Inspired by the hugely successful Tech 100, Business Insider is launching its first ever Food 100 — a ranking of the 100 coolest people in the world of food and drink, with a particular focus on Europe and North America.
Last year, we asked you to nominate the most innovative, trend-setting, impactful, and influential people in the ever-changing and always exciting worlds of food and drink.
Now, we've whittled your suggestions — along with plenty of our own — down to the 100 coolest people in 2019.
We define "cool" as having done something influential and interesting within the past year or so — whether that's launching an innovative product, solving an everyday problem, excelling in the kitchen, or simply exposing the world to a way of eating and drinking they've never before considered.
Jessie Ware may be primarily a singer, but she's increasingly making a name for herself as a podcast host. Ware started "Table Manners" with her chef mother Lennie in 2017. Inspired by the raucous dinners of their Jewish family, the podcast sees the mother and daughter duo joined round their kitchen table by celebrity guests such as Ed Sheeran, Yotam Ottolenghi, and Sam Smith for a home-cooked meal to discuss food, family, and more.
Former management consultant Tom Mercer was fed up with boring, unhealthy breakfasts, so he decided to make his own. Back in 2005, he started his brand as a food stall in London's stations and got up at 1.45 a.m. every morning to make and sell his bircher muesli and "oatie" shakes.
From there, MOMA (which stands for "Making Oats More Awesome") grew and grew. Its range of porridges, smoothies, and breakfast pots are now stocked in supermarkets, stations, online, and in coffee shops across the UK. Founder Mercer was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 2010, but continues to lead his company to new heights and deliver healthy, convenient, and delicious breakfasts to the masses.
Will Becket and Huw Gott have been best friends since they were 11 years old. The pair didn't have the most auspicious start in the restaurant biz, but a late night bar, a Mexican restaurant, and a gastropub later, the duo launched steakhouse Hawksmoor, which now has nine outlets across the UK and is regarded as something of an institution.
The "dictionary-thick" steaks, which The Times' food critic Giles Coren called the "best you'll find anywhere," are coming to New York this year. Hawksmoor's flagship 180-cover restaurant will reside in the historic United Charities Building between Madison Square Park and Gramercy Park.
Hawksmoor is not just about great beef, though. Gott and Beckett's reputation as "progressive employers" has earned Hawksmoor a place on The Sunday Times' list of top 100 UK employers for eight years running.
Patricia Escárcega and Bill Addison were both hired as LA Times restaurant critics in December 2018.
Escárcega, the first Latina to assume the role in the paper's history, honed her food writing skills at The Arizona Republic and the Phoenix New Times, but she's also worked as a proofreader, poet-in-the-schools, amateur librarian, receptionist, warehouse worker, and "perennial service industry factotum," as she says.
Having grown up in southern California in a family of naranjeros (citrus pickers), food has always been a bit part of Escárcega's life, and her writing comes through the unique lens of class, race, and politics. She is also the great-great-niece of the founder of Mitla Cafe in San Bernadino, which is said to have provided the inspiration for Glen Bell to open Taco Bell.
Addison, meanwhile, previously spent five years as national critic for Eater — a job which saw him traveling around the US for about 40 weeks a year, eating 600 restaurant meals in three dozen cities, and reporting on the nation's best culinary gems.
Addison believes LA is the most exciting and energized place to eat in the US, and, despite eating out for around 15 meals a week, says he could never get bored of restaurant food. In 2017 he won a James Beard Foundation Award (the Oscars of the food world) for a story on the evolving culture of eating crab in Baltimore, his hometown.
From bloating to bowel movements, gut health traditionally isn't a sexy topic. However, over the past few years, with the rise in popularity of fermented foods, the wellness industry has increasingly been championing the importance of looking after your gut, and one of the leading voices in that movement is Dr Megan Rossi.
She may have over 110,000 followers on Instagram, but unlike many influencers, Dr Rossi only shares science-backed facts. As well as breaking the taboo around talking about the gut, Dr Rossi shares helpful tips that are, as she says, easy to digest.
Born into a wine-growing family in France's Cognac region, it seemed only natural that Thibault would train as a cellar master and go into the brandy business that the area is so famous for. He didn't, though. The Frenchman was approached by American billionaire Sidney Frank (the man behind Jägermaster) in 1997, who asked him to plug the gap in high-end vodka — so he developed the recipe for Grey Goose, which remains one of the world's best-selling vodkas.
Read more: The creator of Grey Goose vodka has revealed whether the perfect martini should be shaken or stirred
Luca Longobardi has had a crazy life. Eight years ago, he was working on Wall Street when he was wrongly accused of laundering money for the Italian mafia and was sent to a maximum-security Brazilian jail for 30 days. Now, he's the co-owner of critically-acclaimed London gastronomic restaurant 108 Garage and neighbouring three-story contemporary dining and drinking hang-out, Southam Street — both of which he founded with chef Chris Denney, who he found on classifieds site Gumtree. The pair are now scouting a location to launch another site in New York City, and their newly released book, titled "Not a Cookbook," tells the story of their lives running parallel to each other until they met to create 108 Garage.
Read more: An ex-Wall Street broker who was falsely accused of being 'the mafia's banker' is launching a private members' club powered by blockchain
With degrees in Geochemistry and Brewing Technology and over 15 years working at Heineken, the beer behemoth's Global Craft and Brew Master Willem van Waesberghe certainly knows his beer.
Recently, van Waesberghe has unlocked a spectrum of new flavors and ultimately developed a new line of brews, the Wild Lager Series. Using his developments, Heineken launched the first of the Wild Lager Series, called H41, last year.
The limited edition beer got its name because the rare yeast was discovered at the coordinates 41 South and 71 West (in Chile). In short, Willem has dedicated his career to all things yeast and quality control at Heineken and last year used his expertise to develop an entirely new line of beers using the "mother yeast" to Heineken's classic, proprietary, ingredient.
A best-selling author and founder of leading private nutrition clinic Rhitrition, based on London's prestigious Harley Street, she has emerged as a leading voice in the fight against fad diet culture, regularly dispelling nutrition myths for her 140,000 Instagram followers and "Food for Thought" podcast listeners.
Formerly a classically trained soprano, Lambert is now a Master Practitioner in Eating Disorders and Obesity having obtained a diploma approved by The British Psychological Society (BPS) from The National Centre For Eating Disorders and diplomas in sports nutrition and pre and postnatal nutrition. Her first book, "Re-Nourish: A Simple Way To Eat Well," was a bestseller, and her new book, "Top Of Your Game," co-authored with number one snooker player Ronnie O'Sullivan, came out in May 2019.
Roulac founded sustainable superfood company Nutiva in 1999 with an ambitious goal — "revolutionize the way the world eats." With a belief that plant-based organic foods have the power to nourish both the people and the planet, Roulac has been a vocal challenger of the industrial food system, and is a passionate advocate for organic farming, industrial hemp, and GMO labelling — in 2002, he successfully sued the US Drug Enforcement Administration in 2002 to keep hemp foods legal.
