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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Nicolas Jammet, Nathaniel Ru & Jonathan Neman: Eco-Salad-Chain Founders

Photo © Bona Park.

Three years ago, when these Georgetown University classmates launched the quick-service salad shop Sweetgreen their senior year, they built in a serious eco ethos that's only gotten stronger. Backed by investors with environmental chops, including Stonyfield Farm founder Gary Hirshberg, the team built five DC–area locations in three years, with a Philadelphia expansion in the works. The restaurants run on wind energy, source local ingredients and send a fuel-efficient truck around the city selling organic frozen yogurt.

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