How True Food Kitchen reimagined its menu with a focus on hyper-seasonality and comfort

Head chef Matthew Padilla introduced more than 30 new dishes to appeal to a broader audience while staying true to the brand’s original wellness mission.

Matthew Padilla, culinary director for True Food Kitchen, joined the full-service restaurant group last year and quickly started innovating the menu. This spring, he introduced over 30 new dishes, incorporating hyper-seasonal ingredients and inventive global flavors, with an updated summer menu close behind.

Chef Padilla

Matthew Padilla

To appeal to a broader audience, he transformed comfort-food favorites like burgers, pizza and pasta with healthier twists. Padilla also refreshed menu staples, including bowls, salads and desserts, to be in sync with the seasons—all the while staying true to True Food’s original wellness, sustainability and ethical sourcing mission.

Listen as the chef relates his fine-dining culinary journey, shares his menu innovation strategy and talks about what’s next for 43-location True Food Kitchen.

Subscribe to Menu Feed on Apple Podcasts.

Subscribe on Spotify.

Members help make our journalism possible. Become a Restaurant Business member today and unlock exclusive benefits, including unlimited access to all of our content. Sign up here.


Exclusive Content


Will Subway make Roark Capital too dominant? Not really

The Bottom Line: The addition of the sandwich giant will make Roark a bigger player than McDonald's in the U.S. But its position in the sandwich market will not be all that unusual.


Restaurants still look expensive, and consumers are reacting

The Bottom Line: Restaurants have stepped off the pricing gas. But sales are slowing and traffic is weak, and more operators are turning to price promotions.


Does California just hate restaurants?

Reality Check: The industry's largest state market is about to hit the business, a significant part of its economy, with all sorts of changes and new burdens. What gives?


More from our partners