Celebrity Chefs and Renowned Business Leaders Unite to Launch LYFE Kitchen

Feb 10, 2011, 12:51 ET from LYFE Kitchen

CHICAGO, Feb. 10, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Founder Stephen Sidwell and CEO Mike Roberts announced plans to launch LYFE Kitchen, a transformational, socially-responsible "lyfestyle" brand that will open its first restaurant in Palo Alto, California this summer.

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LYFE, an acronym for "Love Your Food Everyday," will showcase a menu created by award-winning Chefs Art Smith and Tal Ronnen offering great-tasting food that is convenient, affordable and good for you.

"Love Your Food Everyday" captures the brand's vibrant philosophy that each day your food choices are important. It also extends to one of the brand's core principles of offering food, products and programs that are good for the planet and one another.

"With two celebrated, taste-making chefs and a talented team of leaders and advisers, we believe LYFE Kitchen is a response to one of America's most significant unmet needs: the consumer's demand for delicious, affordable food that is good for you," states Roberts. "We also plan to become a part of the Palo Alto community and begin giving back right away."

Chef Art Smith, former personal chef to Oprah Winfrey and a two-time James Beard Foundation Award winner, is a restaurateur and cookbook author known for his delicious, classic comfort food. He is also the founder of Common Threads, which strives to educate children on the importance of nutrition and physical well-being and to foster an appreciation of cultural diversity through cooking. Recently, he has received attention for his own 100-pound weight loss, which he achieved through a balanced diet and exercise. Chef Smith has appeared on Bravo's "Top Chef Masters" and owns Table Fifty-Two in Chicago and Art and Soul in Washington, D.C.

Chef Tal Ronnen is reputed as one of the most ground-breaking vegan and vegetarian chefs today. In addition to preparing meals for Oprah Winfrey's 21-day vegetarian and vegan diet exploration (and also being named as the "Best Vegan Chef" on her "Best Of" show), he has cooked for Ellen DeGeneres, Portia de Rossi and Arianna Huffington, and prepared the first vegan dinner at the US Senate. His cookbook, The Conscious Cook, was a New York Times bestseller.

LYFE Kitchen is driven by proven, world-class leadership. Sidwell, an investment banker, and 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 Communications and External Relations Officer.

Roberts, who previously oversaw more than 31,000 McDonald's restaurants in 118 countries, rose through the ranks of the McDonald's Corporation over a storied, 30-year career to lead the company's successful global "Plan to Win" strategy. An insatiable quest for consumer relevance guides Roberts' business philosophy. He was a driving force in the chain's introduction of more "premium" menu items, as well as value- and health-conscious menu items. He also led the charge on a number of revolutionary, market-driven initiatives, including the push to add more flavor and spice to the menu, promoting a more balanced lifestyle, and increasing corporate responsibility.

Sidwell is the founder and CEO of Devante Capital, a boutique investment banking firm.  He has been an entrepreneur for the past 18 years, founding five different companies. He was most recently instrumental in the US launch of Gardein, an innovative line of plant-based meat substitutes.

[The Facts of LYFE]  

LYFE Kitchen's culinary tenets are to provide flavorful, convenient, nourishing fare. Chef Art Smith and Chef Tal Ronnen—representing equal expertise in comfort food and plant-based arenas—have developed a menu that champions taste, focusing on familiar flavors, with no dish containing more than 600 calories and most with less. Each item on the breakfast, lunch and dinner menus will feature responsibly sourced ingredients, from local farms and sustainable whenever possible, and will rely on herbs, spices, fruits and vegetables to enhance the flavor profile.

LYFE Kitchen is a socially responsible brand that will awaken the customer's "Sixth Sense"—the intrinsic desire to do right and make powerful purchasing decisions that inspire good in the world. This notion will be reflected in the brand's philosophy toward product sourcing, build-out and philanthropy. The restaurant's bright, contemporary, open space will showcase the notion of the 'Sixth Sense,' a cornerstone of LYFE Kitchen.

"Every decision we make—from using eco-friendly building and packaging materials, to ingredients we source, to providing an engaged service team and partnering with local non-profits—will engage and inspire our guests, and ultimately, have a tremendous impact," explains Sidwell.

"LYFE Kitchen will achieve the highest level of best-practice goals for our industry, continually improving our quest to become a trusted source for those seeking flavor and variety as part of an invigorating lifestyle," says Roberts. "We believe you can truly Love Your Food Everyday and reap the benefits over a lifetime."