Entrepreneurship is the buzzword of the new age, as it has evolved to follow our digitally influenced lifestyles. Despite the many opportunities to become a self-made success, cutting through the noise and competition is far from easy. In the food industry, becoming a successful entrepreneur takes great food and a big personality, in addition to perseverance and creativity. Even though it may seem like there are many successful entrepreneurs nowadays, it’s important to remember that every single one of them had to fight and be exceptional to get to where they are.
Such is the case with all of the most influential food entrepreneurs of today. Every single one of them has qualities that make them unique. It’s great to witness them change the industry, beat all odds and even venture outside of their original niche. Here are five most influential food entrepreneurs that have left a mark on the food industry:
1. José Andrés
José Andrés is a Spanish-American chef and food entrepreneur that has been a significant influence on the industry ever since he started his path in the early ’90s. He received two Michelin stars and credited for bringing small plates dining to popularity in the US. He trained in elBulli under Ferran Adria before he started his first restaurant, Jaleo.
Now José owns restaurants in many major cities of the United States. Not only that, but he’s also chair of the advisory board for LA kitchen, doing his best to help those in need. When Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico in 2017, Andrés initially put $10,000 out his pocket to assist in relieving the crisis by providing food. His nonprofit World Central Kitchen eventually managed to get 26 kitchens across the country to produce around 150,000 meals every day. After 3.7 million meals prepared and counting, José Andrés makes a substantial positive impact in the world of food.
2. David Chang
David Chang is an American television personality and restaurateur. He established a successful culinary brand Momofuku in 2004, which has since expanded out of New York to Toronto, Los Angeles, Sydney, Las Vegas and Washington, DC. Momofuku Ko has been exceptionally successful, being awarded two Michelin stars which it has managed to retain every year since 2009.
Chang started as a golfer, but reoriented to the food industry in 2000, when he attended the International Culinary Center. During his time working in the industry, he grew tired of the fine-dining scene that was prevalent in New York, and he eventually started his brand, Momofuku. The first restaurant didn’t take off until about a year later when its innovative take on cuisine influenced by the time Chang spent in Japan started to get more widely recognized. Since then, Chang and Momofuku managed to stay relevant and expand, promoting local and sustainable farmers and food suppliers. Most recently, Chang starred in Ugly Delicious, a Netflix original series which he also created and produced.
3. Deb Perelman
For all those home cooks who are tired of TV chefs using fancy ingredients, Deb Perelman has provided a sanctuary on her blog, The Smitten Kitchen. And as it seems, there is plenty of them, since Perelman’s blog reportedly had nearly 10 million page views in November 2012, and has continued to score high traffic numbers. The Smitten Kitchen has also been featured on The Martha Stewart show and various high-profile websites.
The blog which launched in 2006 has provided Perelman with a platform to publish her cookbook in 2012, which went on to make it to the New York Times bestseller list. Perelman is well known for avoiding “fussy foods,” and believes that good food is accessible. Even without a fancy kitchen, she manages to delight her followers with comfort food recipes and tutorials on everything, from the basics to more advanced cooking techniques, tips, and tricks.
4. Justin Woolverton and Douglas Bouton
Woolverton and Bouton have a typical entrepreneurship story of many hardships that they overcame, eventually landing on a recipe that would change the industry. These two former lawyers started an ice-cream business, both of them broke, thousands of dollars in debt, and so eager to learn the trade that they jumped right into the hot water without paying attention to some crucial details (such as the dangers of driving with toxic dry ice coolant on the back seat).
They invented Halo Top, a low-cal ice-cream packed with flavor that turned the industry upside down. Providing ice-cream lovers a way to enjoy their favorite guilty pleasure while remaining healthy made Woolverton and Bouton into ice-cream business giants. They’ve surpassed the competition with 17 guilt-free flavors that took America by storm and showed why persistence and inventiveness could take you far in the food industry.
5. Chloe Coscarelli
Chloe Coscarelli made a mark on the industry in many different ways. She is a food entrepreneur in every sense of the word, accomplished as a chef, cookbook author, and a restaurant owner. Coscarelli was the first vegan chef who ever won Food Network’s Cupcake Wars, and her vegan dishes served at CHLOE, her restaurant, are quite popular in the culinary world.
She was named to Forbes’ 2017 Class of 30 over 30. As a vegan chef, she has been one of the influencers that popularized the vegan diet and created many a mouthwatering recipe that made it to the list of Amazon’s best selling cookbooks. Her dishes are rapidly becoming staples of vegan cooking. With recipes like White Wild Mushroom Pizza and Mexicali Sliders, Coscarelli has managed to turn her love for vegan food into a food empire, and she shows no signs of slowing down.
Food industry’s vast embrace has a place for anyone who loves food and is persistent enough to push through the inevitable doubts and failures. To succeed in this growing industry, following fresh industry insights is extremely valuable as they provide the aspiring food entrepreneurs with knowledge while also sparking inspiration in the experienced veterans of the food arena.