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Culture / Travel

Truck Stop Food Gets a Major Celebrity Chef Upgrade

Will Gas Stations Now be Fit for a Foodie?

BY // 06.25.17
photography Courtesy of Pilot Flying J

Is gas station food about to become the next foodie trend? Fort Worth-based chef Tim Love is partnering with Pilot Flying J in an attempt to make truck stop fare a delicious and nutritious way to fill up.

It’s a pretty tall order, but Love, who has appeared on Iron Chef America (he won) and Top Chef Masters, is never one to back down from a challenge. The chef will work with the travel center operator to ramp up their menu and create signature items. Soon you’ll be able to try Love’s grab-and-go eats at all 750 Pilot Flying J locations across the country.

The chef will also use his expertise in Urban Western cuisine to create special, regionally-inspired dishes exclusively for the Southwest locations.

This unexpected collaboration between the critically-acclaimed chef and the truck stop operator will be a game-changer for frequent road trippers. The project aims to provide healthier and fresher options than the usual gas station offerings. Love is known for his inspired and inventive dishes, so it will be interesting to see what he dreams up.

“I am thrilled to be partnering with Pilot Flying J. They truly want to provide a better food experience for their guests,” Love said in a statement. “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.”

The chef is currently working with Shannon Johnson, vice president of food innovation at Pilot Flying J, to produce the new menu and build on “PJ Fresh Marketplace,” the company’s fast-casual restaurant concept.

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Pilot Flying J’s network of travel centers serves more than 1.3 million customers daily. Love hopes that his contributions can provide travelers and professional drivers with high quality meals.

“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,” the chef said. “There is certainly a need to challenge the status quo for those on-the-go and provide wholesome options.”

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