When you think fast food, what pops in your head? Was it McDonald’s? Taco Bell? Maybe KFC? Whatever it was, fast food is often associated with being greasy, unhealthy and cheap. You know you crave it from time to time. It might be for a simple crunchy taco or maybe you’ll go all out for a McGangBang. For those of you who don’t already know, it’s when you split a McDouble and add a McChicken in the middle – basically a heart-attack just waiting to happen. Even celebrities like Anna Kendrick can’t resist a late-night nomfest at Taco Bell – one of the many reasons she’s so freakin’ awesome. I don’t have a crush on her or anything…alright, maybe I do. Who can resist a pretty girl that isn’t afraid to admit she eats cheap tacos?
Anyway, there’s a new kid coming to town. Two geniuses of the culinary world have joined forces to create something that’s never been done before. They’re bringing high quality fast food to the masses at traditional fast food prices. We have yet to see how successful they will be in this endeavor but there’s one thing that is clear – they’re a bit “loco”.
Great Minds Think Alike
Food trucks and Michelin stars. Two things that aren’t usually associated with one another but that’s exactly what has transpired. Loco’l is the brainchild of Roy Choi, the chef behind L.A.’s ever-popular Kogi food truck, and Daniel Patterson, the Michelin star chef of Coi in San Francisco, and they have teamed up to bring their version of fast food to the public.
Roy Choi was one of the first pioneers of the food truck movement. The Kogi food truck serves up, what was at the time a crazy combination of Korean BBQ and Mexican street food. He brought something ground-breaking to the L.A. landscape and has inspired others to imitate his success. Korean BBQ tacos and burritos are so commonplace nowadays, but you can’t beat the original. To this day, Choi’s food trucks have an insane following in the Twitterverse. People are literally chasing after these meals-on-wheels just to get some tacos when they get word of their next location.
On the other end of the spectrum, Daniel Patterson is known for his modernist approach to cuisine. His restaurant, Coi, has consistently maintained a Michelin standard, having most recently been awarded two stars. Patterson stresses the use of local ingredients, and goes to an even greater extreme by foraging for a lot of the produce he uses in his kitchen. You’d never expect a chef known for his tacos, and a chef known for his avant garde approach to cuisine, to ever come together and make fast food of all things. So what exactly can we expect from these culinary giants?
From Inception to Eventual World Domination
Loco’l. What exactly does the name tell us about the concept? You remember those vocab review sessions from Spanish class back when you were in high school? Search through that noggin of yours. You probably stumbled across the world “loco”; this translates to crazy. And when you pronounce Loco’l doesn’t it sound exactly like “local?” So now combine the two and you get Loco’l. Mind-blown.
Both Roy Choi and Daniel Patterson adamantly believe that fast food can be affordable, as well as use high quality ingredients prepared by chefs. When I say affordable, I mean they’re going to do the unthinkable and make a 99-cent burger just like any other fast food joint. Now expand that scope and think of the possible menu items that will come out of the mind of two brilliant chefs. Roy believes that the possibilities are endless, from Middle East street foods like falafel and shawarma to more Asian-inspired noodle or rice bowls – not to mention dessert too. Fast food will no longer be branded with just the image of a burger and fries. Loco’l wants to change that so people can experience more than just the norm.
So now that we got the “loco” explanation out of the way, let’s get down to explaining local. According to their website they intend to be both locally sourced as well as community based. Their thought process is simple enough – the ingredients they hope to use will be top quality because they’ll be using the resources they have around them. You won’t find imported veggies or meat here. In addition to this, they’ll be helping the local economy by not only sourcing from nearby farms, but also employing those who live in the community. And that makes complete sense because these are the people who represent the area where Loco’l will be making a home. It’s only logical that the first two locations will be in San Francisco and L.A. These are the two cities that Patterson and Choi have made a home. So what do you think? Is this mission impossible?
Ready to Join the Revolution?
Loco’l has decided to utilize crowd-sourcing as the foundation for acquiring its start-up funds. Choi and Patterson want you to be a part of the experience from start to finish; inception to eventual world domination. Similar to Kickstarter, Loco’l lets you choose to donate as much as you want, but this time around there’s an added incentive of getting certain perks depending on how much you decide to splurge. From a single dollar’s worth of donations to a few thousands, if you just happen to be rolling in a mound of hundred dollar bills right now. Perks range from a simple sticker to Loco’l apparel, and even a masterclass with either Choi or Patterson. If anyone’s got any spare change hanging around I wouldn’t mind taking it off your hands and getting a signed cookbook. Those cost $100 so I’m hoping spare change runs in the form of large bills – PayPal and Venmo work just as well. Please and thank you.
— loco’l (@welocol) February 18, 2015
You know it’s pretty legit when you’ve got celebrities and high-profile chefs endorsing Loco’l on Twitter. Choi must have had a pretty big influence on Jon Favreau when they met during the filming of Chef because he even posted a short clip of himself telling the world to donate to the cause.
— Michael Voltaggio (@MVoltaggio) February 24, 2015
Chefs Richard Blais, Michael Voltaggio and Graham Elliot are three more chefs that I really respect and look up to. If chefs of this caliber are backing them there’s got to be a good reason why. They believe in the concept. They want to knock this idea out of the park and change the way people eat. People shouldn’t be stuffing themselves with nasty fast food because they can’t buy anything else. Loco’l hopes to change this by bringing food that is of chef-worthy quality at prices that everyone can afford. So jump on the bandwagon because this is going to change the way we think about fast food forever. No doubt.
If you want to stay in the loop, follow Loco’l, Roy Choi and Daniel Patterson at @welocol, @RidingShotgunLA and @dcpatterson, respectively.