Food & Wine Game Changers

25 people and companies changing the way we eat and drink in 2021.

Here at Food & Wine, we can't stop thinking about impact.

This past year and a half has shown that the world can shift under our feet at any given moment. But these challenging times have also proved the power that people with a good idea can have, and the massive and positive difference innovation can make in the world. That's why we're choosing to honor and celebrate the people, products, organizations, and movements who are changing the culinary world for the better.

We are excited to introduce you to Food & Wine's inaugural list of Game Changers.

This new annual list doesn't consist just of industry insiders, nor does it place emphasis and priority on being new. These 25 honorees are all leaders in the culinary field who push their peers to dream bigger and innovate harder. They are transforming how we, as a society, collectively eat, cook, drink, and travel -- and that is no small feat.

This year's 25 Game Changers include the woman building a vegan dairy empire, the cookbook publisher creating a more accessible and sustainable publishing model, the chef who refuses to play by any of the traditional restaurant rules, the nonprofit feeding undocumented hospitality workers and their families, the chocolate companies fighting for an ethical supply chain, and the tech company determined to bring a kinder and more equitable restaurant delivery model to the masses.

We are floored by their talent, their vision, and their hopes for the future. We believe in their lasting impact. Read on to meet the inaugural class of Food & Wine Game Changers.
—Khushbu Shah, Restaurant Editor

1. Sahra Nguyen

Portrait of Sahra Nguyen
Photo by Alex Lau / Wardrobe Styling by Joseph Episcopo / Hair and Makeup Styling by Miguel Lledo / Food Styling by Tyna Hoang / Prop Styling by Sophia Pappas

Nguyen Coffee Supply is bringing single-origin Vietnamese coffee to as many cups as possible. Read More.

Get the Recipe: Vietnamese Iced Coconut Coffee

2. The Perfect Pan

carbon steel pan with fried egg
Photo by Caitlin Bensel / Food Styling by Chelsea Zimmer / Prop Styling by Claire Spollen

The new generation of carbon steel cookware is durable, affordable, and stylish. Read More.

3. Fridges for All

illustration of a fridge
Illustration by Gabriel Hollington

Community Fridges have become vital sources of fresh, easily accessible foods in cities around the country. Read More.

4. Ancestral Connections

portrait of Neftalí Durán: chef, educator, and cofounder of I-Collective
Cara Totman

A national network of chefs, farmers, and activists is helping to restore Native American foodways. Read More.

5. Bryan Ford

portrait of baker Bryan Ford
Cedric Angeles

This baker is breaking down bread barriers, one loaf at a time. Read More.

Get the Recipe: Queso Fresco Sourdough Biscuits with Chimichurri

6. Kernels of Change

kernels of corn
Courtesy of Masienda

Masienda sparked a masa movement in America while preserving the genetic diversity of one of the world's most crucial crops. Read More.

7. The Sustainability Champions

Illustration of produce and milk
Illustration by Gabriel Hollington

Three organizations building a greener future in farming, restaurants, and grocery supply chains. Read More.

8. No Us Without You

Damian Diaz (left) and Othón Nolasco (right)
Mel Castro

Meet the bar consultants who organized to support L.A.'s undocumented workforce. Read More.

9. Eric Rivera

portrait of Eric Rivera
Angie Smith

The contrarian chef has found success in refusing to run a traditional restaurant. Read More.

Get the Recipe: Cacio e Plantain

10. Travel, Eat (Don't) Repeat

Illustration by Gabriel Hollington

These innovators are reimagining culinary travel, one unique and delicious trip at a time. Read More.

11. Ashtin Berry

portrait of Ashtin Berry
Jonathan Cooper

The activist and sommelier is not afraid of hard conversations. Read More.

12. Hangover Helpers

drinking illustration
Illustration by Gabriel Hollington

Two clever products help people drink smarter. Read More.

13. Superior Spices

Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Chelsea Zimmer / Prop Styling by Claire Spollen

The next generation of spice companies are delivering better-tasting spices while disrupting an outmoded industry.
Read More.

Get the Recipes: Fried Yuba Tacos with Sweet Corn Relish

Orange-Cardamom Butter Cakes with Rose Water Icing

Spice-Roasted Halibut with Herbs and Tahini Salad

14. Better Birds

chicken with peppers
Photo by Caitlin Bensel / Food Styling by Rishon Hanners / Prop Styling by Audrey Davis

Regenerative agriculture promises a happier ecosystem for animals, farmers, and the planet. Read More.

Get the Recipe: Summer Chicken-and-Pepper Stew

15. Fairness, Delivered

food delivery app illustration
Illustration by Gabriel Hollington

With a business model that doesn't gouge restaurants, ChowNow wants to turn the tables on third-party delivery apps.
Read More.

16. The Sweetest Strawberries

Oishii Strawberry illustration
Illustration by Gabriel Hollington

Oishii's revolutionary Omakase berry brings Japanese innovation stateside. Read More.

17. A Kinder Publishing Model

book covers
Courtesy of Somekind Books

An Australian cookbook publisher is shifting who gets the money. Read More.

18. Julia Bainbridge

portrait of Julian Bainbridge
Theodore Samuels

Bainbridge has helped normalize not drinking alcohol. Read More.

Get the Recipe: Jardín Verde Non-Alcoholic Cocktail

19. Now That's Good Wine

wind and solar wine illustration
Illustration by Gabriel Hollington

Miguel A. Torres is rallying the wine industry to fight climate change. Read More.

20. Next-Level Noods

Sun Noodles
Photo by Caitlin Bensel / Food Styling by Chelsea Zimmer / Prop Styling by Audrey Davis

Sun Noodle is at the forefront of America's ramen boom. Read More.

21. Miyoko Schinner

Portrait of Miyoko Schinner
Photo by Celeste Noche / Hair by Marian Ha / Makeup by Paul Laxton

At her creamery, Miyoko Schinner is transforming the world of vegan dairy. Read More.

Get the Recipes: Blueberry-Coconut Vegan Cheesecake

Vegan Peach-Almond Upside-Down Cake

22. Chocolate for Change

Chocolate bars
Photo by Caitlin Bensel / Food Styling by Rishon Hanners / Prop Styling by Audrey Davis

These companies are ensuring a sustainable future for cocoa. Read More.

23. Next-Gen Flavor

assortment of condiments
Photo by Caitlin Bensel / Food Styling by Emily Nabors Hall / Prop Styling by Audrey Davis

These condiment makers are pushing boundaries with their punchy sauces and pickles. Read More.

24. Guy Fieri

portrait of Guy Fieri
Courtesy of Food Network

The mayor of Flavortown has raised millions of dollars for restaurant employees in need. And that's just the tip of the iceberg. Read More.

25. Empowering Employment

Illustration by Gabriel Hollington

The LEE Initiative keeps hope afloat for restaurants and farmers in need.
Read More.

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