Creator of the Korean taco; executive chef and cofounder of the Kogi taco trucks in L.A.
The food: Birria (Mexican goat and chile stew). About 15 years ago, I got to be friends with the dishwasher at a Borrego Springs resort where I was working. Salvador's family had a food stand/restaurant in the Coachella Valley. They'd buy live goats and make birria. Once, he invited me to make it with him. There was a goat there, and we got it in a headlock. We butchered it and took it to the kitchen, and helped his grandma make delicious, wonderful birria. It showed me the deep roots of the culture of cooking.
How it changed me: I was really connected to the earth and where his family came from. At Kogi, we have 100 percent Latino kitchens. After all these years, my soul has become Latino. It's who I am.
Get Roy Choi's birria recipe.