These men and women really cook.
America's 50 Most Powerful People in Food for 2011
We're confident that we've come up with a pretty good list. What do you think? Did we leave off anybody obvious, or give undue prominence to some food folk or not enough to others? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
#50 Adam Rapoport, Editor-in-Chief, Bon Appétit.
For the first time in recent memory, a major American food magazine — Bon Appétit in this case — is being reinvented pretty much top to bottom, and Rapoport's the man in charge. As former restaurant editor of Time Out New York and more recently style editor of GQ, Rapaport has the chops, and his new gig gives him the opportunity to raise the level of gastronomic discourse in America. The May issue will be his first, and we'll see if he uses his power wisely.
#49 Jeffrey Jordan, CEO, OpenTable
Using OpenTable, it is now possible to book tables online at more than 15,000 restaurants, all over America and in London; 175 million diners have taken advantage of the service since its inception in 1998. Some restaurateurs object to OpenTable's fees, but the site has had a real impact on the hospitality industry, not just changing the way people make restaurant reservations — no more long waits on hold, no more snooty reservationists — but also discouraging no-shows and enabling customization of the experience (want to arrive by limo? have flowers waiting at the table? invite friends?). More innovations are presumably to come.
#48 Ingrid Newkirk, President and Co-Founder, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
As head of this increasingly high-profile organization, known popularly as PETA, Newkirk agitates for total vegetarianism but meanwhile, acknowledging reality, espouses more humane treatment of animals raised for fast food and other culinary uses. Among some of PETA’s accomplishments have been exposing animal cruelty at pig-breeding factory farms in North Carolina and Oklahoma, and lobbying successfully for McDonald’s to improve treatment of farmed animals raised for its use. Burger King and Wendy’s and supermarket chains Safeway, Kroger, and Albertsons later followed suit.
#47 Martha Stewart, TV Personality, Entrepreneur
Stewart, creator of a wildly successful food and entertaining brand, remains one of the most powerful women in the entertainment industry. Her first book, Entertaining, published in 1982, became the best-selling cookbook since Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking. In 1990, she launched her iconic Martha Stewart Living magazine. Twenty-two years later, her company, Martha Stewart Omnimedia, produces books, periodicals, TV shows, housewares, and more. She continues to be an arbiter of domestic fad and fashion, in and out of the kitchen.
#46 Jonathan Gold, Journalist, LA Weekly and KCRW-FM
Okay, Gold's got game — first of all solely on the grounds of having been the first (and so far only) food writer to win a Pulitzer Prize, thereby not only enhancing his own reputation but bringing new credibility to a sometimes maligned profession. Beyond that, restaurant critics everywhere read his columns in LA Weekly and probably weep, not just because they can't get all that great Thai food he often talks about but because he sets stylistic and analytical standards that most other writers can only nibble at.
#45 Dan Bane, President and CEO, Trader Joe's
Photo Modified: Wikimedia Commons / Sprew / Public Domain
From a Southern California convenience store, Trader Joe's has grown into a culinary-cultural phenomenon with offbeat semi-supermarkets in 31 states (and more to come), establishing standards of quality and purity for suppliers (they have a famous list of ingredients they won't accept in products they sell), inspiring other food retailers to be more creative, and in general — despite corporate secrecy policies that seem to have been borrowed from the NSA — injecting a dose of fun into market-going.
#44 Danny Meyer, Restaurateur
As the founder and CEO of Union Square Hospitality Group, Meyer is the powerhouse restaurateur behind Union Square Café, Gramercy Tavern, Maialino, and The New York Times four star-rated Eleven Madison Park, among other Manhattan eateries name a few. In addition to ranking among New York City’s top dining destinations, Meyer’s restaurants are also distinguished for their superior hospitality, a guiding principle in his business philosophy. He even penned a non-restaurant-specific manual called Setting the Table: The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business. Then of course there's the Shake Shack effect: Not only has the immensely popular burger stand grown into its own expanding mini-empire, it has served as a model for other chefs to serve quality food in a low-end context.
#43 Josh Viertel, President, Slow Food USA
Viertel, who has been at the helm of Slow Food USA since 2008, was recently named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum (he is 32) for his leadership of the American Slow Food movement. A grassroots initiative born in Italy, Slow Food aims to educate consumers, improve the way food products are produced and preserved, and celebrate the social and cultural experience of eating. Though Slow Food has only 19,000 members in America (and a mere 85,000 worldwide), it is highly visible and widely respected, and has stimulated culinary discourse nationwide.
#42 Barry Estabrook, Investigative Journalist
An article of his in Gourmet in early 2009 was responsible for dramatic improvements in labor conditions in the tomato farms of Florida — the state grows roughly half of all the tomatoes consumed in America — and Estabrook has continued to be perhaps our most eloquent and knowledgeable observer of issues relating to what he calls "the politics of the plate" (on his website of that name and elsewhere), as well as an activist dedicated to trying to make bad things better.
#41 Nobu Matsuhisa, Chef-Restaurateur
Having virtually reinvented Japanese food for non-Japanese diners (his black cod with miso became one of the signal dishes of the 1990's in restaurants all over the country), Matsuhisa today oversees, with varying degrees of personal involvement, almost 30 restaurants in locations ranging from Aspen to Athens, Dallas to Dubai (with three each in New York, London, and the Los Angeles area) — and continues to help shape restaurant idioms around the world.
