By Judy Shields
Los Angeles, California (The Hollywood Times) 5/5/2019 – “I believe public television, it’s been a part of my life forever and to be trusted to being a part of the legacy of moving it forward, to tell the truth of the stories beyond the headlines and put the faces and the voices on TV that never get a chance, its !ucking humbling. Through these stories, maybe, just maybe, we might change the world!” Roy Choi told the audience at The Wiltern Theartre for the screening of episode one of his new KCET show Broken Bread
Chef Roy Choi Celebrated Cinco de Mayo By Inviting Community to Free World Premiere Screening of KCET and Tastemade’s New Series BROKEN BREAD
Last Sunday, May 5, KCET and Tastemade held a free premiere screening event that was open to the public for the new series BROKEN BREAD at the historic Wiltern theatre in Los Angeles. Over 1,200 guests were welcomed with opening remarks from Tastemade co-founder and CEO Larry Fitzgibbon and social activist, restaurant entrepreneur and acclaimed chef Roy Choi.
The event celebrated the launch of BROKEN BREAD, Choi’s debut as host of a TV series, will premiere on May 15 at 8:30 p.m. PT with streaming on brokenbread.tv and on the free PBS App.
The free community event began with a reception catered by a variety of LA’s most engaged community organizations including Süprmarkt, Beyond Meat, PopCultivate, Hank & Bean, Homeboy Industries, Dough Girl, Seeds of Hope, Dough & Arrow, FoodCyle LA, Chefs to End Hunger, Food Forward and Bracken’s Kitchen where they hosted an interactive exploration of the power of food with samples offered up by Roy Choi’s Kogi Truck, Mariscos Jalisco and GD Bro Burger.
Guests included Actor Randall Park (Fresh Off The Boat, Always Be My Maybe), Actress Sharon Lawrence (NYPD Blue, Shameless), General Manager Department of Cultural Affairs Danielle Brazell, Sirius Radio DJ Jude Angelini, Taco Maria Chef Carlos Salgado, KTLA Anchor Frank Buckley, Hank & Bean’s Anna Rose Hopkins and Henry Fischer, KCET’s SOCAL WANDERER host Rosey Alvero, Tastemade’s COO Geraldine Martin Coppola and President and CEO of Public Media Group of Southern California Andrew Russell.
The screening was followed by a panel with Choi himself and featured some of the heroes highlighted in the series including activist Aqeela Sherrills, Supermarkt’s Olympia Auset, Dough Girl’s Mar Diego and Gangsta Gardener’s Ron Finley, moderated by Juan Devis. Following the screening and panel, guests enjoyed an after-party with music curated by Dan the Automator.
In BROKEN BREAD, Choi explores complex social justice issues and meets inspiring individuals and organizations who use food as a platform for activism as well as a catalyst for change. Choi takes viewers on a journey through his hometown, the city of Los Angeles, exploring complex social justice issues and meeting inspiring individuals who use food as a platform for activism and a catalyst for change.
The Hollywood Times had a one on one intervie with Chef Roy Choi:
THT: What does Broken Bread mean to you?
Roy Choi: “The name is dope, because you can’t stopping thinking about it. It’s a name that has a double entendres and it opens up all sorts of things. It could be just breaking bread together and talking and it could be about broken systems like we have. The ability of people on the ground trying to do something about it and us covering them. It could be that our whole existence is broken, that humanity itself and the earth is broken. You can take it as deep as you want or as conversational as you want. If we take it all the way, I think the show even touches on that extensional question ‘are we broken?’ Is what we are living right now is there a better way to life. That is what we kind of explore in the show.”
THT: What is the show going to be about?
Roy Choi: “We explore that existential question through the lenses of food. We look at the world in a similar way in which they admit that something is broken and that they are out there doing something about it. Their avenue of doing this is somehow through food, so where it is selling produce, whether it is reclaiming waste, or feeding the homeless through donations, developing a training program or making food accessible, all this we are looking at through that lens that everyone that is doing something with food, through food, helping and changing people’s lives. You will see it in the first episode.”
THT: Let’s talk about when your career in foods started.
