When we revealed our ranked listing of "America's 50 Most Powerful People in Food," we invited readers to give us their own nominations — folks we didn't include but possibly should have. We tabulated the results of the many suggestions we received from comments on our own site and several others that ran the story and from our Twitter and Facebook pages.
It’s worth reiterating the guidelines that we set for ourselves while working on this project. One, the members of the list had to be based in the U.S. and major influencers of the American food-scape. That meant no Ferran Adrià, Gordon Ramsay, or Hu Jintao. Second, the people had to be living, non-fictional, and their effect on American diets had to highlight food, rather than beverage, thereby excluding Julia Child, Ruth Bourdain, and Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks.
Our disclaimer: This is not a roster of people we necessarily like or whose actions we necessarily approve of, i.e., this is not a list of our favorite people. These 50 are powerful in the food world for better or for worse, and for that reason we welcome our readers to examine and question why executives like Hugh Grant of Monsanto rank so highly.
Engaging in debate over who controls what we eat is of utmost importance to us, and it’s heartening that enough readers care about what’s on their plate to deliberate with such passion. With that, we reveal your picks for the most powerful people in food.
Readers' Most Nominated Powerful People in Food:
#1 Mark Bittman, Food Writer and Cookbook Author
His “Minimalist” column in The New York Times' Dining Section will be retired this Wednesday (you wonder how they will use the space), but Bittman's getting an even more treasured spot, a column in The Times' Op-Ed pages. He has published 17 books in his career. He is a regular guest on the Today Show. And he has hosted two PBS series about food and travel.
#1 Anthony Bourdain, Food Writer and TV Personality (tie)
Whether as a chef, author, and television personality, Anthony Bourdain is known for his edgy appeal. His show, Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations just wrapped up its 6th season.
#2 Jamie Oliver, Chef-Restaurateur and TV Personality
Oliver has used his fame and success as a British chef and television personality to become an activist for the improvement of children's diets. In 2010, he was awarded the TED Prize for his contributions in this arena.
#3 Marion Nestle, Nutritionist and Educator
Nestle is a professor of nutrition, food studies, and public health at New York University. She writes the Food Matters column for the San Francisco Chronicle and is the author of five books.
#4 Alton Brown, TV Personality
Brown is an award-winning cookbook author, writer, and television producer, who is best known for his encyclopedia-like food knowledge. He can be seen all over Food Network, starring in Good Eats, or hosting Iron Chef America and The Next Iron Chef.
#4 Jacques Pépin, Chef (tie)
Renowned French chef whose work as a best-selling cookbook author and television show host has had a profound influence on the food industry over the past several decades. He currently presides as Dean of Special Programs at the French Culinary Institute and contributes a quarterly column for Food & Wine magazine.
More Honorable Mentions:
T. Colin Campbell
Giada De Laurentiis
Farmer Lee Jones
Dr. Barry Sears
S. Irene Virbila
Dr. Andrew Weil