By Jenn Harris | LA Times
If you’ve been downtown recently, you may have noticed the image of Psy, the Korean pop sensation, on the side of a bright green food truck. The white suit-donning star, who made a name for himself with the 2012 hit “Gagnam Style,” has partnered with Bibigo Korean restaurants for a food truck tour of L.A.
The truck is something straight out of one of Psy’s music videos — over the top and flashy with a picture of Psy eating a bowl of bibimbap (the Korean dish of rice, meat and vegetables) and the word “Yummy!” written out in comic-book text. There are also twentysomethings walking around the truck wearing green T-shirts adorned with tuxedo outlines. You can sometimes find it parked behind the American Apparel building at 7th and Alameda streets.
Behind the grill is Ricardo Caput, the winner of Psy’s two-month search for a personal chef. When we first learned of Psy’s Bibigo search for a chef, we felt compelled to make a couple ofrecommendations, including Wolfgang Puck and Gordon Ramsay.
But Caput, a chef from Brazil, won the contest with a video of him wearing a white suit dancing and driving around in a white Fiat. Before winning the contest, he had never tried a bite of Korean food in his life. After winning, he spent a week at CJ Foods, Bibigo’s parent company headquarters in Seoul. He was trained in how to cook traditional Korean food and ate it nonstop for the seven days.
“The thing that got me hooked, as a Brazilian, we use garlic, salt and pepper in almost the same way,” said Caput. “It wasn’t like wow, it tastes completely different from anything I’ve had before.”
Caput says he entered Psy’s contest because as a chef, he wanted to learn new techniques of cooking and “it seemed like a once-in-a-lifetime experience.” Since winning, he’s been on the truck in L.A. for the month of July, has shot a commercial with Psy and has also cooked for him, twice.
“He’s a pop star and he turned out to be pretty much what I was thinking,” said Caput. “He really likes bibimbap.”
The Psy Bibigo truck is serving up Psy’s favorite dish,bibimbap, and also a fried version along with dumplings. Caput also put his own spin on a dish using galbi, the Korean BBQ short ribs. He came up with a steamed bun sandwich stuffed with galbi, lettuce and a sweet sauce.