MTSU Alumna Karla Winfrey Debuts Business at Floyd Stadium


Dr. McPhee with Winfrey Foods partner Karla Winfrey. (Photo provided by Carlton Winfrey)

Story by Kayla Walker | Contributing Writer

Middle Tennessee State University alumna Karla Winfrey, showcased her family signature product Royal Relish Chow Chow at Floyd Stadium this weekend for the Middle Tennessee-Tennessee State game.

Royal Relish is a product of Winfrey Foods, LLC, and the product was established in 2017 by siblings Karla, Burnice and Cardale Winfrey. 

“I am absolutely elated to showcase Royal Relish at this big event,” Winfrey, cousin of famed talk show host and producer Oprah Winfrey, said. “Being here today reminds me of the many years of walking the campus and experiencing the games. The MTSU-versus-TSU games are significant to the Winfrey family because two of my brothers, partners in Winfrey Foods Relish Chow Chow, both attended TSU.”

Royal Relish Chow Chow is a recipe created by their grandmother and was later passed down to their mother, Judy. The all-natural product includes peppers, onions, cabbage, green tomatoes, and spices. This year, MTSU partnered with the food provider company, Aramark. They were able to connect with Ms. Winfrey to display the three flavors of Royal Relish, Original, Spicy and NASHVILLE HOT at the game.

“We did a tasting of Royal Relish a few years ago,”  District Manager at Aramark, Edward Gilbert said. Karla popped up on the radar this week and as a rule, we do try to partner with people locally whether its local farms or resources. It’s a great opportunity to re-connect alumni with the school and give these younger folks a taste of those who’ve come before them, and what they’ve done in their careers.”

Karla graduated from MTSU in 1982 with a Bachelor of Science in Mass Communication. She is also on the College of Media and Entertainment Wall of Fame. After graduating, Winfrey’s career took off at WABC in New York City, KDFW in Dallas, KUSA in Denver and WSMV in Nashville.

“I think it’s good for alumni to come back,” President of Middle Tennessee, Sidney A. McPhee said. “We want our current students to see the success that we have with our alumni. I am very pleased to see when they are successful and it’s also important for the university, fans and community to support them, so that it really shows the relationship that we want to uphold with them.”

Partners of Winfrey Foods LLC, Karla, Burnice and Cardale Winfrey were all in attendance at the rival game against TSU. In Winfrey Foods, Karla regulates the marketing and concepts of the business. Burnice graduated from TSU with a Bachelor of Science in Mass communication. His role in Winfrey foods is to develop special projects and create new recipes. Cardale also graduated from TSU with a bachelor’s and master’s of Business Administration. He is responsible for the finances and customer relations.

“My brother and I are graduates of TSU and Karla is a graduate of MTSU,” Cardale said. “We have the house divided but it’s all in fun, we’ve done something for TSU so we wanted to do something for MTSU. We’re glad to be in partnership with them and we appreciate Dr. McPhee and MTSU for showcasing our product.”

All Royal Relish flavors can be purchased individually or in a 3-pack gift box at Walmart, The Fresh Market, Amazon.com and Winfreyfoods.com.

To contact News Editor Matthew Giffin and Assistant News Editor Kailee Shores, email newseditor@mtsusidelines.com.

For more news, visit www.mtsusidelines.com, or follow us on Facebook at MTSU Sidelines or on Twitter at @Sidelines_News.

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