In honor of Mother's Day, we celebrate the 20 most influential moms in food
Old School Comfort Food
For many of us, our mothers are awe inspiring. We see them as a person who can do it all, and we are often right. Moms have this impressive ability to care for the home, heart, and table while juggling their own jobs, friends, and partners. And since we are all convinced our mother is the best mother of all, it is impossible to assign a value to any mom. Whether she is a single parent, in a loving relationship, or a stepmother, her role as a caretaker and nurturer is one that is no more valuable than her fellow mothers.
But then there are moms who spread that motherly affection and natural talent beyond themselves. They look at the world’s children and wonder what they can do to make their environment a better one to live in. While many moms choose to do this in their own way, we have a particular soft spot for the women who concern themselves with the nutritional value of our children’s lives.
So in honor of Mother’s Day, we set out to find the most influential mothers in the food industry. Since moms are each important in their own way, we felt that ranking their value was somewhat of a futile effort. Instead, we took a look at some of the food industry's most prominent activists, restaurateurs, celebrities, chefs, entrepreneurs, authors, and corporate figureheads who are mothers. We looked at dozens of mothers and considered the several ways they’ve influenced the food industry. Aside from their accomplishments, we took a look at their power ranking, their social reach, their “cool” factor, and how they serve as a “mother to the world,” all while being focused on food and nutrition.
For instance as a mother of four and the world's first female Iron Chef, Cat Cora made it on to our list. We have mothers like Rosalind Brewer, who may not have a celebrity status but does serve as president and CEO of Sam’s Club, which millions of families rely on for the best value for their food. It was a close, but editorial discretion ultimately helped to finalize the list, making leaving off moms like Jean Nidetch, the founder of Weight Watchers, and Lauren Deen, a longtime food producer, pretty tough.
In taking all of these factors into consideration, we comprised a list of some of the most influential mothers in the food industry in no particular order. And to all of the mothers out there, from the women who taught world renowned chefs how to cook, to the mom that was able to squeeze in a pan of brownies for their kid’s classroom party, we salute you!
Despite being a Golden Globe nominated actress, Jessica Alba’s greatest accomplishment had almost nothing to do with her acting career. Frustrated by the lack of affordable, natural, and eco-friendly products for babies and the home, Alba co-founded a company with her business partner Christopher Gavigan that would change the way mom’s cared for their little ones. The Honest Company is a business dedicated to helping families raise babies in a healthy environment. While they seem to specialize in housewares, they do offer a line of multivitamins which are 100 percent natural and are derived from wholesome foods for mom and baby. Pretty cool mom, huh?
For Lidia Bastianich, our modern day mother of Italian cuisine, it was always about two things: food and family. This Emmy award-winning TV personality, author, entrepreneur restaurateur, and mother has fostered a vibrant interest and awareness of the passion behind Italian cooking. She has even collaborated with her two children Tanya and Joseph on several food ventures, including her partnership with Joseph in Eataly. In addition to her cookbooks, Bastianich has authored two children’s book, Nonna Tell Me a Story: Lidia’s Christmas Kitchen and Lidia’s Family Kitchen: Nonna’s Birthday Surprise. Not only has she contributed massively to the food world, she’s impacted families everywhere with her shows and interests that focus on bringing food and family together.
This article was originally published April 30, 2014.