#40 Dan Barber, "Farm-to-Table" Chef–Restaurateur
You could argue that if the whole farm-to-table, eat-local movement had a mascot, it would be Dan Barber. Since opening his Manhattan restaurant, Blue Hill, and then its sister establishment, Blue Hill at Stone Barns, part of a working farm in New York State's Westchester County, Barber has become a green-cuisine idol, encouraging other restaurateurs to source locally and develop close relationships with their suppliers. The James Beard Award-winning chef was even appointed to serve on the Presidential Council on Physical Fitness.
#39 Ruth Reichl, Writer and Editor
She no longer has her bully pulpits (The New York Times restaurant critic's slot or the editorship of the late Gourmet magazine), but Reichl remains a contender. She is among the most successful American authors of narrative food books and has recently become at editor-at-large for Random House (in which context she will presumably bring us good writing on food that is not her own). She has also inspired parody (cf. Ruth Bourdain and "The Tao of Ruth") — of which there is far too little in the food world — and, hey, she has more than 60,000 followers on Twitter.
#38 Michael Pollan, Writer
No conversation about modern commercial foodways and the American agricultural system would be complete without mention of best-selling author Pollan. His body of work, including the James Beard Award-winning Omnivore’s Dilemma and the more recent In Defense of Food, has made him one of the more prominent critics of American agribusiness. A contributing writer to The New York Times Magazine and a professor of journalism at UC Berkeley, Pollan has been a leading voice in the national discussion about where our food comes from and why it’s so important to care.
#37 Mario Batali, Chef–Restaurateur
Chef, restaurateur, cookbook author, media personality… As our most diversified and highly visible exponent of modern Italian — and/or Italian-American — cooking, Batali has built an empire of restaurants, with the help of business partners including Lidia and Joe Bastianich and Nancy Silverton, that have changed the way we think about everybody's favorite cuisine. Last year, his Del Posto in Manhattan won four stars from The New York Times, one of only seven restaurants — and the only Italian — to merit that distinction.
#36 David Dillon, Chairman and CEO, Kroger Co.
Together with its subsidiaries, Kroger is the country’s largest grocery store chain, operating more than 3,000 stores from the West Coast to the Deep South. The multiple dairies, bakeries, meat plants, and other production facilities it manages feed millions of people a year, and its buying decisions affect product development and availability on a major scale.
#35 Susan Ungaro, President, James Beard Foundation
When she became president of this non-profit culinary institution in 2006, Ungaro’s main job seemed to be damage control: After her predecessor was accused of embezzlement, the organization lost much of its credibility in the food world, despite the fact that it doles out what are the considered the highest honors in American food and wine, the James Beard Awards, sometimes called "the Academy Awards of food.” Ungaro restored the foundation's reputation and has since worked on expanding the foundation’s charitable works, like its scholarship program, as well as raising the profile of the Beard Awards — even moving the ceremony to New York City’s Lincoln Center to give it added pizzazz.
#34 Lockhart Steele, Founder, Eater.com
Steele founded the real estate-focused Curbed.com, which became the cornerstone of a suite of blogs called the Curbed Network. Since 2005, when he launched Eater.com with partner Ben Leventhal, Steele has been the driving force behind the network's popular food site, offering up-to-the-minute restaurant news across the nation. With users ranging from chefs and restaurateurs who use it to scout out newly available spaces to food nerds who gobble up the industry gossip the site often peddles, eater.com regularly breaks news, reports scandals, and scoops bigger, more established media outlets.
#33 Catherine M. Cassidy, Vice-President and Editor-in-Chief, Taste of Home Media Group
Taste of Home has the largest circulation of any food magazine in the country — 3.2 million, nearly two-and-a-half times what its nearest competitors boast. In addition, its various cookbooks have sold over nine million copies, its website logs 2.3 million visitors a month, and its pop-up cooking schools attract more than 300,000 attendees annually. Sure these folks affect the way America cooks and eats.
#32 Daniel Boulud, Chef-Restaurateur
The ultimate standard-bearer for fine French food, traditional and contemporary, in America today, Boulud scoffs at trends even as he extends the definitions of what haute cuisine can be. As he continually enriches the food scene in his adopted country, Boulud helps keep France's reputation for culinary excellence alive.
#31 Rich Melman, Restaurant Mogul
A consummate trend-spotter, culinary popularizer, and developer of kitchen and dining room talent, Melman was the co-founder of, and for decades has been the animating spirit behind, the punningly named Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, based in Chicago but currently running more than 60 restaurants in seven states, from Arizona to Virginia. Along the way, Melman has raised the bar for "dinner houses" all over the U.S., and made theme restaurants into an art form.
#30 Tom Colicchio, Chef-Restaurateur and “Top Chef” Host
A consummate trend-spotter, culinary popularizer, and developer of kitchen and dining room talent, Melman was the co-founder of, and for decades has been the animating spirit behind, the punningly named Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, based in Chicago but currently running more than 60 restaurants in seven states, from Arizona to Virginia. Along the way, Melman has raised the bar for "dinner houses" all over the U.S., and made theme restaurants into an art form.
