Gwyneth Paltrow and Goop Kitchen Serve la Dolce Vita in Takeout Containers

Christina Najjar, better known as Tinx on Instagram and TikTok, where she has nearly 2 million followers combined, has a litmus test. “I always think it’s a testament, especially in L.A., how far you’ll drive for something,” she told me early this March. She lives in West Hollywood, literally over hills and far away from both of the two Goop Kitchen locations, in Santa Monica and Studio City. Yet, she said, “I drive 20 minutes to get this fricking food because I love it so much.”

Goop Kitchen, a takeout chain run out of ghost kitchens, is an extension of Gwyneth Paltrow’s lifestyle brand—one that her team says they had hoped to do for years, with a signature hybrid of restrictive indulgence, a monk living la dolce vita. Everything is Goop Certified Clean: free of refined sugars, processed ingredients, gluten, soy, dairy, peanuts, and preservatives. And everything—if you trust the hundreds of online reviews and the dozens of actors and influencers, from Rachel Zoe and Kristin Davis to Shay Mitchell and Sara Foster, who have posted about their Brentwood Chinese chicken salads and miso salmons—tastes good, travels well, and appears Instagrammable.

For years, that has been Goop’s brand trinity. Now it’s married to the Los Angeles holy trinity of traffic, salads, and celebrity. In Goop Kitchen’s first year, sales are up 526 percent versus its own projections, according to a spokesperson, who adds that sales per square foot are better than at an Apple store, with more than half coming from frequent customers (those who order at least one or two times per week). There are plans to expand to more locations in Los Angeles and around the country.

It wasn’t supposed to happen quite like this. For years, Paltrow had dreamed about opening a restaurant—she does have three best-selling cookbooks to her name, after all. In 2019, she and her team started plans for a restaurant in the Westside of L.A. But a pandemic led to a pivot, as everybody’s story goes, and they brought on chef Kim Floresca—who trained at Per Se and El Bulli before she was executive sous-chef at the three-Michelin-starred Restaurant at Meadowood in Napa Valley—to oversee the food on the go.

“We have a tasting panel, and obviously Gwyneth has final say, but we have a group of people in our R&D department, and we literally devote weeks to just one dressing,” Floresca told me. To test the packaging, she added, “We take these salads and we’ll drive them around and spin them like a driver would do.” They spent a year nailing the gluten-free pizza dough, which she said typically tastes like soggy cardboard. “We wanted to create pizza that was just pizza. If you knew it was gluten-free, cool. If you didn’t, even better, and you just ate it and you liked it, perfect. That, for us, is a huge win.”

Paltrow often pops in for the weekly tasting to give her feedback. (On Floresca’s fifth day on the job, she served Paltrow a salad with a mound of dill sprinkled on top. Paltrow, who is not a fan of the herb, implored her to “please tell me that’s fennel.” They were testing a healthy spin on a ranch dressing. The dill, Floresca explained, was essential.)

They launched rotisserie meals in March, with a pizza concept to follow, which doesn’t inherently scream Goop. But it is all in the sell—the promise that consuming anything with Paltrow’s stamp could lead you toward physical lightness or spiritual enlightenment. It’s why a sex toy or workout class or powder concoction flies off shelves when she recommends one. Or why Tinx, after she picked up a teriyaki bowl as a treat, posted that if Goop Kitchen doesn’t open a location closer to her, she will shave her head and start running naked down Santa Monica Boulevard until they do. If you don’t belong in Paltrow’s world, you want to belong there right now. 

 

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