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
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Matt Jennings: Chef & Cheesemaker

Photo © Kate Kelley.

Lots of chefs make their own ricotta or chèvre, but few have gone as far or as deep as Matt Jennings, 34. Not only does he run an excellent cheese shop (Farmstead) and a bistro (La Laiterie) in Providence, Rhode Island, he also regularly collaborates with small farms on experimental cheeses. He worked with Dancing Cow Farm on its famed washed-rind Sarabande and innovates with other cheeses on his own, like dunking a wheel from a Wisconsin creamery in Belgian ale and wrapping it in hay.

More Inspiring Food Personalities 40 and Under

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Siggi Hilmarsson

Sam Kass

Zach Brooks

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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

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Zac Triemert

Anthony Myint & Danny Bowien

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