Photo by Thomas Forman
Passionate entrepreneurs from the popular summer Asian food festival 626 Night Market created ChefBox, a business mixture of a restaurant, pop-up shop, and grocery store, seeking to provide a new way to get fresh, gourmet food straight to customers’ tables. Located on 424 Fair Oaks Avenue, ChefBox features 17 local chefs specializing in different cuisines. The restaurant offers a diverse selection of foods for every taste, neatly packaged in cardboard plastic to-go boxes, made to be reheated.
One popular dish created by the Vietnamese chef Maitha, broiled catfish with beet jasmine rice, is one of the many distinctive options available for pick-up at ChefBox. The traditionally unpopular fish is light but filling, with bits of ginger incorporated throughout to provide a sharp and spicy bite alongside the duller taste of the fish. The jasmine rice infused with purple beet juice is full of rich earthy flavor making an excellent pair with the catfish.
ChefBox’s concept of a place to obtain fresh, local, and gourmet food with the same ease as a fast food restaurant is the brainchild of founders Albert Chu and Patricia Huang who met working at the 626 Night Market in Arcadia. Meal boxes at ChefBox are prepared solely by local chefs. Each chef prepares their dishes in their own kitchen, and the meals are brought to ChefBox where they are displayed by Chu and Huang in a large grocery-style refrigerator. Boxes are made to be taken and heated up at home or work. The food is also made to last several days, providing customers the option of using the boxes throughout the entire week.
Another of ChefBox’s unique intentions is to provide a physical location for unknown and upcoming chefs to sell their food to the public without having to open their own restaurant. Each chef is pictured with a brief description of themselves, their food, and/or brand, contributing to another integral part of ChefBox’s mission, to provide a personal connection between the consumer and their food.
“Food is not just about convenience it’s a lot about emotional connection to the product. So if you can put a face on the person who made your food then it will be of much more value to you than at a typical restaurant where you don’t see the people making what you’re eating,” says co-founder Chu.
Chu and Huang plan to add more chefs and increase the diversity of the food they offer and open more locations in the future.
434 Fair Oaks Ave.
South Pasadena, CA 91030
Hours: DAILY 10AM-8PM