Curious about the brains behind your favorite food brands and more? If you’re a legit food lover then you ought to get to know the masterminds who have influenced the food industry and own famous eateries around the globe. Read on to learn about just a few of the many who have helped shaped the way we eat, before you call yourself a true foodie.
This genius founded Chipotle Mexican Grill in 1993 and helped give birth to the fast-causal movement. Besides being a businessman, Ells is actually a true chef. He went to the Culinary Institute of America, just like Duff Goldman and Anthony Bourdain. Muchas gracias for the burritos and guac, Steve.
As the Chairman and CEO of Starbucks, this guy helped reinvent coffee and café vibes around the world. He grew up without much money and, according to Forbes, is now worth $2.7 billion. All hail Schultz for that #basic Pumpkin Spice Latté we all look forward to in the Fall.
Snyder and his wife, Esther, came up with the idea of a drive-thru hamburger stand with a two-way speaker box in 1948. (FYI this was before the first McDonalds even opened.) And bam, In-N-Out Burger was born. Double-double, Animal Style with fries, anyone?
Known for changing the game in the fast food world, Danny Meyer founded Shake Shack because he wanted to provide people with burgers made from fresh ingredients rather than frozen. P.S. If you’re vegetarian you can still indulge in Shake Shack – just go for their Shroom Burger with shack sauce.
Famous for her delectable milky sweets, Tosi impressed David Chang, owner of Momofuku, so much that he hired her to be his pastry chef. She went on to start Momofuku Milk Bar, a well-regarded and overly Instagrammed dessert shop. Take note peeps – it pays off to impress your boss.
Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield
Known for their legendary and mouthwatering Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, Cohen and Greenfield started their business in a renovated gas station in Burlington, VT. Their idea was originally conceived at Merrick Avenue Middle School during gym class, after realizing that a bagel business would be too costly. Oh, and then they revolutionized the ice cream game with the cookie core. Thanks, peeps.
An influencer when it comes to being environmentally conscious, Barber is known for his focus on food sustainability. Blue Hill Farm at Stone Barns is one of his best known restaurants, offering both seasonal and local produce. In the kitchen, you’ll probably find him wearing pajama pants and a waffled long-sleeve shirt. #comfort
John Mackey is the founder and Co-CEO of Whole Foods. Funnily enough, he and co-founder Rene Lawson lived at their flagship store in Austin, TX after being kicked out of their apartment for storing too much food there. At least he used the store’s dishwasher shower hose to bathe.
Yet another Daniel in the food world – are we seeing a trend? He founded KIND Healthy Snacks after realizing there was a need for more appetizing and nutritious snack foods. He also started the Do the Kind Thing campaign, which works to spread unexpected acts of kindness. Yes.
An American chef with Italian roots, Batali owns numerous restaurants around the US such as Babbo, Eataly, Otto and Del Posto. He attended Rutgers University where he studied Spanish Theater and Business Management. Fun fact: You may find him in Greenwich Village rockin’ his signature fleece vest, shorts and orange Crocs.
An Italian native, Petrini founded the Slow Food Movement, an association that works to preserve and promote quality, environmentally friendly, and fair-trade food. Around 1986, a McDonald’s was going to be placed at the Spanish Steps in Rome, and in response, Slow Food was born. Time to step up your meal plan.
If you’ve ever heard of the James Beard Foundation, then you probably know that James Beard was a famous American cookbook writer, teacher and TV personality. However, you may not know that Beard found his appreciation for real and fresh food as a child, after being sick with malaria. He also rocked a thick mustache instead of a beard.
The Editor-in-Chief of the late Gourmet Magazine, Reichl is also known for her nitty-gritty restaurant critiques that can make or break a restaurant. Interestingly, Reichl grew up in a household where her mother would throw together concoctions of moldy leftovers from a casserole, 2-week old turkey carcass and canned mushroom soup. Ew.
Well there you have it. Next time you hit up Chipotle, scarf down a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Half Baked ice cream, or overhear a convo about environmentally sustainable food, you’ll know some random facts about these household names. Yo’ welcome.