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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Sam Kass: White House Food-Policy Adviser

Photo © Kevin Dietsch/Corbis.

Within three years, the 31-year-old Kass went from being the Obama family's chef to an unprecedented White House role that's a combination of chef, gardener, educator and policy adviser. He's working with First Lady Michelle Obama in her campaign against childhood obesity—he is a fierce advocate for improving school-lunch programs—and inspiring other chefs to help.

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