Historically speaking, a tell-tale sign of culinary leaders is their age. Their leadership qualities can be attributed to the fact that they have years of experience behind them. Well these leaders are turning that sentiment upside down. From truffle importing, to a 19-year-old culinary genius, here are the top food leaders under the age of 25.
Flynn McGarry (19)
What were you doing when you were 12 years old? Probably hanging out at the mall, or seeing the latest movie, right? Well, culinary prodigy Flynn McGarry was hosting pop-up dinners across New York City and Los Angeles. Born in 1998, McGarry started Eureka!, a traveling kitchen which hosts tasting menus at restaurants throughout Manhattan when he was just 16 years old. He has appeared on television shows around the world including MasterChef Australia.
Ian Purkayastha (24)
Forbes called him the “Prince of Truffles,” and they’re weren’t being facetious. Ian Purkayastha truly is the leading distributor of truffles in New York City. In fact, he provides truffles to 80 percent of Michelin-endorsed restaurants in Manhattan. The 24-year-old owner and founder of Regalis Foods makes $3 to $4 million in sales a year, and to think, it all started from his garage! At 15, Purkayashtha was shipping truffles to restaurants in-between physics classes and soon became known for his ability to get a hold of rare and exotic chanterelles. After graduating high school, he moved to Manhattan, and has been non-stop hustling since.
Andrew Gonzalez (25)
Founder of the cookie delivery service Night Owl Cookie Co., Andrew Gonzalez started working on perfecting his cookie recipes at the ripe age of 20 years old. Gonzalez opened Night Owl Cookie Co., in Miami and hasn’t looked back. The company has gained momentum due to their creative recipes and because they deliver their gourmet cookies late into the night.
Luke Thomas (23)
Named Britain’s youngest chef, Luke Thompson has been cooking since he was 12 years old. He has worked along side culinary giants like Heston Blumentha, Gary Rhodes, and Thomas Keller. By the time he was 18, Thomas was named Executive Chef at Luke’s Fine Dining at Sanctum on the Green, making him the youngest chef with that title in England. His determination and raw culinary talent have made him a household name across the U.K.
Michael Levine (25)
Based in New York. Michael Levine is the CEO of Global Food Solutions, a company that develops healthy, and affordable food for schools. Levine has made it his mission to make food sustainable, by using local providers and farmers in the food service industry. His initiatives have brought nutritious school lunches to millions of students in New York, Boston, Chicago, and Philadelphia. The goodwill that Global Food Solutions is spreading has earned Levine more than $15 million a year.
Keely Tillotson (24) & Erika Welsh (25)
These best-friends got their start on reality television. No, not Keeping Up with the Kardashians or Big Brother, but none other than reality-investment show and Primetime Emmy Award winner, Shark Tank. They came to the investors with the idea of flavored peanut butter and didn’t walk away empty handed. Their success on the show led to real-life success with an increase of 300 percent in sales! You can now find Wild Friends peanut butter on shelves at major stores like Whole Foods, and Costco.
Theo Friedman (23)
Owner and founder of Theory Kitchen, Theo Friedman took his college thesis, experimenting with storytelling and a 20-course meal, and turned it into a million-dollar enterprise. The company, based in New York, creates culinary experiences through multi-course intimate, and experimental pop-up dinners. Friedman’s way of storytelling course-by-course, is innovative, entertaining, and lucrative.
Jennifer D’Agostino | The Edge Blog