#29 Irene Rosenfeld, Chairman and CEO, Kraft Foods
As the Chairman and CEO of Kraft Foods, Irene Rosenfeld runs the company that produces such mainstream brands as Jell-O, Ritz Crackers, Philadelphia Cream Cheese, and Oscar Mayer hot dogs and bacon, not to mention cheese aplenty — products found in the pantries of nearly every home in America. Named #2 on Fortune's recent roster of "most powerful women" (just under Indra Nooyi), Rosenfeld most recently helped Kraft acquire Cadbury, making her company a $48-billion dollar leader in the packaged food business.
#28 Michael Bloomberg, Mayor of New York City
As the Mayor of New York City since 2002, Michael Bloomberg has been working to improve the health of New Yorkers, and in doing so, has garnered the attention of health officials in cities around the nation. He successfully orchestrated a ban on the use of trans-fats by the city’s 24,000 food establishments in 2006. His subsequent targets have included sodium levels in food and the use of food stamps for the purchase of soft drinks. He is also the owner of Bloomberg Corp., which covers food and the business of food, among many other subjects, through its various media outlets.
#27 Lisa Sharples, President, Allrecipes.com
Since Sharples became head of Allrecipes.com, which sometimes ranks as the most popular recipe search site on the Web (thus far, we can't help adding), it has grown by at least 40 percent, and now boasts an average of six million unique users a month. With her new position as president of the Reader’s Digest Association, which owns the site — she remains the head of Allrecipes.com, too — she’ll presumably strive to ensure the continued success of the company's other food-related properties, including the Rachael Ray and Taste of Home empires.
#26 Indra Nooyi, Chairman and CEO, PepsiCo
PepsiCo claims to own the world’s largest portfolio of food and beverage brands, “including 19 different product lines that each generate [sic] more than $1 billion in annual retail sales.” Frito-Lay, Quaker, Pepsi-Cola, Tropicana, and Gatorade, and their many sub-brands are all under the PepsiCo umbrella. Since being named to her current position as head of PepsiCo in 2006, Nooyi has been named Fortune’s "most powerful woman" four years in a row.
#25 Tim & Nina Zagat, Guidebook Publishers
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We hope they won't mind being counted together as one, since their claim to fame — the Zagat guides — has been intensely collaborative. A couple of attorneys who met at Yale Law School, the Zagats had the inspiration, long before the Internet gave every casual diner a voice, to democratize restaurant criticism, collecting ratings based on consensus rather than basing them on individual critical opinion. Inclusion in the appropriate Zagat guide (and on its associated website) has become a badge of honor in the industry, and low ratings therein have deflated more than one food-biz ego and ultimately closed more than one restaurant door.
#24 José Andrés, Chef–Restaurateur and Activist
Spain is the hot property today in the food world, for everything from casual bar food to the farthest reaches of the avant-garde, and Andrés represents, and cheerleads for, all that is good about Spanish gastronomy — the wonderful hams and cheeses and other artisanal foodstuffs, the simple tapas and other traditional food steeped in history and tradition, the dazzling innovations of Ferran Adrià and his offspring… He also brings his creativity to non-Spanish cuisines (Middle Eastern, Chinese), and is a social activist, reminding fellow chefs of the breadth of their responsibilities to their communities.
#23 Arturo Rodriguez, President, United Farm Workers of America
Arturo Rodriguez first joined César Chavez’s union in 1969 as a university student and has remained a dedicated employee ever since. Taking over as president when Chavez passed away, Rodriguez continues to carry out the UFW’s mission of protecting immigrant workers from exploitation and improving their working conditions. Among his accomplishments have been gaining passage of a law requiring a neutral party to oversee the negotiation of farm workers’ contracts, and the implementation of agreements guaranteeing farm workers' rights with the country’s largest dairy producers and strawberry farms.
#22 Maria Rodale, CEO, Rodale, Inc.
Heir to the nation’s largest independent publishing house, started by her grandfather — a pioneer in the organic farming movement — Rodale has overseen such successful diet and health franchises, in book form and beyond, as The South Beach Diet, Eat This Not That, and The Biggest Loser. She founded Rodale.com in 2009 and continues to stump for organic farming and eating with her most recent book, Organic Manifesto.
#21 Oprah Winfrey, TV Personality, Entrepreneur
With a media empire worth $476 billion, Winfrey has made the careers of such celebrities as chefs Paula Deen and Art Smith and the health and diet gurus known as Dr. Phil and Dr. Oz. When she decided that an obscure tropical fruit call the açai berry was the next magic elixir, sales of açai-flavored products soared. When she warned viewers about the dangers of eating contaminated meat during the Mad Cow hysteria, she worried Texas cattlemen so much that they filed a multimillion-dollar defamation suit against her (they lost). Winfrey no longer has her famous daily talk show, but she will surely continue to help shape our food choices through her new Oprah Winfrey Network.
#20 Grant Achatz, Chef–Restaurateur
Our very own home-grown representative of the avant-garde in cooking, Achatz has blazed his own trail, turning his restaurant Alinea in Chicago into one of America's best restaurants (the best, according to some), and proving that space-age creativity in cuisine doesn't have to have a Spanish accent. His new restaurant, Next, breaks ground in another direction: Instead of making reservations, diners buy tickets, as for the theatre. If this idea catches on, it could revolutionize the way restaurants plan and manage their finances, and conceivably make them healthier (or more daring) as a result.