He's sold a combined million copies of his four books on composting and hemp, founded five nonprofit ecological groups, including GMO Inside, an organisation dedicated to educating Americans about genetically modified ingredients (GMOs). The nonprofit has convinced General Mills to remove GMOs from Cheerios, Hershey to remove them from chocolates, and Campbell Soup to declare them on its labels. Now, the organisation is tackling Starbucks' use of milk from cows fed GMO trains. Oh, and Nutiva donates 1% of its sales to small organic farming communities ($4 million to date).
Roulac also recently launched RE Botanicals, the first national hemp CBD brand to be Certified Organic by the USDA.
With a background importing Italian wine, Migliuolo is the cofounder of FlickUp, a digital marketplace which rewards people for sharing gourmet food and drink recommendations, as well as YUKO, a version targeted to larger companies who want to create their own marketplace. With more than 1,000 products currently on the FlickUp service, users share a product link with a friend via the app or the likes of WhatsApp, SMS, or social media. If the friend then buys the product directly from the producer or reseller, the initial user receives a reward — or FlickUp currency — to spend on other products on the app.
Food writer and anti-poverty campaigner Jack Monroe started her blog "A Girl Called Jack" in February 2012, and it swiftly soared in popularity thanks to her budget-friendly recipes — Jack was very open about her life as a single mother, living on a food budget of £10 ($13) a week. It wasn't long before she was being covered in the national press, and Monroe (AKA the Bootstrap Cook) is now an active campaigner as well as recipe developer, despite having no formal food education.
Her new book "Tin Can Cook" brings together 75 recipes that are all made from tinned and dried ingredients.
Former Goldman Sachs investment bankers Kevin Glynn and David Nolan quit the company and raised £6 million ($7.7 million) to launch a homecooked dog food delivery service tailored to the dog's individual needs, backed by two of their former bosses.
The Butternut Box platform uses algorithms to "meet the individual needs of each pet" by asking owners to fill in a 90-second questionnaire about their dog, including details on weight, age, breed, activity level, and allergies etc. The team then works out how many calories a dog needs and tailors a selection of meals — preportioned into one pouch per day — according to the pet's needs.
The company's clients include celebrities like "Billions" star Damien Lewis and comedian Katherine Ryan.
Read more: How 2 Goldman Sachs investment bankers quit their jobs and raised £5 million to cook meals for dogs — including the pets of celebrities
Intermittent fasting has become one of the top lifestyle trends in the past two years, and is a science-backed way to lose weight as well as optimize health and performance. This is what led personal trainer Max Lowery to develop his concept, The 2 Meal Day. The IF guides are designed to help people reset their bodies to burn fat and reap the many benefits from intermittent fasting like weight loss, stable energy levels, and reducing overall hunger. Lowery now runs hiking retreats in the French Pyrenees and is soon launching a one-on-one online coaching platform called Flow365, which will feature workout videos and programs, recipes, advice from world renowned experts in the fields of sleep, nutrition, strength and conditioning, and mindfulness.
Read more: A personal trainer reveals the 'most effective method of intermittent fasting' — here's how to get started
Vallery Lomas bet everything on herself when she competed in "The Great American Baking Show" in 2017. It paid off — almost. Lomas won the show, beating out nine highly-skilled bakers for the top spot, then had it all pulled out from beneath her by something she had no control over. After just one episode had aired, ABC pulled the entire series following sexual misconduct allegations against judge Johnny Iuzzini. No one got to see Lomas take victory.
Now, as per Grub Street, Lomas is working to earn the reputation she should already have. She presented at The 2018 James Beard Awards, is a board member for The International Association of Culinary Professionals, and her inaugural baking book is slated for 2021. As she recently told Buzzfeed: "When life gives you lemons, make lemon curd."
Olympic medalist Andrew Steele knows that our current knowledge about genetics isn't enough to give complete predictions about health. Nevertheless, the company where he is Head of Product, DNAFit, is one of a number of organizations drawing on genetic data to give customers advice about their diet and exercise regimen. It uses a customer's DNA sample to create a personalized profile which provides diet and training advice that it believes best suits them, according to some limited genetic studies. Steele says it's about "learning more about you so you can better reach your goal" — and it seems he's onto something. Former England international footballer Rio Ferdinand announced a "significant" investment in the company last year.
Read more: A company used a sample of my DNA to tell me how I should eat and work out — here's the verdict
Former Eleven Madison Park Chef de Partie Matt Jozwiak started Rethink Food in 2016, and has spent almost half his life working in the food industry. The company is a nonprofit start-up based in New York which repurposes food waste to distribute as free (or low-cost) meals to those in need.
It was Jozwiak's background in the world of fine-dining that showed him just how wasteful the industry can be, and he wanted to do something about it. He and his team now collect unused, high-quality food from restaurants around NYC, providing businesses with an in-kind tax credit for their donations, and processing that extra food into healthy meals that are distributed to food banks around the city.
As editor of "The Immigrant Cookbook: Recipes that Make the World Great," Moushabeck compiled recipes from 75 immigrant chefs. Intended as "a culinary celebration of the many ethnic groups that contribute to a vibrant food culture," the book was published in 2018, a time when life as an immigrant in the US certainly wasn't easy.
"The Immigrant Cookbook" has been praised by an array of top chefs, including the late Anthony Bourdain, who described it as "a powerful, important, and delicious cookbook which everyone should own." Moushabeck, the daughter of Palestinian and British immigrants, is a long-time cookbook editor at an independent publishing house in New York and lives with her Colombian husband and their son in Brooklyn, New York.
After being diagnosed with Crohn's disease in 2012, Andy Levitt discovered that plant-based eating not only made him feel better, but also altered the course of his disease. He left his career in pharmaceutical marketing and launched meal kit company Purple Carrot in 2014 out of his garage — the first 100% plant-based meal kit in the US.
Now, the company has investment from Fresh Del Monte, 50 employees, and ships to 48 states, with distribution centres in Las Vegas, Ohio, and New Jersey. It even partnered with Tom Brady in 2017. Purple Carrot shipped more than five million plant-based meals in 2018 alone — and it recently launched 100% recyclable packaging to minimise its environmental footprint.
Now, Dutheil, Bejot, and Patte are putting it back on the map. The trio of friends have launched a range of the brandies from northern France that offer "a modern expression of centuries-old traditions of distillation and ageing."
30&40 is already available in some of Europe's top bars, including Bisou in Paris and The American Bar at The Savoy in London.
Read more: Calvados is making a comeback — here's everything you need to know about the apple brandy
As cofounder and CEO of modern, indoor farming company Bowery, Fain has helped to revolutionise agriculture through a belief that technology can solve the world's most difficult problems. With over 70% of our global water supply going to agriculture — and 700 million pounds of pesticides used each year in the US alone — Fain wanted to create a way to feed the growing population in a more efficient and sustainable way.
Bowery's indoor farms provide produce for urban environments year-round, using zero pesticides and 95% less water than traditional agriculture. The company's technology system, BoweryOS, monitors the plants 24/7 and adjusts environmental conditions to make them thrive. The company launched "the most technologically-sophisticated commercial indoor farm in the world" last fall, with plans to expand its network of farms later this year
Read more: A Google-backed vertical farm startup just raised another $90 million to build in cities across the US
Shearman opened London's first prison-themed cocktail bar, Alcotraz, in 2017. Complete with metal cells and a "visitation area," guests have to don orange jumpsuits and smuggle in their own booze, keeping it hidden from the Warden as other inmates work to make and sneak them personalised cocktails from behind the bar.
