Founder, Chairman and Co-CEO of Chipotle Mexican Grill
When Steve Ells opened the first Chipotle in Denver in 1993, he had a novel idea: Show that food served fast didn’t have to be a typical fast food experience. Today, he and Chipotle are changing the way people think about and eat fast food. With a commitment to using ingredients from more sustainable sources – including naturally raised meat, organic and locally grown produce, and dairy products made with milk from pasture- raised cows – Ells and Chipotle are leading a revolution to make great food affordable and accessible so everyone can eat better.
Ells, a classically trained chef, has received considerable praise for his vision and leadership at Chipotle. The New York Times proclaimed that Chipotle provides “a chance to witness – and taste – a shift in American fast-food,” and Newsweek, called him “an environmental champion” for his commitment to supporting sustainable agriculture.
In 2006, Chipotle’s prominence as a company was recognized when it became one of the most successful initial public offerings of the year. Its leadership and success in business has prompted accolades from a new universe of sources, including the Wall Street Journal, which said “Chipotle has arguably become the country’s most successful fast- food chain,” SustainableBusiness.com, which has named Chipotle one of the world’s top- 20 sustainable stocks, the Motley Fool, which called it the “most socially responsible company,” and Jim Cramer, host of CNBC’s “Mad Money” who has said that Chipotle has the “best management team in the hospitality industry.”
Ells holds a bachelor’s degree in Art History from the University of Colorado, Boulder, and is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, NY.