#19 Thomas Keller, Chef-Restaurateur
Though only a small number of people every year have the privilege of dining at his flagship establishments, The French Laundry in Napa Valley and Per Se in New York City, each garlanded with three Michelin stars — and not all that many more can enjoy even his more modest establishments in California, New York, and Las Vegas — Keller has set the tone for fine dining all over the country. The precision with which he organizes and runs his kitchens has changed attitudes and raised standards; he is the serious American chef other chefs aspire to be.
#18 Gregory R. Page, CEO, Cargill, Inc.
Head of one of the largest publicly held corporations in the U.S., Page guides his company as an international producer and marketer of food and of agricultural, financial, and industrial products and services. Involved in grain and seed distribution as well as meatpacking and processing, Cargill sells about 25 percent of all the grain consumed in the U.S. As 76 million Americans eat some kind of Cargill product annually, the company's agricultural decisions and farming practices undeniably affect the way Americans eat.
#17 Donnie Smith, CEO, Tyson Foods
Tyson is the world's second-largest meat processor and wholesaler and the second-largest food producing company in America; the second most generous corporate donor to hunger and disaster relief in the country (it gives both money and food); and the exclusive supplier of chicken to everyone from KFC, McDonald's, and Burger King to Leavenworth Penitentiary. Tyson is the king of chicken, in fact — the reason we eat it (some of us, at any rate) twice or even thrice a day. Just think what would happen if Tyson moved big-time into rabbit or maybe squirrel.
#16 Guy Fieri, TV Personality
This rowdy, motorcycle-riding, spiky-bleached-blond-hair dude has become a huge success since winning the second season of The Next Food Network Star in 2006. Now host of three Food Network shows, he was officially named “the face of the Food Network” in 2010, making him their most popular personality. Crossing over into mainstream television to succeed Howie Mandel as host of the NBC game show, Minute To Win It, Fieri drew an average of six million viewers per episode in the first season (he’s been signed for a second); his very visibility makes him a major player in the food scene.
#15 James Sinegal, Founder and CEO, Costco
As the Founder and CEO of the national warehouse club Costco, Sinegal has made quality name-brand products accessible to a wide clientele through bulk purchasing — and selling. Its immense buying power — it is, among other things, the nation's number one retailer of wine — gives Costco the ability to influence supply and demand on a major scale.
#14 Rachael Ray, TV Personality
With her bubbly personality and contagious catchphrases (like “EVOO” and “Yum-O”), Ray appeals to ordinary people, not food snobs or self-styled connoisseurs. In 2006, she launched a successful self-titled daytime TV show, and is currently the editorial director of her own lifestyle magazine, Everyday with Rachael Ray. In her new show, Rachael Ray’s Week in a Day, which appears on the Cooking Channel, she continues to do what she does best: get the people who watch her to actually go into the kitchen and cook.
#13 Wolfgang Puck, Chef–Entrepreneur
Let's see… He invented upscale pizza and Asian fusion as we know it, introduced high-quality chef-branded items to the supermarket freezer case, rethought airport fast food, and reinvented the steakhouse. One of the first "celebrity chefs" (some argue that he was the first) in America, Puck has continually thought up new ways to feed us, and chances are he's not done yet.
#12 John Mackey, Chairman and CEO, Whole Foods Market
Mackey has helped bring organic and sustainable foods to mainstream America, along the way expanding consumer awareness of what it means to eat responsibly. Beginning with one store in Austin, Texas, in 1980, Mackey has grown Whole Foods to a $9 billion worldwide vendor of organics, with over 300 stores, at home and abroad.
#11 Michael R. Taylor, Deputy Commissioner for Foods, U.S. Food and Drug Administration
A federal food safety veteran, Taylor seemed a wise choice in early 2009 to lead a government agency that has been under fire following scores of lethal food contamination cases and food recalls. The new two-part food safety legislation recently passed not only entrusts Taylor and his agency with carrying out new regulations, but also gives the FDA more authority to direct safety and recall policies and review the procedures of food-producing firms. The resulting prevention-based strategy is definitely a game-changer.
#10 Jim Skinner, President and CEO, McDonald's Corporation
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Skinner, who started at McDonald's as a lowly management trainee, holds the reins at the world's largest hamburger chain by far (58 million served — daily!). Over the years, the Golden Arches have changed American eating habits (if not necessarily for the better) in countless ways, introduced millions of customers to radicchio and baby lettuces, invented the breakfast sandwich, and brought fresh-fruit smoothies to a whole new audience. McDonald's buys almost a billion dollars’ worth of American beef annually, and is the largest purchaser of apples in the U.S.
#9 Sam Sifton, Restaurant Critic, the New York Times
As Frank Bruni’s successor at The New York Times, Sifton has stirred controversy galore with his often unexpected assessments of New York City eating places and his sometimes counterintuitive awarding of stars. However, his ability to stir the pot seems only to have increased his influence. An opinionated critic (should there be any other kind?) backed by the Gray Lady wields the power to make or break restaurants both new and established in the nation’s largest city, which makes Sifton undeniably America’s preeminent restaurant reviewer.
