20 Food Heroes

Food in America is getting better on every front. Some of the people here are lions in their fields—still roaring. Others are just getting started. We salute them.

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Steve Ells
Photo: Redux Pictures

Steve Ells

47, Denver, Colorado

POSITION: Founder, chairman, and co-CEO of Chipotle

NOTABLE FOR: Tapping sustainable, family-owned farms to supply the fastfood market. Ells partnered with Niman Ranch more than a decade ago to provide pasture-raised pork to his budding burrito chain. Despite a $1 per dish price spike, sales doubled, proving interest in quality and provenance. The chain’s more than 1,200 locations now serve antibiotic-free meat, local and organic produce, and even hormone-free sour cream. Ells’ Chipotle Cultivate Foundation gives grants to chefs, farmers, and educators who share his vision for sustainability.

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