The Torch Award

SUNDAY, AUGUST 25, 2019, 3:30 PM - 5:00 PM, CENTER STAGE

We are honored and excited to annouce...
Roy Choi as the 2019 Torch Award Recipient! 

The word Torch symbolizes many things including Illumination, Energy, Joy, Victory, Enlightenment, Hope and Education.

The Torch Award, presented by The Western Foodservice & Hospitality Expo and The California Restaurant Association was created to honor outstanding chefs and/or restaurateurs who embody all those qualities and characteristics. These chefs and/or restaurateurs have been chosen because of:  Outstanding knowledge and leadership; Philanthropic and community efforts; Extraordinary talent and creativity; Innovation and inspiration. Each has provided outstanding to our industry. 


Join us at Center Stage as Evan Kleiman, Chef, Author, Radio Host, and Restaurateur interviews Chef Roy Choi. The presenation of the Torch Award will follow the exclusive interview and a meet and greet with the Chef! Samples from Kogi will be provided and a few exciting giveaways!  Don't miss out on this unique opportunity to honor outstanding Chef Roy Choi! 


About Roy Choi

About Roy Choi

Chef, Entrepreneur, Best-Selling Author, TV Host 

In 2008, Roy Choi and a crew of friends & 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 usher 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 Best New Chef 2010, TIME 100 Most Influential People in the World 2016, LA Times Restaurant of the Year 2017, and has an award winning New York Times Bestseller memoir 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 co-producer on the movie Chef and executive producer/co-host on the subsequent, The Chef Show on Netflix. He is also executive producer and host of the socially conscious television show Broken Bread on KCET and Tastemade, and is a highly recognized speaker at events and panels worldwide.


About Evan Kleiman

Chef, Author, Radio Host, and Restaurateur

Native Los Angelena Evan Kleiman knew she was a culinarian by the age of nine, and a geeky food scholar by twenty. Food was the way she navigated the world.

Her first visit to Italy at the age of 17 changed her life. Food became linked with cultural experience and was to infect every part of her world. Her University studies in Italian Literature and Film allowed her to graze at the table of Italian food culture at a young age, which created a foundation for understanding and a belief in the role of a food-centered life. She ate, she cooked, she read.  Evan’s insatiable lust for food information led her down a road of wide- ranging personal study and involvement with the subject.

Eventually Evan walked into a professional restaurant kitchen and found her home. She cooked first for others, then in 1984 at her restaurant Angeli Caffe. By serving rustic, regional Italian food in a beautifully designed, yet casual atmosphere she created a restaurant archetype that inspired imitations all over the country. By the time her beloved restaurant closed in 2012 it was an L.A. institution known as much for the warmth of the welcome as for the food.

During the early 1980s she co-authored her first cookbook Cucina Fresca that is still in print and considered a classic. Several other cookbooks were to follow, as did more travel, more writing and a lot of cooking. Since 1998 the radio show and podcast Good Food has been the place where she could explore every aspect of food and how it intersects with human (and sometimes animal) life. It’s the place where a lifelong interest in food, reading and asking questions about how people tick comes together each week. The show airs on KCRW, an NPR station in Southern California and has a worldwide audience on the web.

After more than a decade and 6000+ interviews Evan’s interest in food also embraces issues of food policy and the “Good Food Agenda”.

The founder of LA’s Slow Food Chapter she served for a period on the Stewardship Council of Roots of Change, a California focus organization. She is a member of the Los Angeles Food Policy Council.

Evan is an active speaker on culinary subjects as well as issues of food culture and sustainability and, just to keep a balance, she has a very public love affair with Pie.

Good Food received Best Audio Series award from the IACP in 2012.  In 2017 Evan was inducted into the James Beard Who’s Who of Food and Beverage in America.


About Evan Kleiman


Geoffrey Zakarian American Iron Chef,
Restaurateur, Television Personality, and Author


Caroline Styne, Sommelier & Restaurateur,
The Lucques Group 

Allen Susser, Chef/Owner,
Chef Allen's Consulting 

Danny Meyer, CEO, Union Square Hospitality Group;
Founder, Shake Shack

Curtis Stone, Chef/Owner,
Maude & Gwen

Michelle Bernstein, Chef/Owner, Crumb on Parchment
& Michelle Bernstein Catering 

Drew Nieporent, Owner,
Myriad Restaurant Group 

Thomas Keller, Chef & Proprietor,
The Thomas Keller Restaurant Group 

Melissa Kelly, Executive Chef &
Proprietor, Primo

Mary Sue Milliken, Co-Chef-Owner, 
Border Grill Restaurants + Truck

Susan Feniger, Co-Chef-Owner,
Border Grill Restaurants + Truck

Norman Van Aken, Chef-Owner,
Norman's at the Ritz Carlton, Grande Lakes