Following its success, as part of his company Inventive Productions, Shearan has since launched the world's first pirate ship cocktail bar, Pirates of the Hidden Spirit, as well as Moonshine Saloon, a Western-themed cocktail experience. Each of his venues focus around never-been-done narratives to make nightlife a little bit more fun by allowing guests to get lost in a story.
Read more: We went to London's prison-themed cocktail bar where you have to smuggle in your own liquor
Grant Ashton is CEO and founder of 67 Pall Mall, which claims to be the world's first private members' club for wine lovers. Previously a city trader for 30 years, Ashton opened the club after he managed to collect too much wine. He raised £8 million ($10.2 million) from 87 investors to finance the project, which is aimed at making some of the world's rarest wines more affordable. Now, the club has the most wines by the glass in the world, 26,000 bottles in a Fort Knox-style cellar, and 2,750 members.
Read more: How a City trader raised £8 million to open the world's first private members' wine club with 26,000 bottles in a Fort Knox-style cellar
Mead isn't just the reserve of the castle gift shop. Tom Gosnell is on a mission to show you that mead is far more than a novelty drink you might try as an ode to "Game of Thrones." When made well, mead is a light and refreshing beverage that can go toe to toe with some of the best sparkling wines. From his brewery in south London, Gosnell is making delicious Gosnells of London mead with just two ingredients: honey and water.
"For me, it kind of reminds me of summer," he told Business Insider. "You can taste the flora, you can taste the citrus, it's crisp, it's fresh, it's light, it's not heavy, it's not sweet, it's not strong."
Chris and Jeff Galvin are incredibly laid-back considering they're the only brothers in the world both to hold Michelin stars. They were both awarded their first stars in 1999, Chris for his work at Orrery and Jeff for his stint at L'Escargot. Now, two of their restaurants — Galvin at Windows and Galvin La Chapelle — hold stars.
As La Chapelle and London's Galvin HOP celebrate their 10th anniversaries, the brothers are keen to stay true to their humble backgrounds by breaking the mould that suggests Michelin-starred meals should always come with a super-steep price tag.
Read more: The world's only Michelin-starred brothers tell us why not showing up to a reservation is the worst thing a diner can do
The idea for Smith and Sinclair came about when Goldsmith, who confesses to having a sweet tooth, and now business partner Emile decided to host board game dating nights in east London back in the days before Tinder, and realized that people couldn't play while holding a drink at the same time.
Goldsmith, who was working in PR at the time, said: "Emile is a chef and had always experimented with jelly, so we cooked up the 'edible cocktail gummy' — much like a Haribo — to serve at out dating events." The gummies are also lower ABV, and make it "easier to monitor consumption in a clearer way," according to Goldsmith.
After setting up a store in London's Berwick Street Market and selling £1,000 ($1,273) worth of product in their first week, the duo have since gone on to launch an ecommerce site and into Harvey Nichols, John Lewis, and a number of other retailers. They've also launched three other products — an edible alcoholic fragrance, a tablet to enhance the colour and taste of a drink, and a sherbet dipper.
Goldsmith plans to launch two new products a year, with a goal of becoming recognized in the US and "continuing to forge the space between retail and food & beverage."
"Alcohol is a prominent part of society, yet it hasn't had a huge innovation other than 'alcopops,'" she said. "Younger audiences want playful gifts, they want innovative flavours, surprise, and delight."
Action Bronson might have seemed a surprising choice to host his own food documentary series, but by God does it work. "F---, That's Delicious," which airs on Viceland, follows Bronson and his posse as they travel the world eating incredible food and eulogizing over it in his unique way.
Bronson recently announced that he was parting ways with Vice after six years, but it's unlikely the last we'll see of him in the food space. His second cookbook in the "F---, That's Delicious" series, "Stoned Beyond Belief," came out in March this year.
With a PhD in Machine Learning from the University of Oxford, Dr Rob McInerney decided to take his knowledge from the forefront of AI to the food and beverage market — and specifically, to booze.
Dr McInerney is the founder and CEO of IntelligentX, a company which creates high-tech consumer products, founded in 2015. Their first creation? The world's first AI beer.
Naturally, it's a craft beer, and is made through a complex algorithm which optimizes beer recipes using customer feedback. The idea is that the algorithm learns a drinker's tastes, and then alters the beer to suit them. All the consumer has to do is follow a URL printed on the side of the bottle which takes you to a quick survey of questions such as: "Would you like the beer to have more, the same or less hop aroma?"
Jake Dell may not be a Katz, but he's been in the 131-year-old deli — the oldest Jewish deli in New York — as long as he can remember. He told Delish: "There are a lot of staff members from the store who've been with us 20, 30, 40 years, who definitely remember me in diapers."
The third generation owner, Dell took over the operations in 2009. Since, he has brought iconic New York institution Katz's — made famous by that scene in "When Harry Met Sally" — into 2019 by modernizing its systems and processes, opening a second location, and launching nationwide shipping and a monthly straight-to-your-door subscription service all while staying true to the family-run roots of the business (and the pastrami on rye).
In May he told Business Insider: "We do not believe in changing pretty much anything... You come here because you want that nostalgia, and that tradition, and that food that you know and love."
Wasser has built her career on the establishing of fast-casual dining outlets, but what's distinguished her work from others is its distinctive branding. In 2015, Wasser founded By. Chloe, an all-vegan fast comfort food restaurant which, after having taken the US by storm, is now making waves across the pond — the new London branches regularly have hungry vegans and non-vegans alike desperate to get their hands on the legendary plant-based mac and cheese queuing down the street. Last year, Wasser opened DEZ, a healthy Middle Eastern fast-casual concept in NYC's Nolita.
Gary Robinson has seen it all — not only was he head chef to Prince Charles for eight years (and the youngest head chef to a senior British Royal of all time), but he's been executive chef at the British Embassy in Washington DC, Director of Restaurants at Condé Nast, and Executive Chef at London private members' club The Conduit. A month ago, he took on the post of Executive Chef at iconic hotel The Balmoral in Edinburgh.
By focusing on local, seasonal, ethically-sourced, and renewable ingredients farmed with environmentally responsible agriculture practices, Robinson is focused on "giving artisanal suppliers a voice and a platform" — something he learned from his time with Prince Charles.
"We grew a lot of our own vegetables, we shot a lot of our own game, caught a lot of our fish fish, foraged a lot of our own mushrooms… I'm very proud of my time with him," he told Business Insider last year.
"He taught me how to work the land and make the best of the environment and not screw with the climate. If I can do my little bit here through the food we're doing and the attitude we're putting into that and 'join the crusade,' if you like, then I think we will make the difference."
His new role is certainly fitting with this idea. Talking about local Scottish suppliers, he told Business Insider: "It's a massive part of my next six months, getting the small people represented, working with people who don't have the ability to get into the bigger cities. We can help do that."
25 years ago, Prince Charles set up an organic food brand to sell the produce grown on the Prince of Wales Highgrove House estate.
Today, it is the second largest organic brand in the UK with over 300 products on the shelves in Waitrose, which is the brand's supermarket partner. Sales of Waitrose Duchy Organic products provide a donation to The Prince of Wales's Charitable Foundation, which supports causes across the UK in education, community support, conservation, and more.
