If we know anything, it's that Oprah Winfrey has very good taste. Her list of Favorite Things has caused items to sell out and there seems to be an Oprah effect, where everything she touches turns to gold.
In other words, when Oprah says something is good, it's good. And that's why we're taking notice that she's officially added True Food Kitchen to her Favorite Things, and backed the brand with an investment that will help bring this health-food concept across the country.
When Oprah invested in Weight Watchers, their stock prices soared. And the world has been following along on her eating journey for decades. So is True Food Kitchen the next restaurant you need to try? We think so, and not just because Oprah's on board. True Food Kitchen offers up a healthy and seasonal menu with plenty of plant-based options. Their menu features items like Kale Guacamole, Mediterranean Quinoa Salad and Farmers' Market Crudités, along with Oprah's favorites—Organic Tuscan Kale Salad and Thai Grapefruit Martini (grab the recipes below!).
According to a press release, Oprah recently joined True Food Kitchen's ownership team, made an equity investment and is lending her business acumen to the brand's expansion into New York, New Jersey and North Carolina, with restaurants planned throughout Florida, Maryland and Tennessee too. In total, there are currently 23 True Food Kitchens in 10 states. Within the next three years, the release says, the brand plans to double that number. So if you haven't seen or eaten at a True Food Kitchen yet, chances are you will soon.
(You can check for a True Food Kitchen location near you here.)
True Food Kitchen was founded in 2008 by Dr. Andrew Weil, and its menu is based on his anti-inflammatory food pyramid, which highlights the importance of fruits and vegetables, and encourages healthy fats, whole grains, beans and herbs and spices.
Oprah first dined at the brand's Santa Monica, California, location and immediately appreciated True Food Kitchen's commitment to bringing people together around a healthful meal that's meant to make diners feel better. "I love bringing people together over a good meal," Winfrey said. "When I first dined at True Food Kitchen, I was so impressed with the team's passion for healthy eating and, of course, the delicious food, that I knew I wanted to be part of the company's future."
In fact, Oprah so loved the brand that she quickly invited True Food Kitchen CEO Christine Barone to dine at her home so that she could return the feel-good favor.
"We had lunch from her garden and she shared what drew her to True Food," Barone recalled of that special lunch date with Oprah. "Much like my first dining experience at True Food, [Oprah] was moved by the team's passion for healthy eating and was inspired by the sense of community felt in our restaurants."
Oprah's investment and the company's expansion mean that healthful dishes made with fresh, nutrient-dense ingredients will be available to more people—a thing to celebrate.
"As part of her investment, [Oprah] will collaborate and consult with the True Food Kitchen leadership team to advance our business and marketing objectives and strategy," Barone revealed. "She is an incredibly accomplished businesswoman, with invaluable insights that will help accelerate our ongoing development and growth."
Of course, if you're not lucky enough to be located near a current or soon-to-come restaurant location, you can still enjoy True Food Kitchen's delicious dishes. Here, we're sharing two recipes (that happen to be Oprah's favorites) that you can make at home—a Thai Grapefruit Martini and an Organic Tuscan Kale Salad. The refreshing cocktail and light meal are perfect for any summer evening.
1/2 ounce lime juice (see Tips)
1 ounce house-made simple syrup
4 leaves Thai basil (see Tips)
2 ounces grapefruit juice
2 ounces Prairie organic vodka
Thai basil leaf for garnish
1. Combine lime juice, simple syrup, and Thai basil leaves in a cocktail shaker. Muddle, then add grapefruit juice and vodka. Shake vigorously.
2. Double-strain into a martini glass.
3. Garnish with Thai basil leaf.
Tips: To make your own simple syrup: Bring 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water to a boil in a medium saucepan, stirring frequently to dissolve the sugar. Let cool for 30 minutes and then refrigerate until cold, at least 1 hour. Makes about 1½ cups.
Make sure you use Thai basil, as regular basil adds a sweetness that doesn't flow as well with the grapefruit. The reason we double-strain is to remove the tiny bits of Thai basil and the chunks of ice.
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 garlic cloves, mashed
½ teaspoon salt
Pinch of red pepper flakes
2 bunches lacinato kale (about 14 ounces), ribs removed and leaves sliced into 1/4-inch shreds
½ cup finely grated Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated on a microplane
2 tablespoons toasted whole-wheat breadcrumbs
Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese shavings for garnish
1. In a salad bowl, whisk together oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt and red pepper flakes. Add kale and toss well to coat. Let the salad sit at room temperature for 10 to 30 minutes. Add grated cheese and breadcrumbs and toss again.
2. Garnish with cheese shavings before serving. Cover any leftovers and refrigerate for up to 2 days.