#8 Mike Duke, President and CEO, Walmart
Whether you love it or love to hate it, you simply cannot deny that Wal-Mart has a lot of weight to throw. It is not only the world’s largest grocer — think of all that purchasing power — but is also, you may be surprised to learn, the nation's number-one customer for organic foods. That said, it has also lobbied strenuously to loosen the legal definition of "organic" so that more products can bear that label. Still, since becoming CEO in 2004, Duke has made a commitment to have the company purchase more locally grown produce and instituted a program of sourcing sustainably grown produce.
#7 Brooke Johnson, President, Food Network
Think about how powerful food TV stars like Guy Fieri and Rachel Ray are; then consider the power of the person responsible for giving them their platforms. Johnson became president of the Food Network in 2004, and since 2010 has been in charge of all food content for FN owner Scripps Networks Interactive, including the recently-launched Cooking Channel and a family of websites. Having engineered the development of Iron Chef America, it’s clear that Johnson understands the power of turning food into entertainment, and pretty likely that she'll keep finding new ways to do so.
#6 Alice Waters, Chef-Restaurateur and Activist
Even Anthony Bourdain, who once said that Alice Waters annoyed “the living s*@# out of [him],” has called her a visionary, and described her Berkeley restaurant, Chez Panisse, as “inarguably a cradle of the food revolution.” She introduced a whole generation of Americans to the very notion of organic and locally sourced food, started the Edible Schoolyard and School Lunch Initiative programs to improve childhood nutrition, and launched the Chez Panisse Foundation to use food to "teach, nurture, and empower young people." She supports the Child Nutrition Reauthorization Act, and was largely responsible for encouraging Michelle Obama to create a White House garden. Whatever direction her activism takes her in, in the years to come, she has the reputation — and the moral authority — to bring a lot of people along with her.
#5 Steve Jobs, New Media Guru and Co-Founder and CEO, Apple
Featureflash / Shutterstock
Steve Jobs one of the most powerful people in food??? As far as we know, he can't cook. We don't know or care what he eats for breakfast or where he eats for dinner. In fact, Jobs has just gone on medical leave (he fought off pancreatic cancer in 2004) and is not currently in day-to-day charge of Apple. But with the introduction of the iPhone, the iPod Touch, and the iPad, Jobs gave consumers a whole new way to learn about restaurants, recipes, and more. The devices lend public reviews on sites like Yelp! greater prominence than they've had, and apps like Urbanspoon, Epicurious, and Locavore are just the first course. The iPad is even being used as a menu or a wine list in some establishments. Jobs remains a contender, and we'd bet he hasn't finished changing the food game.
#4 Michelle Obama, First Lady of the United States and Activist
Shutterstock / jdwfoto
In 2009, she turned the spotlight on healthy, locally grown fruit and vegetables simply by planting (partly with her own hands) a White House garden on the South Lawn. The plot, from which a thousand pounds of food were harvested that first year, was expanded by 400 square feet in 2010. It is a living, growing symbol of the First Lady’s “Let’s Move” campaign, an effort to make school food healthier and to reduce childhood obesity to five percent by 2030. And when the White House speaks, people listen. Sometimes they even like what they hear.
#3 Hugh Grant, Chairman, President and CEO, Monsanto Company
(Not that Hugh Grant, silly). As leader of this international biotechnology firm, which is the world's largest producer of genetically modified seeds — and the manufacturer of Roundup (the most commonly used agricultural pesticide around the world) and recombinant bovine growth hormone, among many other substances — Grant has a major influence on the food we eat, and will eat more of in the future, whether we like it or not.
#2 Thomas J. Vilsack, Secretary, U.S. Department of Agriculture
As the organization that oversees the country’s food safety systems and sets nutritional guidelines (through the emblematic if periodically revised Food Pyramid, among other things), the USDA plays a vital role in how we perceive and interact with food. Since becoming the agency's secretary in early 2009, Vilsack has worked to help support economic recovery by focusing on agricultural infrastructure and renewable energy sources for farms. He has also made the fight against childhood obesity a priority, teaming up with Michelle Obama on programs designed to raise awareness of the importance of exercise and nutrition
The user. The reader. The consumer. The restaurant-goer. The home cook. The culinary professional. Websites and magazines report the trends; cookbooks sometimes ignite them or fan the flames. But you are ultimately the one who decides what to devour and what to leave aside. You're responsible, finally, for the quality and integrity of our raw materials, the style and accent of our restaurants, the success or failure of our food products and cuisines. You determine what we eat and how and sometimes why. And you're doing a great job. Keep it up.
Signature desserts in every state
Who doesn’t love a great dessert to cap off a delicious meal? According to Technomic, 41% of consumers say that they enjoy dessert at least once per week after a meal. And if you’re traveling the country, there’s no better way to enhance your knowledge of a region than through its native foods—including its signature desserts!
Whether you’re tucking into a slice of tangy key lime pie at a beach bar in Florida, fluffy chiffon cake at a wedding in California, or an airy cream puff at the Wisconsin State Fair, there’s no denying the effect. Indulging in a location-specific sweet treat will create a special memory that stays with you, connecting you to a place forever. Knowing what a significant role dessert can play in linking taste to memory, Stacker compiled a list of signature desserts in every state, combing through regional newspapers, blogs, and homemade recipe collections.
Some states, such as Delaware, Maine, and Maryland, have “official” desserts, while others, such as Connecticut, Hawaii, and Nevada, adopted desserts that were brought to the U.S. through immigration. Still other states have popular desserts that blossomed out of an agricultural bounty, such as pumpkins in Illinois and marionberries in Oregon.