Dr. Deepak Sekar is founder and CEO of Chowbotics, the food robotics company behind "Sally the Robot." A technology grad who previously held positions at SanDisk, Monolithic 3D Inc., and Rambus, Sekar set out to build a robot that could eliminate tasks like stirring and chopping to make food prep more convenient and fun.
Sally the Robot was originally able to create custom, calorie-counted salads with up to 22 ingredients in about a minute, making the concept a 2018 finalist in Fast Company's World Changing Ideas Awards.
Non-profit Brighter Bites aims to fight childhood obesity in low-income communities by providing free produce, recipes, and bilingual nutrition education.
Since its inception in Texas in 2012, the organisation has provided over 18 million pounds of free produce — donated or reclaimed from food growers, distributors, and food banks — to more than 265,000 people across 125 sites in Houston, Dallas, Austin, New York City, the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, and Southwest Florida.
Using schools as pick-up spots, the founders claim Brighter Bites is the only evidence-based program that both reduces food waste and addresses the public health issue of childhood obesity by increasing access to healthy food and nutrition education among underserved children and their families.
What do you do when everyone is using agave to make tequila? Make something else entirely, of course.
That's what Micah McFarlane and Jacqui Thompson did back in 2012, when they decided to start making agave-based spirits in the Mexican state of Morelos — meaning it couldn't be called tequila. The called it Avila, and it's made using a blend of the processes used to make its sister spirits tequila and mezcal. Revel Avila is currently available in three expressions: blanco, reposado, and añejo.
"Many consumers and even some industry professionals aren't aware there is a whole world of agave spirits outside of Tequila, each with its own distinct qualities and characteristics," McFarlane told The Spirits Business last year.
They were recently crowned "Tequila Reposado of the Year" at the 2018 New York International Spirits Competition and won silver and gold in the 2018 San Francisco World Spirits Competition.
Sutton and Sons is a family-run mini-chain of three traditional British chippies based in north and east London. One of their restaurants, however, is somewhat less traditional, in that it is entirely vegan. While vegan restaurants serving plant-based versions of the classic British dish isn't unique, Sutton and Sons was the first fully vegan chippy in London.
Their "fish" is made from banana blossom that's been marinated in seaweed and samphire and then deep-fried in their own batter. What's more, the menu at their exclusively vegan branch in Hackney also includes "prawn" cocktail, "scampi," "tofish," "chicken," and "fish" burgers, battered vegan sausages, and vegan pie and mash, proving that the plant-based amongst us needn't miss out.
Read more: We got a vegan and meat-eater to try London's first vegan 'fish and chips' — here's what they thought
What do you do if you value your health, but also love a glass of bubbles from time to time? Enter, Thomson & Scott. The company's first wine was originally named Skinny Prosecco, and, as the name would suggest, is a lower-sugar and thus lower-calorie version of everyone's favorite Italian bubbly.
Amanda Thomson founded the company in 2013 and started trading properly as a business in 2015, and the range has now expanded to include Champagne and Sparkling Rosé too, although "Skinny" has been dropped from the names.
Regardless, the Champagne contains up to 0.1g of sugar per litre, the Sparkler Rosé is 3g, and the Prosecco is 7g, compared to around 12-15g in standard Prosecco (Champagne generally ranges from 12-32g depending on the dosage).
Oh, and if you're worried this might mean a lower alcohol quotient, fear not: Thomson & Scott Prosecco is 11% ABV and its Champagne is 12%. All the products are vegan, too.
Unlike some "skinny" alcohol brands, Thomson & Scott has been embraced by the fashion set for its elegance and tastiness, and is now available around the world. This year, the brand launched its first alcohol-free sparkling wine, Noughty.
Inspired by the devastating amounts of plastic and rubbish that had washed up on a beach during a trip to Thailand in 2015, friends Ariel Booker, Perry Alexander Fielding, and Josh White created CanOWater, sleek-looking tall aluminum (the most recyclable material on the planet) cans of Austrian water with resealable lids. The cans, which cost 99p ($1.25), are now stocked in over 5,000 UK locations (in chains like Tesco, Harrods, Whole Foods, and even on Amazon). The brand is also the official on-the-go water for Buckingham Palace and is stocked in the House of Commons.
The company, which cites triple-digit year-on-year growth, claims to have taken over 5 million plastic bottles out of circulation, replacing them with the recyclable can. Environmental impact aside, CanOWater claims there are also fewer health hazards involved with drinking water from an aluminium can than from a plastic water bottle.
Read more: How three guys in their 20s launched a canned water brand supported by supermodel David Gandy
The faceless critic Marina O'Loughlin, who, staggeringly, has managed to keep her anonymity a secret for the past 13 years of restaurant reviewing, is one of the most renowned and respected writers in the industry.
Though a few restaurant insiders are, of course, aware of what O'Loughlin looks like — or at least have a few key descriptors — the majority are in the dark like the rest of us. As a result, one of the most influential critics in the world is treated just like any other hungry punter, and her reviews are fittingly brutal at times.
One of the biggest names on the Instagram food scene in London is Clerkenwell Boy, and what makes his success even more admirable is that he's managed to remain anonymous. Yes, no one knows who the man with nearly 200,000 followers is.
Very little is known about the unidentifiable influencer aside from the fact that he has a full-time job in the City and is originally from Sydney — he moved to London from Australia after university to travel round Europe. His Instagram page was originally just a place to document his food and travel adventures but now, despite his secret identity, Clerkenwell Boy has emerged as one of the most reputable sources of food inspo in the British capital.
From bubbling chilli cheese toast to the creamiest cacio e pepe, Clerkenwell Boy's pictures are the ultimate in food porn, providing his salivating followers with neverending additions to their "to-eat" lists. Even more impressive is that the unidentifiable influencer says he takes all his photos on his phone. He also cofounded the award winning global initiative #CookForSyria in October 2016 and has raised close to £1 million ($1.3 million) for charity through supper clubs and two bestselling recipe books.
At 93 years old, Jiro Ono, subject of the hit documentary "Jiro Dreams of Sushi," is still the chef and owner of three-Michelin-starred Sukiyabashi Jiro, a tiny Japanese sushi restaurant below street level in Tokyo which seats just 10 people.
Learning and perfecting the art of sushi since age nine, Ono has served world leaders, including former US president Barack Obama in 2014 and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe, as well as plenty of celebrities like Katy Perry.
Working alongside his eldest son, Yoshikazu Ono, Jiro is known for creating entirely modern methods for sushi preparation, such as massaging octopus for 45 minutes, maintaining rice at body temperature, or hand-toasting seaweed over charcoals.
According to an interview Anthony Bourdain did with Munchies in 2016, Ono "exercises every day so that he can stand erect so that he won't look pathetic" and is able to continue making his sushi, which is considered to be the best in the world.
"He looks at you and examines the shape of your mouth and your left hand and right hand as he forms his nigiri," Bourdain said.
In 2016, Bourdain even said he'd want his final meal on earth to be at Sukiyabashi Jiro, saying it "serves some of the finest quality sushi anywhere on the planet."
Jordan Salcito walked away from the opportunity to open a restaurant because its policies would have been discriminatory to women, landed a role working for David Chang as the Beverage Director of Momofoku, then launched her own company.
