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, TowsonCopyright 2017 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.
With crackling energy and dramatic flair, Martin (Alice Waters and the Trip to Delicious) and newcomer Lee pay tribute to Roy Choi, whose cooking melds the Korean flavors he grew up with those of his California home--"Los Angeles on a plate." 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." Ages 5-12. (June)Copyright 2017 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.