Some signature dessert recipes take more time—and more ingredients—to make than others. Many recipes were created during hard times when not much was available in the pantry, while others took advantage of bountiful fruit harvests. “Depression cakes” swap out ingredients like butter for oil, and some recipes can be made without milk, butter, or eggs.
Whether you want to don your apron and make some of these signature desserts or you’re just in the mood for a few minutes of drooling, settle in and prepare yourself for the tastiest read of the week.
Roasting turkey in pieces is a great strategy when cooking for a large crowd. You can buy the turkey already cut up, separate two turkeys yourself, or ask your butcher to do the work for you. Basting with a simple garlic-herb butter gives the turkey an extra depth of flavor that will complement any Thanksgiving side dish.
Inspired by the Chinese technique of red-cooking, this turkey recipe from Chef Anita Lo spotlights star anise, cinnamon, and ginger. Lo adds apple cider to the brine for a seasonal twist.
August 1945 — The bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
In these photos taken from U.S. military aircraft, atomic mushroom clouds are seen rising over the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki as the atom bombs leveled everything to the ground. The picture on the left is of Hiroshima, bombed on Aug. 6, 1945, while the picture on the right shows the Nagasaki bombing on Aug. 9, 1945. The bombs killed nearly 160,000 people in Hiroshima and another 75,000 in Nagasaki.
Americans waste 150,000 tons of food each day – equal to a pound per person
Americans waste about a pound of food per person each day, with people who have healthier diets rich in fruit and vegetables the most wasteful, research has found.
About 150,000 tons of food is tossed out in US households each day, equivalent to about a third of the daily calories that each American consumes. Fruit and vegetables were the most likely to be thrown out, followed by dairy and then meat.
This waste has an environmental toll, with the volume of discarded food equivalent to the yearly use of 30m acres of land, 780m pounds of pesticide and 4.2tn gallons of irrigated water. Rotting food also clogs up landfills and releases methane, a powerful greenhouse gas.
Researchers at the US Department of Agriculture analysed eight years of food data, up to 2014, to see where food is wasted and also what members of the public say they do at mealtimes. The research has been published in Plos One.
The study found that the healthiest Americans are the most wasteful, because of their high consumption of fruits and vegetables, which are frequently thrown out. Fruit and vegetables require less land to grow than than other foods, such as meat, but require a large amount of water and pesticides.
Lisa Jahns, a nutritionist at USDA and co-author of the study, said: “We need a simultaneous effort to increase food quality as well as reduce food waste. We need to put both of those things out.”
Jahns’s study recommends educating consumers on fruit and vegetable storage in order to reduce food waste.
She said: “Consumers aren’t connecting the dots, [and] they don’t see the cost when they throw food in the trash. At the same time, we don’t want to undermine legitimate food safety concerns and we need to be aware it’s not just the cost of food that’s the issue. It’s the time and energy required to prepare and store food, which often isn’t a priority in a busy household.”
Food waste occurs from farm to the plate in the US, with separate research released this week showing that American supermarkets are failing to address the issue.
The report, by the Center for Biological Diversity, found that just four of the 10 largest grocery chains in the US have specific food waste reduction commitments. A further four out of the 10 don’t prevent the waste of food considered too cosmetically “imperfect” to sell. Walmart achieved the highest grade, a B, while Aldi US was the worst. Trader Joe’s, Target and Whole Foods all did poorly, ranked with a D.
“There is just so much wasted food at so many levels,” said Jordan Figueiredo, who runs the “Ugly” Fruit and Veg Campaign and collaborated on the report. “Supermarkets usually get a free pass for doing anything to reduce wasted food or donate extra food. There is so much more they can and should do to reduce wasted food, especially given that they are essentially the gatekeepers for our food.”
Figueiredo said there needs to be better funding for food recovery and wider use of composting, which is only available to about one in 10 Americans.
We believe that a good diet is the foundation for great health. But even with the best intentions, the modern-day food chain doesn’t offer the nutrition you need for optimal health and vitality.
Our products were created with highly accredited natural health experts from across the world, using the purest and most potent source of nutrition – nature. With regular reviews and improvements, our products not only deliver a boost for today, they give you nutrition for life.
I am passionate about making as many good decisions about my health and nutrition in order to maximize performance. I believe in food first to fuel me, and knowing that all the products prioritize that.
I only believe in promoting things that I am truly passionate about. I’ve been using Nuzest for months and now I’m lucky enough to be part of their team! If at first you think the taste is a bit.
I’m a text book chocolate protein athlete. However, lately I’ve been dabbling in Chai + Turmeric protein and I’m pretty hooked tbh. Super smooth and mixes great with coconut milk post workouts. PS- I still haven’t died from.
Quick story about my weight. I fluctuate A LOT, depending on the food I eat and the activities I do. I can either get super thick, bloated and feeling frumpy or I can be insanely skinny.
As a fitness nutritionist protein powder is super important to me! However, there is so much junk out there. Not only is Nuzest the absolute cleanest that I’ve found, just read the ingredients (there are barely any!) but.
The Clean Lean Protein has great flavors, with all natural ingredients and most importantly high protein content. I can simply mix Nuzest with water for a quick protein replenish after practice/game or I can mix it.
