Popular food site The Daily Meal has come out with its version of the most influential people in America’s food industry, a list based on one simple criterion: Is this person capable of changing the way Americans eat?
The ranking is peppered with names that are both familiar and star-powered -- chefs Thomas Keller, Grant Achatz, Mario Batali – as well as the lesser known names behind food behemoths like The Monsanto Company, the world’s largest producer of genetically modified seeds, as well as CEOs and editors-in-chiefs.
According to the editors, meanwhile, the most influential people in the American food landscape aren’t household names: they’re Jack Menzel, product managing director and Bernardo Hernandez, director of product management and management director for Zagat at Google (Google acquired the crowd-sourced dining guide in 2011).
The Daily Meal’s reasoning? “We're singling out Menzel and Hernández for their considerable contributions in these areas, but also as representatives of a hydra-headed entity that increasingly informs us about food (along with everything else) and offers us pretty much instant access to an endless pool of recipes, cooking tips, restaurant recommendations, chef profiles, foodstuff definitions, and a menu full of other delicious stuff.”
Other notable names that made their list include Mike Duke, president and CEO of Walmart, "The New York Times" restaurant critic Pete Wells, First Lady Michelle Obama and Ben Silbermann, founder and CEO, Pinterest.