Salcito started out as a hostess, then a prep cook in New York City, then moved on to work as sommelier and manager at Eleven Madison Park, working harvest in Burgundy every year.
She told Business Insider she was asked to open a restaurant with two male partners, but part of the contract involved a clause stating equity would only be granted with "active partnership" — which meant that if she got pregnant and went on maternity leave, she'd lose her partnership stake.
Instead of giving up, she launched a small wine company, Bellus Wines, landed her job at Momofuku, and while she was on maternity leave, launched her own line of canned, organic wine spritzers called RAMONA.
"I don't enjoy beer, I don't think it's delicious, [but] beer had a stronghold on market for a very long time," she told Business Insider, adding that meanwhile, with wine, "a long list isn't the way to connect to it."
Salcito has raised two rounds of capital, gained global distribution with Whole Foods, and gained fans like Kanye West. The message? Always follow your intuition.
Four-time James Beard award winner Gabrielle Hamilton is chef and owner of wildly-successful 30-seat New York City bistro Prune alongside her wife, Ashley Merriman.
When she opened Prune in 1999, she had no formal culinary training, and no experience either as a restaurant chef or of running a business.
Somehow, it still worked — after winning the James Beard Best Chef in New York City award in 2011 and 2012, she took home Outstanding Chef by the foundation last year.
Hamilton is also a talented writer and is the author of memoir "Blood, Bones, and Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef," which Anthony Bourdain once described Hamilton's book as "simply the best memoir by a chef. Ever."
Perhaps more interesting, though, are the five rules Hamilton and Merriman swear by at Prune — and how they think they relate to the outside world. "Be thorough and excellent in everything that you do," they say, "be smart and funny," "be disarmingly honest," "work without division of any kind," and have a belief in "servant leadership," or the idea that "to serve is to lead."
"I think there's not a single problem in the building or in the world that can't be fixed with these five instruments," Hamilton told Quartz.
Describing exactly what it is that Bompas & Parr does is not easy. To really understand, you need to experience their work. The company started out in 2007 as creators of edible food art using jelly, and since then, it has evolved to combine culinary genius and cutting-edge technology in multi-sensory, often immersive events and installations.
"Architectural foodsmiths" and "real life Willy Wonkas" Sam Bompas and Harry Parr now employ a team of 20 who design never-before-seen creations such as an inhalable cloud of gin and tonic, an underground lagoon hosting rum-soaked parties, and a chocolate climbing wall.
There wasn't a single cocktail bar in Lorincz' home country of Slovakia when he decided he wanted to be a bartender at the age of 21.
Now, he's one of the most famous bartenders in the world, best known for his eight-year stint as Head Bartender at the American Bar at The Savoy in London, which was crowned World's Best Bar in 2017.
He told Business Insider that growing up, he went to film a cocktail competition in Prague with his camcorder then watched it on repeat, eventually returning to the city to go to bar school.
After helping the owner of the school launch Slovakia's first cocktail bar, he realized most information he found about cocktails online was in English, so he decided to learn the language — and what better way than by moving to England?
In London, he went to language school, eventually finding a job in a bar, then rising through the ranks to end up at The Savoy.
Throughout his career, he has been asked to create a cocktail for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, consulted on a Bond film, and has won countless awards.
Having left The Savoy last year, Lorincz is now the owner of a line of bar tools called BIRDY and just launched a debut bar of his own, Kwānt London, alongside Mourad Mazouz, owner of two Michelin-starred restaurant Sketch.
He believes modern bartending should be celebrated in the same way as chefs, by experimenting with the likes of fermentation, distillation, and long, slow cooking.
The Sethi siblings are the founders of JKS Restaurants, the company behind many of the best restaurants in London today.
From Michelin-starred Gymkhana to Hoppers, named in the Michelin Bib Gourmand list, everything they touch turns to gold. Established in 2008, the JKS group encompasses restaurants created by the Sethis themselves, and those where the siblings partner with and invest in young and ambitious food talent.
The siblings all bring different skills to the table — while former banker Jyotin oversees the finances as managing director, sommelier Sunaina is very much front of house, overseeing operations and wine buying, and Karam is the culinary mastermind of the family who also scouts new talent.
Their ever-growing restaurant empire comprises both their own restaurants, and others in which they've invested — all have been lauded by the industry and the public. The millennial siblings show no signs of slowing down now.
Gian Luca Passi de Preposulo popped up in the media a couple of years ago when he married Hollywood actress Jessica Chastain in the grounds of his family estate in Italy. The Italian noble is PR director of events and entertainment at Italian fashion house Moncler, but it's his side-hustle that we're interested in.
The Italian is hoping to disrupt the prosecco market with his higher-end offering, and make it a recognizable brand in a market that's been saturated by innumerable low-cost options. It's going well so far — they've won gold at the Drinks Business' Prosecco Masters awards two years in a row.
Read more: Jessica Chastain's fashion executive husband has his own brand of fizz — and he wants to make it the Belvedere of the prosecco world
Whispering Angel is not only credited with spearheading rosé's recent revival, but the pale pink Provençal wine has also achieved cult-like status amongst millennials. Thought to be the biggest-selling rosé in the world, Whispering Angel produces in excess of seven million bottles a year — despite the brand only launching in 2007. It's also the best-selling imported French wine in the US, according to Nielsen.
The man behind the brand is Sacha Lichine, who was born in Bordeaux and has worked in every aspect of the wine industry. He acquired Chateau d'Esclans in Provence in 2006, having predicted the rosé boom. He's subsequently created a world class brand and has contributed to the unprecedented growth of the global rosé market more generally.
Freakshakes may be a regular find on restaurant menus around the world now, but the extravagant milkshakes were first created by one young woman in New York in 2015, and that woman was Brittany Stark. Working as the social media manager for Black Tap Burger at the time, Stark was originally wiped from history after restaurant owner Joe Isidori took credit for the creation.
However, it's since been revealed that Stark was the true inventor of the freakshake. "What was meant to be an Instagram stunt turned into a food phenomenon and it brings me joy that these desserts brought people from all around the world together," Stark told Business Insider.
Inspired Start is the first baby food designed to introduce eight common food allergens (which account for 90% of serious allergic reactions in the US) to babies over the age of four months. It's made by Adeo Health Science, whose CEO is Friedman.
Prior to launching Inspired Start, Friedman worked as a biochemist at Pfizer, where his work focused on immunology pathways.
By gradually introducing babies to small doses of allergens, parents can help their children reduce the risk of developing lifelong food allergies.
Read more: I'm using a new fruit puree for babies to safely introduce allergens to my five-month-old daughter — and she can't get enough of it
Ad man Nils Leonard, the former creative chairman of agency Grey London, paired up with master coffee brewer David Foster and coffee entrepreneur Richard Kieswick in 2016 to found Halo, the world's first fully home compostable coffee capsule.
59 billion coffee capsules were produced globally in 2018, and 95% were made of plastic and aluminium destined for a landfill where they'll remain for 500 years. Halo, made from a 100% natural blend of sugar cane and pulp paper, is changing the game — it can be thrown in the home food bin or compost and will break down in four weeks or less. Its box, labels, and inserts are also all 100% compostable.