A Matter Of Taste (2011)
Good for: Fine-dining obsessives
Why you should watch it: The film tells the story of Paul Liebrandt, who as a young chef was both heavily praised for his talent and critiqued for his dishes falling short of expectation. Spoiler alert: He became the chef of what is now the two Michelin star restaurant Corton. This documentary takes a closer look at what it takes to be a successful haute chef. Watch the movie here.
Peruvian Superfoods: The Most Powerful Powders on the Planet
Lately, Peru is having a culinary moment. Chefs are heralding the cuisine with the enthusiasm they once reserved for France. Peruvian restaurants are popping up in major cities everywhere. On his "Parts Unknown" program, Anthony Bourdain dubbed Peru's cuisine one of the most underrated in the world. The United Nations declared 2013 the "International Year of Quinoa," and the Nation's Restaurant News reported that Peruvian cuisine is poised for growth in the United States. Clearly, something is happening in my home country. And while it's partially due to the innovative preparations and exciting cross-cultural dishes being developed, it's also because of the incredible ingredients that hail from Peru.
As a native Peruvian, I've always been driven to share my knowledge about the foods that originate from the region. And as a registered dietitian, I am particularly interested in the health properties of many Peruvian foods. Because of the microclimates and diverse topography, Peru is home to thousands of foods found nowhere else on the planet, many of which are staggering in their content of potent nutrients. These foods fit into the new class of ingredients dubbed superfoods.
There are many definitions of superfoods, but I define superfoods as hardworking functional foods that far surpass basic nutritional content. They are, quite simply, the cleanest, most powerful, antioxidant-rich, phytonutrient-rich and anti-aging foods available anywhere. And most of these nutrient-rich ingredients happen to come from South America, and more specifically Peru.
Long known for healing properties in their native Andes and Amazonian regions, these precious resources are now being imported to the U.S. and other international markets. So this is an exciting time to start learning more about these resources and integrate them into your diet. While superfoods can be fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, oils or grains, today I'll share my top four picks for whole food powders. Many superfoods are first freeze dried and then ground into a powder before packaging and shipping. Processing doesn't dilute their health properties as they are kept pure. They are still whole foods and retain the same characteristics seen in their natural state. That said, there's no reason these powders have to be limited to shakes -- there are lots of fun ways to work them into cereals, sauces, desserts, coffee drinks, power bars and more.
Superfoods provide tremendous health benefits, ranging from boosting heart, bone and brain health, to the immune system, energy, strength and sexual drive. The four foods I'll talk about today include Maca, Cacao, Lucuma and Camu-camu.
Maca is a native Peruvian plant that grows in the Andes, dating back to approximately 3800 B.C. It resembles a small rough stone the size of a walnut. While rich in amino acids, phytonutrients and a variety of vitamins and minerals, maca functions as an adaptogen, thus aiding in adrenal function to increase energy and reduce stress, creating an overall revitalizing effect [1, 3, 4]. In addition to its ability to boost energy, it has been used to increase libido, treat erectile dysfunction, increase semen volume and sperm count , enhance workout performance and improve concentration [3, 4, 5]. It has been regarded as a potent sexual stimulant for centuries, so it's no surprise that today it's known as nature's Viagra.
Cacao was cultivated over 3,000 years ago by the Incas and has been labeled as "the food of the gods." Cacao is rich in B vitamins as well as vitamins A, C and E. It's also a dense source of micronutrients including iron and zinc. The antioxidants and polyphenols in cacao have anti-inflammatory effects on the body and have the potential to fight cancer and cardiovascular disease [6, 7].
Lucuma is a tropical fruit with flavor notes of caramel, pumpkin and maple, and it was known as "the gold of the Incas." No wonder it's the most popular ice cream flavor in Peru. Despite its natural sweetness, lucuma has a low glycemic index . Besides being a great source of antioxidants, fiber, vitamins and minerals, Lucuma also helps lower blood pressure  and offers an abundance of Beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is a flavonoid that has strong anti-oxidant and anti-cancer properties and can help decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease [9, 10].
Camu-camu is a tropical fruit that is one of the world's most potent sources of vitamin C -- packing more than 60 times the vitamin C per serving than the almighty orange [11, 12]. Better yet, the vitamin C in camu is more easily absorbed than from supplements, as your body better utilizes nutrients that come from natural sources . vitamin C is known to boost immunity, facilitate tissue repair, fight cancer and help prevent cataracts. In addition to high contents of vitamin C, Camu-camu contains carotenoids  and anthocyanines  -- therefore, some studies suggest the Camu-camu may have some anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory properties .
The most exciting thing about these power-packed powders is that they are now widely available in the U.S. Try adding them to your diet to boost health and vitality. But remember, there is no one miracle food. By adding a variety of nutrient-rich superfoods to a smart diet of whole grains, fresh fruits, lean meats and good fats, you can jump start your health and increase your longevity. The recipes below are a great way to explore these incredible ingredients.
Manuel Villacorta is a registered dietitian in private practice, MV Nutrition, award winning nutrition and weight loss center in San Francisco. He is the founder and creator of Eating Free, an international weight management and wellness program, co-founder of Eat Mentor and author of Eating Free: The Carb Friendly Way to Lose Inches, Embrace Your Hunger, and Keep Weight Off for Good and his latest book Peruvian Power Foods: 18 Superfoods, 101 Recipes, and Anti-Aging Secrets from the Amazon to the Andes.
