The Millennials Who Are Rethinking Our Approach to Food

34 under 34:The Rising Stars in Health

CATEGORY 4
With an endless amount of culinary choices, diet options, and conflicting nutrition info, even a simple “What’s for dinner?” can feel like a loaded question. These innovators are reimagining healthy food, feeding people in need, and creating jobs for farmers half a world away.
Chloe Coscarelli
Photo: Courtesy of Chloe Coscarelli

Chloe Coscarelli

Chloe Coscarelli

It’s not easy to open a successful restaurant in NYC, let alone a vegan one, but that didn’t intimidate Coscarelli one bit. “I've always believed that vegan food is the food of the future,” she says. “I've always seen the great side of it—how delicious and beneficial it can be to eat that way.” She founded her eponymous spot, By CHLOE, alongside Samantha Wasser, and the restaurant became an overnight hit thanks to its mouthwatering menu of sweet and savory vegan food. With both the restaurant and her cookbooks, she’s hoping to demystify the plant-based diet and make it more accessible. "There are so many stereotypes, like that vegan ingredients are weird or fake, or that it all tastes like rubber or cardboard,” Coscarelli says. “It's my mission to show people that’s not the case at all." Try one of her dishes for yourself: She gave us a recipe for bow ties in garlic cream sauce.

It’s your birthday, and you can’t have cupcakes. What do you have instead? "Guacamole for dessert! I love avocados."

"I've always believed that vegan food is the food of the future." - Chloe Coscarelli

Komal Ahmad
Photo: Courtesy of COPIA

Komal Ahmad

Komal Ahmad

Encountering a homeless person asking for money is, sadly, a too-common experience. But Ahmad did something most of us don’t: She asked the man to lunch. As he ate, Ahmad realized something else: She had seen tons of excess food from her university's dining hall being thrown away, yet here was someone who hadn’t eaten in days. "Hunger is not a scarcity problem; it’s a logistics problem," she says.

The solution came through technology. Her company, COPIA, allows people to post their surplus food via an app, then matches them with Food Heroes who will pick up the food and deliver it to a nonprofit that can use it. Today COPIA serves 40 cities throughout the San Francisco Bay area and is on its way to feeding 1 million people.

What's your favorite reward after a job well done? "Escaping and going out into nature. Maybe a nature retreat that lets me be very close to water—that's a great thing for me."
Nick Green
Photo: Courtesy of Thrive Market

Nick Green

Nick Green

Growing up in Minnesota, Green read food labels at an early age. "I happened to have the one mom in our neighborhood who was a health nut," Green says. He said no to sugar, steered clear of refined foods, and ate a simple diet—something he says impacted his whole life.

As he got older, he began to question: "Why is it that highly processed, unhealthy, chemical-laden foods that should be more expensive to produce actually cost less than healthy, wholesome, simple foods?" From that he developed his mission: to provide healthy food to lower-income families that otherwise might not have access. And thus, the concept for Thrive Market was born. Along with his cofounder Gunnar Lovelace, Green launched the online marketplace, which offers members organic, healthy food at up to 50 percent off traditional retail prices.

What time does your day typically start? "I get up around 6 a.m., and I’m usually in the office by 7:30. I like to get a couple hours of work done before the day really starts."
Lisa Curtis
Photo: Courtesy of Kuli Kuli

Lisa Curtis

Lisa Curtis

While working for the Peace Corps in a small village in Niger, Curtis was introduced to a nutritious plant called moringa. “It’s incredibly nutrient dense, and I thought we could help make a dent in malnutrition,” Curtis says. But her initial plan of harvesting the plant was cut short: A terrorist attack in the area sent her back to the U.S. after just seven months. But she didn’t stop. Together with a high school friend, she put together a business plan and launched Kuli Kuli.

Today the company is one of the top producers of moringa products in the country—and has helped create hundreds of jobs for women farmers in Ghana and planted over 200,000 trees. Oh, yeah, and it’s making pretty delicious food too.

What’s the last thing you read? "We just began a fund-raising round, so I’ve been reading The Art of Negotiation."
If your resume played a song, what would it be? "'Shut Up and Dance.'"
Jonathan Neman, Nicolas Jammet, and Nathaniel Ru
Photo: Courtesy of Sweetgreen

Jonathan Neman, Nicolas Jammet, and Nathaniel Ru

Jonathan Neman, Nicolas Jammet, and Nathaniel Ru

Founded in 2007 in Washington, D.C., Sweetgreen offers delicious, healthy food at an affordable price by sourcing it from local farmers. But Sweetgreen is way more than just a salad bar. Each location adheres to strict core values, which involve serving the community in which they’re based. Plus, the menu is based around what farmers are already growing, getting customers to try new foods. And with more than 55 stores nationwide, Sweetgreen isn’t slowing down anytime soon.

Like us on Facebook to get more stories like this!

{{discoverSettings.title}}

Search Loading
{{searchMessage}}
{{article.title}}

Nice share!
Like us on while you're at it.

Don't show me this again

Nice pin! Follow us for more.

Don't show me this again