The company relaunched in November with £1.5 million ($1.9 million) in investment, and it hopes to push its big competitors in the industry — hint, hint, Nespresso — to follow suit.
Leibowitz became head maitre D' of the NoMad, Eleven Madison Park's sister restaurant, at just 23 years old. There he set up a reciprocity network for connecting top maître D's and best-in-kind restaurant regulars — and it was a great success.
The network grew until Leibowitz could no longer handle his workload at the NoMad and his project at the same time. So, he rolled the dice and turned his network into a high-end members' club called INHOUSE, which now counts Fortune 500 CEOs among its subscribers.
The idea is that INHOUSE members are treated like regulars at whichever restaurant in the network they choose to dine at — from knowing what wines they're into, to where they like to sit, to whether they have a sweet tooth.
After closing their last round of funding, the team is looking to expand into London and across the US, starting in San Francisco and Los Angeles, then Chicago, Miami, or Seattle.
Read more: A $1,550-a-year private members' club for restaurant regulars just raised $2 million to expand around the globe
While perhaps not the most obvious choice on this list, The Duchess of Sussex made a statement when she chose to make her first solo project as a royal the launch of a charity cookbook.
Markle had the idea for "Together: Our Community Cookbook" after she met the women at the Hubb Community Kitchen, a group of women who came together after the 2017 Grenfell Tower fire in west London to prepare fresh food for their families and neighbours.
The book features 50 recipes from the women at Hubb, as well as a foreword from Markle, and a portion of the proceeds from its sales go towards the community.
Speaking at the book launch last year, Markle said: "The power of food is more than just the meal itself. It is the story behind it. And when you get to know the story of the recipe, you get to know the person behind it."
Greg Lambrecht may be an inventor of medical devices, but he also loves wine — so he used this background and his knowledge of physics, mechanical engineering, and nuclear power to create a device which allows bottles to be accessed and resealed without ever taking the cork out.
Coravin, which he founded in 2013, pushes a non-coring needle through the cork while it's still in the bottle without allowing oxygen to get in. When wine is poured, it's replaced with argon gas — meaning a bottle can still taste good up to 18 months later, which is a game-changer for bars and restaurants looking to expand their wine lists without throwing out half-empty bottles.
The latest edition, the Coravin Model Eleven, also includes an LED display which monitors battery life, pour size, and tells you when the system needs cleaning, Bluetooth connectivity to the Coravin app, which helps users discover new wines or track those they already own in a "virtual cellar," and an automatic pouring function, which allows users to pour the perfect amount with one motion.
In 2017, Business Insider reported that a Harry Potter-inspired pub with "magic" working wands and floating candles was coming to London. Initially launched as a pop-up, the concept has been so successful its founders, Matthew Cortland and David Duckworth, now have two permanent bars in New York City and London. The duo have a Kickstarter campaign to thank for The Cauldron pub in New York, The Blind Phoenix speakeasy in London, and their immersive potions experiences, which all use technology and the Internet of things to allow fans to brew molecular cocktails or pour drinks using working wands.
Read more: I visited New York City's new magical-themed pub with working wands. Here's what it was like.
Jago and Espey might have the coolest job in the world — they're rare spirit hunters. The pair took over The Last Drop Distillers from their fathers Tom and James who, between them, have created some of the world's most iconic liquor products.
Their jobs are to source, bottle, and sell incredibly rare, high-quality product to high-profile clientele.
One week they might be cruising through the winding lanes of rural Cognac on the way to an indiscriminate barn filled to the rafters with casks and demijohns of aged brandy. The next they'll be scouring the Douro Valley for a port so old that time (almost) forgot about it.
The Last Drop's latest release is a Cognac from 1925, which had been hidden from the advancing Nazi forces in a false barn wall.
HelloFresh was a game-changer. It was started by Richter and Griesel, who shared the belief that everyone should have the opportunity to enjoy wholesome, home-made meals with no preparing, no shopping, and no hassle.
At the start, the duo spent their nights testing all the recipes themselves, and packaged and delivered the recipe boxes full of ingredients by hand. Now, HelloFresh delivers 65.6 million meals to over 2.48 million households in the US, the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Australia, Austria, Switzerland, Canada, and New Zealand.
Read more: HelloFresh has launched special Mother's Day meal kits — I tried the boozy brunch box and was impressed by the quality of the food
Having joined Lidl straight out of university with a place on the retailer's buying graduate scheme, it wasn't long before Ben Hulme was Head of Beers, Wines, & Spirits in the UK, and he soon moved to Lidl's head office in Germany to take on the role as International Head of Wine & Spirits Buying, and then International Head of Wine, Chocolate, & Seasonal Buying.
While Hulme has been in charge of Lidl's alcohol selection, the budget supermarket has won reams of awards for its booze and its reputation in the market has been completely transformed. Most recently, for example, Lidl's Queen Margot Blend Scotch Whisky, which costs under $18, was named the best in the world at the World Whiskies Awards.
Hulme recently confirmed to Business Insider that he will be leaving the company in the coming months, and we're excited to see what he does next.
Patrick "Pat" O'Reilly Brown is the chief executive and founder of Impossible Foods, the company at the forefront of the plant-based "meat" movement. He founded the company in 2011, and in 2016 the now famous Impossible Burger launched in restaurants.
Unlike traditional vegetarian and vegan burgers, which are typically crumbly in texture and made mainly from pulses, the Impossible Burger is remarkably close to meat in taste and texture, and has since spawned a wave of similar products launching across the globe.
Designed to be good for both people and the planet, and to appeal to meat-eaters as well as veggies, the "meat" can also be eaten as meatballs or mince for the likes of tacos. The company claims that each time someone eats one of their burgers as opposed to a meat version, they save the equivalent of a 10-minute shower's worth of water and 18 driving miles of greenhouse gas emissions. Earlier this year, Burger King rolled out Impossible Whoppers across the US.
Read more: This Silicon Valley startup behind the veggie burger that 'bleeds' just fixed its biggest problem
Suffering with life-threatening allergies from a young age led Barnes to develop the Allergy Amulet: a portable device which can tell you whether a food contains certain allergens. With a law degree from Vermont Law School and a master's degree from Yale University, Barnes launched the company in 2016, and the first product launch is slated for 2020.
Simply swipe a single-use test strip over your food, insert your strip into the Amulet, and in a minute's time you'll have the result on the Amulet reader and on an app on your phone. It's intended to make eating out a lot safer for those with allergies, and has been designed to look as good as it is practical.
It wasn't long ago that asking for a dairy-free milk alternative in your coffee got you nothing but a perplexed eyebrow raise. Now, practically every café you go to caters to the lactose-intolerant and plantbased amongst us. Sure, you can get everything from soya and coconut to hemp and macadamia milk these days, but general consensus is that the most delicious dairy-free milk is oat.
Oatly not only froths up to make creamy lattes like regular milk, but the brand also has fun packaging that moves away from the preachy ethos of some plant-based food products. And people love it. There was actually an Oatly shortage in the US last year. Many dairy consumers now opt for it over cow's milk, not just in hot drinks but smoothies and porridges, too.
The company was started in Sweden 25 years ago, but the brand's recent meteoric rise, however, is largely down to CEO Toni Petersson, who came on board six years ago. A former restaurateur, he believes Oatly can contribute to society by helping people upgrade their lives without taxing the health of the planet.