1. Ley, Beth M. Maca: Adaptogen and hormonal regulator. Bl Publications, 2003
2. Cordova, A., Chung, A., Gonzales, C., Gonzales, G., Vega, K., Villena, A. Lepidium meyenii (maca) improved semen parameters in adult men. (2001). Asian Journal of Andrology. Volume 3.
3. Gonzales-Castaneda, C., Gonzales, C., Gonzales, GF. Lepidium meyenii (maca): A plant from the highlands of Peru--from tradition to science. (2009) Research in Complementary Medicine. Volume 16, Issue 6.
4. Gonzales, G. (2011). Ethnobiology and Ethnopharmacology of Lepidium meyenii (Maca), a Plant from the Peruvian Highlands. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Vol¬ume 2012.
5. Wang, Y. Et al, Maca: An Andean crop with multi-pharmacological functions. Food Research Inter¬national 40 (2007) 783-92.
6. Andújar, M., Giner, R.M., Recio, M.C., Ríos, J.L. Cocoa polyphenols and their potential benefits for human health. (2012). Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity, Volume 2012.
7. Ismail, A. & Jalil, A. M. M. Polyphenols in cocoa and cocoa products: Is there a link between antioxi¬dant properties and health? (2008). Molecules, Volume 13, Issue 9, 2190-219.
8. Apostolidis, E., Genovese, MI., Lajolo, FM., Pinto, Mda S., Ranilla, LG., Shetty, K. (2009). Evaluation of antihyperglycemia and antihpertension potential of native Peruvian fruits using in vitro models. Journal of Medicinal Food, Volume 12, 278-91.
9. Chen, SS., Datta, N., Jiang, YM., Shi, J., Tomas-Barberan, FA., Singanusong, Y., Yao, LH., R. (2004). Flavonoids in food and their health benefits. Plant Foods for Human Nutrition, Volume 5, 113-22.
10. Dini, I. (2011). Flavodoid glycosides from Pourteria obovata (R. Br.) fruit flour. Food Chemistry, Volume 124, 884-88
11. Bradfield R, Roca, A. (1964). Camu-camu -- a fruit high in ascorbic acid. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, Volume 44, Pages 28-30.
12. Dufour, J. & Zapata, S. (1992). Camu-camu myrciaria dubia (HBK) mcvaugh: chemical composi¬tion of fruit. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture. Volume 61, Issue 3.
13. Evelázio de Souza, N., Justi, K. C., Matsushita, M., Visentainer, J.V. (2000). Nutritional composition and vitamin C stability in stored camu-camu (Myrciaria dubia) pulp. Archivos Latinoamericanos de Nutrición, Volume 50, Issue 4, Pages 405-8.
14. Azevedo-Meleiro CH, Rodriguez-Amaya DB. Confirmation of the identity of the carotenoids of tropical fruits by HPLCDAD and HPLC-MC. J Food Compos Anal 200417:385--96.
15. Zanatta CF, Cuevas E, Bobbio FO, Winterhalter P,Mercadante AZ. Determination of anthocyanins from camucamu (Myrciaria dubia) by HPLC-PDA, HPLC--MS, and NMR.J Agric Food Chem 200530:9531--5.
16. Inoue, T., Komoda, H., Node, K., Uchida, T. (2008). Tropical fruit camu-camu (Myrciaria dubia) has anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory properties. Journal of Cardiology, Volume 52, Issue 2, Pages 127-32.
Bite Size (2014)
Courtesy of Bite Size LLC
You likely know that childhood obesity and diabetes are major health problems in America, but this documentary really helps it hit home. BITE SIZE peers into the lives of four overweight American preteens as they struggle to lose weight and get a handle on healthier eating habits. If you're struggling to lose weight, this film reveals many unique solutions that can help you with your own weight loss journey. There are plenty of foods you should be removing from your kitchen, too.
You can stream it now on Amazon Prime Video.
What Is the Most Popular Food in the World?
Quick, off the top of your head – what would you guess is the most popular food in the whole world? Is it rice? Fish? Pasta? Chocolate?
Nope. And it’s not meat, grains or dairy, either. It was very surprising to me, but maybe you’ve already figured it out…
But before we get to top pick, this list comes from an infographic I discovered on a website called Massive Health, which based its rankings on data from 7.68M food ratings from over 50 countries. The graphic also details favorite foods in certain cities, such as Brussels sprouts in San Francisco, pretzels in Philadelphia and rye in Copenhagen. And it notes that New York is the healthiest city – or the least obese – in the United States. (I beg to differ, since every time I go to NYC I end up eating massive amounts of pizza, pasta and my favorite discovery ever, tortellini-topped pizza. But I’ll save that story for another blog.)
But back to the original question – what are the most popular foods in the world?
Yep, good ol’ salad. I don’t know how I overlooked it, especially since it’s something I’ve been striving to eat more of (and actually brought for lunch today in a jar), but there you have it. I don’t know if this includes all sorts of salad variations – fruit salad, tuna salad, pasta salad – or just classic lettuce and veggies and dressing, but it tops the list as the most popular food in the entire world. Way to go, team green!
Here’s the other 11 most popular foods in the world, along with some related recipes using these ingredients, just in case this makes you hungry.
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