opt for real food rather than cheap, processed alternatives. And at a $6 price point, the duo can do so at the same cost per meal as major chains. Though Loco’l for the moment only has one confirmed location, Choi and Patterson are looking to bring the concept to every nook and cranny of the U.S.
In the same letter posted to MAD, the chefs wrote: “We will open in upscale malls and next to highways, in downtowns and trendy neighborhoods. But what will change everything is that we will also open in the inner city areas where there are only big corporate chains, places where you will never see real food or high quality operators.”