Now the cofounder of holding company Social Entertainment Ventures, Breeden has been the brains behind London going-out hotspots like bowling venue All Star Lanes, Bounce ping pong, Flight Club darts bar, and Puttshack digital golf.
Not only have his concepts changed the nightlife scene in the UK capital, but they've also hit US shores with locations in Boston and Chicago — and there's more to come, with plans to put a "groundbreaking twist on bingo" in the works.
Read more: This former dishwasher turned 'social entertainment' bar founder changed drinking culture in London and the US — and he's about to launch a new £6 million concept
Hawker Chan became the first Michelin-starred street food chef in 2016, and his famous soya sauce chicken dish (S$2, or $1.42) continues to be the cheapest Michelin-starred dish in the world.
Normally served at Singapore's Liao Fan Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle and off-shoot Liao Fan Hawker Chan, Chef Chan also attracts hour-long lines when he travels with his cooking — people lined up four hours at a three-day pop-up in London this year.
Chef Chan started as a hawker in Singapore. Hawker centers are open-air collections of inexpensive street food stands beloved in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and beyond.
"Since I got this Michelin star, I hope all the small shops in the hawker centers will all work hard," he told Business Insider. "There will be a day where they can achieve this too. My own wish is every day to be a good chef. I'd be very happy."
"If 3/4 of your drink is the mixer, mix it with the best." This is the belief of Charles Rolls and Tim Warrillow, the cofounders of upmarket tonic brand Fever-Tree, which has been reaping not only the benefits of the continued gin renaissance, but also of putting as much importance in the mix and people historically have done in their choice of spirit.
Fever Tree launched in 2005 with the aim of providing "high-quality mixers" to cater for the growing demand of premium spirits — gin in particular.
In 2017, Rolls proved the brand's success when he made £73 million ($95 million) by selling 3.9% of the shares in the company. Both founders then made a further £103.5 million ($131.8 million) when they sold another round of shares last year.
The brand's revenue stood at £102.2 million ($130.2 million) in 2016, up 73% from £59.3 million ($75.5 million) in the previous year.
Now, the brand is looking to dominate North American under the leadership of former British Army captain Charles Gibb, who will run the brand's first ever global office from Brooklyn, New York City. They should be in safe hands — in his role as CEO of LVMH's Belvedere Vodka, he managed to make the brand the official vodka of James Bond film "Spectre."
Halo Top is the low-calorie ice cream that has disrupted the industry, creating a whole new market and dozens of new companies wanting a scoop of the action.
Essentially, it makes low-fat, low-sugar ice cream that's also so low in calories you can eat a whole tub and only consume 360 (compared to over 1,000 in a tub of regular ice cream). But the reason Halo Top has become so popular is it actually tastes good, too.
Justin Woolverton and Doug Bouton are the two former lawyers behind the brand's success. The duo founded the brand in 2012 and Halo Top is now available in 12 countries across the globe — and continues to expand. Consumers buy it as an every-day product, compared to, say, Ben & Jerry's or Häagen-Dazs, which most people only treat themselves to occasionally. Needless to say, Woolverton and Bouton eat ice cream every day.
Kauss launched S'well in 2010 with the mission of ridding the world of plastic water bottles by coming up with something that fused fashion and function — and the reusable stainless steel water bottles truly took the world by storm.
Kauss used her passions for fashion, hydration, and philanthropy to come up with the concept for the bottle, which has the ability to keep liquid cold for up to 24 hours or hot for up to 12, and comes in a range of sleek and stylish designs.
S'well has since inspired a number of knockoffs and lookalike bottles, but the company remains unique — it now produces a range of stainless steel straws and accessories like drink-thru caps, and, as a partner of UNICEF, it has donated $1.4 million since 2017 and is focused on clean and safe water efforts around the globe
Kauss herself sits on the UNICEF USA New York Regional Board and has been recognized as one of Fortune's "40 Under 40," while S'well has been named the fastest-growing female-led company.
Next, Kauss plans to push S'well into the food category in summer 2019 through the launch of S'well Eats and S'nack by S'well, products which the company claims will "transform the on-the-go dining experience" by minimizing single-use plastic.
Read more: 'It's sort of unbelievable': A reusable water bottle that won over Starbucks' CEO could reach $100 million in sales this year
Launched in 2015 out of Branson's kitchen, Seedlip is the world's first non-alcoholic spirit, made using water, natural botanical distillates, and extracts.
After discovering long-forgotten distilled non-alcoholic herbal remedies found in "The Art of Distillation," published in 1651, Branson capitalized on the opportunity to create a high-end drinking experience without alcohol that didn't previously exist in bars and restaurants or at home — a bottle retails for £27.99 ($35), so it's certainly not cheap, but the drink certainly dispels the idea that those not drinking must either have water or sweet, unhealthy alternatives.
The idea was clearly a genius one. In just three years, the brand had grown from being hand-bottled in his kitchen to having a team of 65 people worldwide, including offices in the UK, LA, and Sydney, and is now served in more than 6,000 high-end cocktail bars, hotels, restaurants, and retailers across 25 countries.
Its impact has also been wider than just its own sales, which alone have been impressive (it sold 50,000 bottles in the UK in January 2019 alone, and cites 270% year-on-year volume growth) — the brand claims to have pushed more than 5,000 bars and restaurants in the UK to offer more non-alcoholic options, and has sparked a number of other launches in the non-alcoholic category, which is now worth £100 million ($127.4 million) in the UK.
Friends George Clooney, Rande Gerber, and Mike Meldman founded Casamigos tequila by accident in 2013 while hanging out at their homes in Mexico.
In June 2017, after turning it into the fastest-selling tequila in the world and changing perceptions of the spirit from a shot for party-goers to a civilized sipping drink, they sold it to Diageo for $1 billion.
They told Business Insider that since then, they remain as involved as ever — they even launched a mezcal last year — but just have "money to do things we couldn't before" with sales doubling since Diageo came on board.
Read more: The $1 billion sale of George Clooney's tequila company just made him 2018's highest-paid actor — here's the story of how the brand was set up by accident
Momofuku, Chang's company, now owns 10 sit-down restaurants in three countries and is a part owner of Christina Tosi's 14 dessert and bakery restaurants, Milk Bar, as well as the seven locations or concessions of Fuku, a chain of quick-service chicken counters.
He also produces and stars in the Netflix show "Ugly Delicious," which has been renewed for a second season, is working on a new media company with former Wired editor-in-chief Scott Dadich, and has a weekly podcast.
This year he's opening restaurants in Las Vegas, New York and West Hollywood. He also just became a father.
His three Michelin-starred restaurant Osteria Francescana, based in the small town of Modena, Italy, was named the best in the world at the World's 50 Best Restaurants 2018 awards, having previously topped the list in 2016.
You may also have seen Bottura — and Francescana — on the first ever episode of the Netflix original series "Chef's Table," which followed Bottura from his childhood of stealing pieces of his grandmother's tortellino from under the kitchen table to working in New York City, training with renowned chef Alain Ducasse in Paris, and eventually opening Francescana, where he finds innovative ways of turning traditional Italian dishes into something entirely modern yet nostalgic.
