The Daily Meal just put out its giant listicle of the most powerful Americans in food. The list is an interesting one that runs the gamut from chefs (Tom Colicchio, José Andrés), local media (Sam Sifton, Lockhart Steele), TV stars (Rachael Ray, Guy Fieri), and politicos (Thomas J. Vilsack, Michael R. Taylor). But who’s the most important person in America when it comes to food?
You. That’s right, you (and presumably 307 million others). True, home cooking has made a comeback, and consumers are finally learning to take a stand with their dining dollars. But really? This might have been an almost cute idea if it weren’t done five years ago on Time magazine’s Person of the Year list.
The list itself is somewhat questionable, with a strong emphasis on well-known people or those with foodie cultural capital. But at the end of the day, the people who unfortunately really wield the most power are those like Hugh Grant (the CEO of Monsanto, who did make No. 3 on their list). It’s easy to think the American foodscape comprises only New York and California, but it doesn’t. Take a look at how all of America is really eating (or not eating — it’s also easy to forget that currently one-fifth of Americans are hungry), and then give your list another shot.
It’s worth checking out the list on The Daily Meal site to read the comments. The commenters don’t seem to agree with it, either.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on January 19, 2011