Pilot Flying J Will Cook Up New Ideas With Celebrity Chef
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Pilot Flying J is partnering with renowned chef and restaurant owner Tim Love to create new signature food items that will be available at all Pilot Flying J locations across the country.
The partnership's goal is to provide fresh, convenient food options for interstate travelers, the company stated.
Known for his signature Urban Western cuisine, Love will also develop food items specifically for Pilot Flying J's locations in the Southwest, focusing on flavors and specialties that represent the fare found in the region.
"I am thrilled to be partnering with Pilot Flying J. They truly want to provide a better food experience for their guests," Love said. "Our mission will be to create nutritious options that are easy to carry and easy to eat – that criteria tends to be top of mind for most travelers, but hard to come by on the road."
Pilot Flying J's key focus in food and beverage includes innovating fresh, made-to-order items, establishing a strong culinary presence and providing fresh quality offerings to those on the road, according to the company.
"Offering our guests a variety of fresh, quality food options is a top priority for us at Pilot Flying J," said Whitney Haslam Johnson, chief experience officer for Pilot Flying J. "We hope to not only meet guests' expectations, but exceed them, and partnering with Tim Love will absolutely help us achieve that, providing a great experience for our guests."
Chef Love's dishes have received critical and popular acclaim, and been recognized by publications including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Bon Appétit, and Food & Wine. Love also appeared on Bravo's "Top Chef: The Cruise" and "Top Chef Masters," as well as Food Network's "Iron Chef America."
His career began in Knoxville, Pilot Flying J's headquarters city, while he was a student at the University of Tennessee.
"I've always been a big fan of the brand, especially their Knoxville roots, and have been visiting locations regularly over the years while traveling," Love said. "I thought there might be an opportunity to see what we could do in this type of setting, as it's very different from the dining experiences I usually oversee and operate. There is certainly a need to challenge the status quo for those on-the-go and provide wholesome options."
Love will work closely with Shannon Johnson, vice president of food innovation at Pilot Flying J, to continue to develop the PJ Fresh Marketplace brand to give consumers choices and best-in-class food and beverage offerings along the interstate, the company said. Both travelers and professional drivers deserve better food options and more variety while on the open road.
"When I first met Tim, I could tell he was just as excited to up the food game in this space as I am," said Johnson. "It's important to me that we implement new items for our guests that are surprising, delicious and keep them coming back."
Pilot Flying J's proprietary PJ Fresh concept is based on the fast-casual restaurant idea of delivering fresh-made food to consumers, offering a wide variety of delicious food options ranging from healthy green salads and fruit bowls, to freshly made sandwiches and dinners.
Knoxville-based Pilot Flying J operates more than 650 retail locations in North America.