Last year, he told Business Insider the stories behind his dishes, and they're surprisingly relatable — more so than his most iconic one, fittingly titled "Oops! I dropped the lemon tart."
As 2018's best chef in the world, Bottura believes he has a responsibility to change the world — he's attempting to combat homelessness and the food waste crisis in one with his nonprofit Food for Soul, which uses his image to raise money and build "refettorios" — or high-end community kitchens — across the world, so far in Milan, Rio de Janeiro, London, and Paris.
Read more: I met the best chef in the world, and the story behind his most iconic dish is surprisingly relatable
As co-owner and chef at three-Michelin-starred San Francisco restaurant Atelier Crenn, Dominique Crenn is known for her inventive fine French cuisine.
Having worked in the kitchens of revered restaurants across the globe, Crenn decided to open her own establishment in January 2011, and Atelier Crenn achieved its first Michelin star in October of the same year, followed by a second one in 2012, which made Crenn the first female chef in the US to receive this honor.
But Crenn didn't stop there — in November 2018 she beat her own record by being awarded a third Michelin star.
She now owns three restaurants in San Francisco, having opened Petit Crenn in the summer of 2015. The restaurant is an ode to the home cooking of Brittany, inspired by the dinner parties held by Crenn's mother and grandmother, where she first became mesmerized by the art of cuisine and dining. And in March 2018, Crenn opened Bar Crenn, a wine bar which pays homage to the Parisian salons of the early twentieth century and has since received a Michelin star.
As much as she champions French cuisine, Crenn focuses on sustainability and encourages diners to think about the origins of what they're purchasing and their global impact.
In May 2019, Crenn announced she had been diagnosed with breast cancer, but said she was going to try her best not to let it slow her down: "As I work through this new challenge I will be in my kitchen as much as humanly possible because being there, engaged in my craft, and with those I love so dearly is what fuels me," she said.
Atelier Crenn was named as the 35th best restaurant in the world by World's 50 Best Restaurants on Tuesday.
One of the most influential bartenders in the world, Ryan Chetiyawardana, better known as Mr Lyan, was the brains behind the official best bar in the world for 2018, Dandelyan.
Originally starting with London bar White Lyan in 2013, the first cocktail bar in the world to use no perishables (including no fruit or ice), Mr Lyan continues to focus on sustainability and waste reduction while keeping drinks innovative and delicious — and it seems to be paying off, as award after award keep coming his way.
Things never get boring, either — in April, he launched all-day cocktail bar Super Lyan in Amsterdam's Kimpton De Witt hotel, Lyan's first venture outside the UK. Meanwhile, earlier this year the award-winning Dandelyan shut down and reopened as cocktail spot Lyaness — and the reception has been just as warm.
28-year-old Soto-Innes, described as a "fun-loving" chef, was recently awarded the accolade of World's Best Female Chef for 2019 by The World's 50 Best Restaurants — the youngest ever winner of the award.
Best known as the protégée of Enrique Olvera, with whom she opened New York's Cosme restaurant in 2014, the Houston-born chef doesn't follow the traditional rules of fine dining — according to 50 Best, there's "no rule of silence" in her kitchen, which features music and pre-service exercises.
However, perhaps most importantly, her kitchen is filled with two-thirds women and mostly immigrant cooks ranging in age from 20 to 65 who she says would otherwise likely be driving taxis and working in laundromats.
She told 50 Best: "Cosme is somewhere where people from all cultures — Russia, Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela, Brazil — come to the US to make a little bit more money for their families. And they happen to come to a place where they actually enjoy what they're doing, instead of being in a laundromat or being an Uber driver or having any kind of other job that you usually come to the US to do when you want to send your family money."
In 2017, she and Olvera also opened casual eatery Alta, and the pair will launch in Los Angeles this year with adjoined restaurants Damian and Ditroit.
She said. "I've learned to empower the young cooks and the older cooks and that I shouldn't be ashamed of my age at all. I should embrace it and I make sure that everyone follows their dreams."
Cosme was named as the 23rd best restaurant in the world by the World's 50 Best Restaurants on Tuesday.
Awarded the title of Best Female Chef in the World by the World's 50 Best Restaurants in 2018 — in a time when only four of the top 50 restaurants were being run by women — Smyth remains the first and only female chef to ever run a three-Michelin-starred restaurant in the UK, which she did while at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay.
After growing up in Northern Ireland and starting work at one of the best restaurants at age 15, Smyth moved to England and trained with the likes of Heston Blumenthal before working in Gordon Ramsay's kitchen and eventually becoming head chef, gaining three Michelin stars (and an MBE for services to hospitality in 2013).
Ramsay once told her she wouldn't last a week — now, she owns two-Michelin-starred restaurant Core, which she opened in 2017, and even catered the royal wedding reception of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle last year.
"We still have a real lack of women recognised at the top of the industry and we have to do something about that — we're not going to change it by ignoring it," she told 50 Best last year. "Sometimes you have to go over the top by recognizing women and giving them a platform so that we can really start to change things and recorrect the balance."
The death of Anthony Bourdain last year rocked not only the culinary world, but also anyone that had the privilege of watching the documentarian at work.
At the time of his death, he was filming season eight of his CNN travel series "Parts Unknown" — a show that Barack Obama said made us "a little less afraid of the unknown."
Through his long-running documentaries and writing, Bourdain changed the way millions of people think about travel, restaurants, and cooking.
As Josh Barro wrote for Business Insider: "Food is as good a reason as any to go on living. And I believe that by evangelizing about the joy that can come from food — how a single oyster can change your life — Bourdain helped some people out there in the world find their reason to carry on, even as he ultimately could not find that reason for himself."
He is undoubtedly one of the most influential voices the world of food has ever heard. Tuesday, June 25 would have been his birthday. Rest in peace, Mr Bourdain.
It's fair to say Asma Khan didn't get into cooking via the traditional route. She didn't train at Le Corden Bleu and she didn't work her way through the ranks under a Michelin-starred chef.
Khan was born into Indian royalty, but moved to the UK to be with her husband in 1991 when she was 22 years old. She graduated with a PhD from King's College London after turning down a place at Cambridge, specialising in British Constitutional law, which she later said was "an excuse to write about politics."
Cooking started off as a relief from homesickness, and grew into a supper club, which, in turn, has grown into one of the most respected restaurants in London: Darjeeling Express.
Her kitchen is run entirely by South Asian women, many of whom, like Khan, are second daughters. Unlike the births of boys, births of a second girl are mourned in India instead of celebrated. Part of the proceeds from Darjeeling Express goes to Khan's Second Daughters Fund, which raises money to send "celebration packages for the birth of the second daughter and continue to support her through her education."
"It isn't about the money, the accolades, it is a platform for me to talk about politics and race," Khan recently told Eater.
Khan has been voted "Female Entrepreneur of the Year" at the Asian Restaurant Awards, "Entrepreneur of the Year" in the Asian Women of the Year Awards, and this year she became the first British chef to be featured in Netflix's Emmy-nominated series "Chef's Table."
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The chef celebrates her 50th birthday in July, and in typical Asma Khan style, she told Business Insider she's marking the occasion with a trip to Northern Iraq to open an all-female cafe for ISIS survivors.
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