Roy Choi: “I didn’t find my career until I was 28. (speaking to my 28 year old son) I don’t know what you are going through, but if you are going through something, I fell what you are going through because it’s a long time until 28 and if you don’t’ find something it until that time you start to question. What happens, the vines start to creep into your life. They start to erode and take you away from the feeling like there could be anything left. It depends on your state of mind of what you are going through. Things can become extremely destructive and they can rip away at you whole sole. It did for me through alcohol, drugs and gambling and just being an asshole and all that stuff. But I was one of the lucky ones. There are many out there that don’t have that last level of luck. So what I try to do is every day I try to put on for everyone out there going through it. My luck was that I found cooking! If I hadn’t found cooking that one day, that one moment that I was watching Emeril (Lagasse), that one turn of event, I definitely probably wouldn’t be up onstage tonight. I just have to say that for anyone that is going through anything, that it can literally happen in the most mundane unexpected moment in your life and everything can change. It really can happen like that and for me it happened lying on the couch watching TV. It can happen riding a bus and you see a sign and you get off and that becomes your job. Anything can happen at any time.”
THT: What would you like to say to our readers about your new show?
Roy Choi: “Support and viewership matters. We’ve done our part to make the best show that we can. But it’s about topics that normally don’t get their shine in main stream media. Loving people, taking care of people, going the extra yard of fixing a broken system and standing up for what you believe in. Those things are things we wake up with every day, but for some reason our modern media and pop culture does not enforce that. The idea that we hear all the time, that those things don’t sell, what sells is sex, drugs and rock n’ roll, right? that sells! This idea that we can be good to each other, we can do wholesome and holistic things that doesn’t “sell”. So what I would like to say to your readers, this is an opportunity where we are putting something out there and we got to show that it sells. The Asian community just went through that with Crazy Rich Asians, right, like that whole thing. As an Asian person we are always told that Asian lead characters and Asian led stories don’t sell. Crazy Rich Asians broke that myth and now you have the first stage of people that look like me getting leading roles that are going to be in movies and influence the next two generations where that will no longer be a question.
That is why the viewership matters. So if you are down with it and care about this stuff and our show is at least good enough for you to watch, spread the word, make everyone of your friends watch it, show that the viewership matters and that’s it!”
Roy Choi opened the night with an amazing speech and thanked everyone involved with his new show Broken Bread and talked about how he grew up watching KCET. Roy said this about the script for Broken Bread: “I opened it and it was like the Yellow Brick Road, each page was the Tin man, the Lion, the Scarecrow and there was everything I had been dreaming about my whole life. To tell the stories of those heroes on the ground fighting the good fight and the stories that mean so much to our universe that for some reason society decides to discard. It was a show if I could ever have a show, that I could only dream about, but never thought a studio would get behind it, so let’s get real, reality television sells, but reality doesn’t! HUGE APPLAUSE…”
“This was a chance to represent everything that I stand for, everything I stand with and continue this journey of learning in this thing called life. TV is hard, so they hooked me up with the director. I get really passionate about things. If someone says they care, I really want to see if they !ucking care! Meet me at the Burbank airport at 10 a.m. in the back booth facing the door at the coffee shop and he showed up and that was James Banner the director. From that moment it was on. I knew we could tell the stories right, I knew we could find the poetry, fight the fight, tell the truth and most of all, try to be the voice of the people confronting these broken systems. Know we are here at the Wiltern on Cinco de Mayo and I’m about to show you what we have been working on every single day for the last year. Thank you.” APPLAUSE
KCET’s SOCAL WANDERER host Rosey Alvero advice to Roy Choi about his new KCET show. “It’s fun to share stories and food is one thing that brings people together so he has a great platform.”
THT: What does broken bread mean to you?
Rosey: “I think it means sharing something over food, anything. It means coming together and letting go and enjoying each other’s company. It can be over a piece of bread or a whole feast or wine, just going together over good and enjoy each other’s company.”
THT: What’s happening with you and SoCal Wanderer?
Rosey: “Let’s see, because on Monday we are having a fundraiser meeting, so hopefully there will be more to come.”
Sirius Radio DJ Jude Angelini
THT: What are your glasses made out of?
Rude Jude: “1970’s buffalo bones. I kind of have a creepy face so I’m going with it. you have to embrace what you look like.”
THT: What do you think about Roy Choi and his new show Broken Bread?
Rude Jude: “I know Roy. His right hand person Natasha and I were talking about him and I do a radio show and we talked about doing an interview with him. So Roy came in and did the interview. I do a hip hop station, so there is a lot of hood and blue collar and he came on and just talked about recipes and how accessible he is to them. I am from Michigan and I came up working in kitchens, both front of the house and back of the house and I missed working with my hands. Roy told me I could come and buss tables for him and I would do my radio show and then drive over to chego’s and buss tables and did that for eight months. It made me appreciate where I have been and made me appreciate what other people do. It was a nice reminder and sense then Roy has always been a champion of mine. I have written a couple of books and he pushes my books and I push his books. We have always been supportive of each other.”
