It’s often been said that “health food doesn’t sell.” This was the attitude of Sam Fox, CEO of Fox Restaurant Concepts when he met Dr. Andrew Weil, M.D., and the chef of True Food Kitchen Michael Stebner. For the most part, he was right. Most health food on the market was either tasteless, strange, unpalatable, or a combination of the three. Even just the term ‘health food’ brings to mind visions of tofu, sprouts, and things we can’t readily pronounce. Dr. Weil was on a mission to change all that. He’s created a restaurant so unique with a menu so appealing, locations are opening up all over the west.
Dr. Weil started cooking as a child with his grandmother while growing up in Philadelphia. From there, he realized he was good at improvising and creating his own dishes. He learned a lot about different fruits and vegetables by exploring Latin America and Africa. Meanwhile, Chef Stebner was on a completely different path of auto repair like his father. It wasn’t until age 16 that he got his first taste of the restaurant business as a busboy, and learned culinary arts from the head chef. Dr. Andrew Weil was very far removed from the restaurant industry, even as a customer. Most of the food that was served, he felt he could cook better himself. It was in 2007 that Sam Fox made the venture out to Dr. Weil’s ranch south of Tucson. He imagined meeting a Birkenstock wearing, vegan food eating, yogi hippie. What he found was a man interested in healthy, anti-inflammatory food with great taste.
True Food Kitchen in the Scottsdale Quarter offers something completely unique and different from any restaurant in the nation. Besides healthy food with tons of flavor, many customers eat here several times a week. Local athletes like Grant Hill and Steve Nash have been regulars. Clearly, True Food fills that void the market was missing. Portions are sensible, and the ingredients are wholesome. Everything here is good for you. Even artificial sweeteners are absent from the tables. They’ve been replaced with erythritol- a safe, non-caloric sweetener. Dr. Weil holds his ground on keeping the menu pure. Even when a conventionally grown product like black kale, or commercial farm raised salmon is cheaper, Dr. Weil makes sure the organic, wild, hormone and antibiotic free meat, cheese, and vegetables are used. Another interesting tidbit is Olivello juice. True Food Kitchen is the only restaurant in the nation to offer this juice, an extract from sea buckthorn berries. It’s full of good stuff like anti oxidants and phytonutrients which help protect the body. All of this has made sure that True Foods has won many awards.
So what can you expect when you step into True Foods seven days a week for lunch or dinner? Some Asian tastes grace the menu like Miso Soup, Albacore Tataki, and Edamame Dumplings, and these are just some of the appetizers. For your main dish, try a turkey burger, grilled Steelhead salmon, or street tacos. Pizza is also available with all organic ingredients like wild mushrooms and organic tomatoes. For dinner, try a grilled Rainbow Trout, grass fed Bison burger, or Heirloom tomato and watermelon salad. If you’ve got a sweet tooth, True Food will not disappoint you. Along with a selection of coffee and teas, flourless chocolate cake, sorbet, and lemon tarts are sure to satisfy you. Perhaps one of the most unique things about True Foods is that there is an ample menu of beer, wine, sake, and cocktails. Keeping with their values, only wineries that use organic, biodynamic, and sustainable farming practices are used. Menu items are marked with abbreviations letting you know if a dish is gluten free, vegetarian, or vegan. Much of the pasta is wheat free and made using brown and white rice.
Dr. Weil wants everyone to be able to eat healthy all the time. That’s why True Foods released a cookbook back in October of 2012. Since it’s release, it has sold over 100,000 copies. It contains 125 recipes that you can learn to make in your own home. It’s also full of interesting stories on everything from farmer’s markets to identifying true whole grains and the benefits of an anti-inflammatory diet. Like the website says, you don’t have to be a die hard yogi to eat here, just someone with a desire to eat some delicious food you won’t feel guilty about enjoying later. So take the doctor’s orders, and come enjoy True Food Kitchen. It just might change your life for the better.