PHOENIX — We know Oprah Winfrey loves bread. Now we know she loves kale.
The media mogul, philanthropist, actress and producer is now an investor in True Food Kitchen, the Phoenix-based, healthy-food restaurant chain started by Sam Fox.
Winfrey made an equity investment in True Food and will join the board of directors, helping the brand continue to expand across the U.S., the company announced.
True Food currently has 23 locations, including one in Scottsdale, Arizona, and the original in Phoenix. Plans call for doubling that number in the next three years.
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‘I wanted to be part of the company’s future’
Winfrey first visited True Food Kitchen in Santa Monica, Calif., with friend and business associate Bob Greene, a celebrity fitness trainer.
“I love bringing people together over a good meal,” Winfrey said in a news release. “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.”
Winfrey invited True Food Kitchen CEO Christine Barone to dine at her estate in Montecito, California.
“We discussed the future of True Food Kitchen and our strategy, and our goals to bring this way of eating to more people,” Barone told The Republic. “I get excited any time anyone is interested in True Food Kitchen, so I was certainly incredibly excited that she loved our brand and wanted to part of our brand.”
Winfrey will not serve as a True Food spokeswoman, unlike her partnership with Weight Watchers, when she famously proclaimed her love for bread in a commercial. At True Food, her role will be as a collaborator and consultant to grow the business.
“Her involvement is really key to growth and success as we move forward, and we’re excited for her to be on board,” Barone said.
“She’ll really be providing insight as an incredibly successful business woman… We’re looking forward to all she will bring to our team.”
Fox and Dr. Andrew Weil, pioneer of the Anti-Inflammatory Diet, launched True Food Kitchen in 2008, helping propel healthy eating into the mainstream.
Last October, True Food Kitchen became into its company with Centerbridge Partners as majority owners. The newest locations in Nashville and Jacksonville are opening later this year. Fox Restaurant Concepts hired Barone, a former Starbucks executive, in 2016 to lead the transition.
Winfrey’s announcement coincides with the launch of True Food’s summer menu. Dishes include a Korean noodle salad, parfait made with summer berries, responsibly sourced striped sea bass, watermelon mojito and lavender coconut cold brew.