THT: What does Broken Bread mean to you?
Rude Jude: “It’s kinda like a double entendres or a double meaning. To break bread is like to feed, that’s like as old as time. How you would welcome someone into your home. Break bread with them, you actually share, especially if you eat meat together. I believe it connects people and broken bread is like injured, coming from pain. Broken bread is like soul food to me.”
Roy Choi opened the night with an amazing speech and thanked everyone involved with his new show Broken Bread and talked about how he grew up watching KCET. Roy said this about the script for Broken Bread: “I opened it and it was like the Yellow Brick Road, each page was the Tin man, the Lion, the Scarecrow and there was everything I had been dreaming about my whole life. To tell the stories of those heroes on the ground fighting the good fight and the stories that mean so much to our universe that for some reason society decides to discard. It was a show if I could ever have a show, that I could only dream about, but never thought a studio would get behind it, so let’s get real, reality television sells, but reality doesn’t! HUGE APPLAUSE…
This was a chance to represent everything that I stand for, everything I stand with and continue this journey of learning in this thing called life. TV is hard, so they hooked me up with the director. I get really passionate about things. If someone says they care, I really want to see if they !ucking care! Meet me at the Burbank airport at 10 a.m. in the back booth facing the door at the coffee shop and he showed up and that was James Banner the director. From that moment it was on. I knew we could tell the stories right, I knew we could find the poetry, fight the fight, tell the truth and most of all, try to be the voice of the people confronting these broken systems. Know we are here at the Wiltern on Cinco de Mayo and I’m about to show you what we have been working on every single day for the last year. Thank you.” APPLAUSE
Actress Sharon Lawrence said what Broken bread means to her “It means sharing and it feels good. It’s in my DNA. I was born from families that do that.”
“I’m so excited what Juan is bringing and what he sees. How he makes friends with the people who needs to hear these stories and that are good at telling them.”
Interview with Juan Devis
THT: How did Broken Bread get its name?
JD: This show is a co-production that we are doing with Tastemade, a digital network and one of the largest and most popular food destinations with studios all over the world. We have partnered with them and bringing a culturally specific and historically factual point of view through KCET and then you bring all the fun and glitz Tastemade together and we wanted to build a balance between these two worlds. We wanted to do something that had a social justice angle to it and came up with Broken Bread, which meas two things: you break bread to commune with others, but also there is the connotation that the food systems are broken, hence Broken Bread, you have a double meaning that we are going to explore throughout the series.
THT: Why did you chose Roy Choi?
JD: We did not want to do a straight up documentary or reality-based show. We wanted to be able to connect with a trailblazer, revolutionary, somebody that speaks that language, who can break bread and who better than chef Roy Choi. He has revolutionized so many things in our food culture in the last decade. We were very lucky, we wrote these, we wanted him to do it, we approached him and he loved the concept and we produced Broken Bread.
THT: Roy Choi is Executive Producer as well.
JD: Roy has previously consulted on films and he has been in a lot of shows or made appearances with Anthony Bourdain, etc. As a consultant in the film Chef, that was loosely based on his life. This is first standalone TV show and he is very excited about that and so are we. Roy Choi is a dude from LA and grew up in the core of the city and we want to express that through his show.
THT: How many episodes?
JD: A limited series with six episodes and we’ll build on that. The show will premiere in the Spring of 2019. We are so thrilled about this new show.
Broken Bread will premiere nationally on TastemadeTV and LinkTV, and on KCET in Los Angeles, on May 15.
ROY CHOI BIOGRAPHY
In 2008, Roy Choi and a crew of friends and family started what would be the beginning of the intersection between food, technology, culture, entrepreneurship and long lines. That comet was called Kogi BBQ and it made a splash on the streets of LA, being the first to use Twitter and ushering in a whole new generation of eaters and followers to what would be called America’s first viral restaurant by Newsweek.
Roy was named Food & Wine’s Best New Chef 2010, one of TIME’s 100 Most Influential People in the World 2016, LA Times Restaurant of the Year 2017 and has an award-winning New York Times Best Seller called L.A. Son: My Life, My City, My Food.
He resides in Los Angeles, California where he oversees Kogi BBQ, Chego, A-Frame, Alibi Room, LocoL and his first restaurant outside California called Best Friend at Park MGM, Las Vegas. Roy is also co-producer on the movie Chef as well as executive producer and host of the socially conscious show Broken Bread on KCET and Tastemade. He is a highly recognized speaker at events and panels worldwide.
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