Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Who's the most powerful in the food world?

Expect a lot of debate over the 50 Most Powerful People In Food, released this week by the web site TheDailyMeal.com. Of course it will be a debate: The Daily Meal is headed by Colman Andrews, who was founder of Saveur magazine.

You'll have to go to here to see the whole list. But to give you an idea of Andrews' reasoning, here are the top 10:

1. You. "The reader. The consumer. The restaurant-goer. The home cook."

2. Thomas J. Vilsack, secretary of the Department of Agriculture.

3. Hugh Grant. Not the actor. The chairman and CEO of Monsanto.

4. Michelle Obama. For her White House garden and her "Let's Move" initiative.

5. Steve Jobs. Yes, the Apple chair. For all those food-related aps.

6. Alice Waters. For, well, I suppose for being Alice Waters.

7. Brooke Johnson. The woman in charge of Food Network and its new spinoff, the Cooking Channel.

8. Mike Duke. CEO of Wal-Mart, not only the world's largest grocer but now the nation's No. 1 purchaser of organic foods.

9. Sam Sifton. The New York Times restaurant reviewer.

10. Jim Skinner. CEO of McDonald's. Who knew Mickey D is now the largest purchaser of apples in the U.S.?

The rest of the list will certainly be parsed and diced. Wolfgang Puck and Rachael Ray are almost evenly matched, at Nos. 13 and 14 respectively. Tom Colicchio is on there, at No. 30, but "Top Chef" co-host Padma Lakshmi isn't. And fellow judge Tony Bourdain didn't make the cut, but Martha Stewart did (No. 47).

Read the full list