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infusing LYFE into America’s food on the go

by Sandy Todd Webster on Aug 23, 2011

Food for Thought

Do you Love Your Food Everyday? It’s clear the creators behind LYFE Kitchen do, and they are hoping to spread their passion about healthy, delicious and wholesome offerings in a fast-slow food model. Restaurant launches come and go, but somehow, the buzz surrounding this one and the people driving the project make the opening this month in Palo Alto, California, stand out. The creative forces in the kitchen are Chef Art Smith, former personal chef to Oprah Winfrey and a two-time James Beard Foundation Award winner; and Chef Tal Ronnen, considered one of the most groundbreaking vegan and vegetarian chefs today. “LYFE Kitchen is a transformational, socially responsible ‘LYFEstyle’ brand that promotes great-tasting, good-for-you food,” says their press release. Emphasis will be on creating menu items that are healthy, affordable, local and delicious. No dish will contain more than 600 calories; most will have fewer. Flavors will be built from natural spices, herbs, fruits and vegetables—not from saturated fat, salt or other additives. LYFE Kitchen is driven by proven leadership. Stephen Sidwell, an investment banker, and Mike Roberts, McDonald’s former global president and chief operating officer, lead LYFE Kitchen, along with chief communications officer Mike Donahue, a 20-year veteran of McDonald’s USA who served as the former chief of communications and external relations officer. “When I first heard about LYFE Kitchen, I was intrigued. There are many restaurants that offer local and seasonal food, especially in the Bay Area,” says local chef and food blogger Amy Fothergill, who specializes in creating gluten-free menus. “However, providing food that is also healthy really takes creativity and skills; it’s easy to make food taste good with butter, cream and salt. Affordability is another common hurdle, but if they can do what they say, I think they will be successful.” Fothergill, also known as “The Family Chef,” says she “loves the concept and can’t wait to see the official menu.” For a glimpse at some of the food that Smith and Ronnen are planning, check out this video of the company’s “Forklifting Ceremony” in June: “I think this restaurant will be successful in certain markets but hope most Americans will be willing to try something new,” Fothergill says. “The more I learn about our food supply, the more worried I become for the average American. I hope with this type of offering, [more people] will question where their food comes from and what types of nutrients their food supplies. Maybe the [perception that] ‘healthy food is too expensive’ will be a mechanism to jump-start better eating and hopefully healthier lifestyles.” After the flagship store opens in Palo Alto, more locations will reportedly follow, as well as LYFE Kitchen ready-cooked meals in supermarkets.

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About the Author

Sandy Todd Webster

Sandy Todd Webster IDEA Author/Presenter

Sandy Todd Webster is Editor in Chief of IDEA's publications, including the award-winning IDEA FITNESS JOURNAL and IDEA FOOD & NUTRITION TIPS, the industry's leading resources for fitness, wellness and nutrition professionals worldwide. Sandy joined IDEA in 2001 as executive editor of IDEA PERSONAL TRAINER and IDEA FITNESS MANAGER magazines and was promoted to lead the editorial team in 2003. More than 20 years in magazine publishing, marketing communications and creative services have shaped her straightforward approach to multi-channel communication. Early experience in Los Angeles as a sports writer/reporter, and then enriching years as a managing editor in allied health care publishing have pulled her across a spectrum of stimulating subject matter. Fitness, health and nutrition reside at the perfect center of this content continuum, she feels. A Chicago native, Sandy grew up fully engaged in various competitive sports. Her drive and dedication as an athlete translate to a disciplined work ethic and unwavering approach to challenge in her career. Shortly after graduating journalism school from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, she was recruited to L.A. for her first post in magazine publishing. After two decades of working on magazines--and now in the throes of applying the unbelieveable multi-media content delivery options available in the magazine 2.0 world--she is still "completely in love" with the creative process it takes to deliver meaningful, inspirational content to end users. She is an accomplished home cook and gardner who would love to combine those skills and passions with her health and fitness background to continue educating readers about a well-balanced, healthy lifestyle.