These 40 up-and-comers—all 40 years old or younger—are changing the way Americans eat and drink, from a vodka distiller who rewrote Nebraska's Prohibition-era laws to a White House chef who's fiercely fighting to improve school-lunch programs.

By Food & Wine
Updated March 31, 2015


Amanda Hesser: Cookbook Author

Photo © Sarah Shatz / W.W. Norton & Co.

Amanda Hesser, 39, didn't just update the 1961 edition of The Essential New York Times Cookbook; she excavated more than a century's worth of recipes from the newspaper's archives for an account of the evolution of American cooking. (The green-pea fritter recipe from 1876, for example, still sounds great.) She's also at work on another project: Food52, a website she created with Merrill Stubbs where amateur cooks submit recipes to be tested by experts and voted on, with each week's winning dish earning a spot in a cookbook due out next year.

Plus Go to the Food52 website

More Inspiring Food Personalities 40 and Under

Jennifer Rubell

Siggi Hilmarsson

Sam Kass

Zach Brooks

Robert Litt

Brett Beach & Tim McCollum

Geoff Bartakovics & Nick Fauchald

Matt Timms

Michael Kirban & Ira Liran

Emily Olson & Rob LaFave

Brendan Newman & Rico Gagliano

Matthew Cain

Anya Fernald

Kenji Lopez-Alt

Frances Ro

Charles Bieler

Chris Parachini & Brandon Hoy

Tata Harper

Annemarie Ahearn

Minh Tsai

Amanda Hesser

Matt Jennings

Alison Pincus

Tracey Brandt

Rob Cooper

Christian Ettinger

Peter Karpinski

Nicolas Jammet, Nathaniel Ru & Jonathan Neman

Zac Triemert

Anthony Myint & Danny Bowien

Jeremy Tooker


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