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Notable Gastronomy Connoisseurs & Famous Family Food Industry Dynasties

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Gastronomy is the art or science of food eating. Also, it can be defined as the study of food and culture. The derivative is Gourmet.

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Confectionary Companies

Celebrity Chefs

Epicurean Specialists

Family Owned Speciality & Fine Food Giants

Groupe Danone / Dannon Yoghurt

A Spanish businessman, Isaac Carasso, obtained cultures from Bulgaria and the Pasteur Institute. He began to manufacture yogurt in Barcelona in 1919 for sale through pharmacies. As business expanded he established a French branch in the 1920s. His son, for whom he named the product Danone, directed the French operation.

Daniel Carasso came to the United States in 1942 with Joe Metzger, a Swiss-born Spanish businessman, and Metzger's son Juan. They purchased a small yogurt factory in New York City and continued production using the family formula but changing the name from Danone to Dannon.

Daniel Carasso returned to Europe in 1948. Joe Metzger became president of Dannon Milk Products, Inc., in 1952, moving up to chairman of the board in 1959, when Juan Metzger became president.

In 1994 the Dannon Co. was 89.32-percent owned by Groupe Danone.


From the very beginning, Henry. J. Heinz did things differently. He built his business, founded in 1869, on the philosophy that "heart power is better than horsepower." Believing that "kindly care and fair treatment" was the right and moral way to treat employees, rooftop gardens, lunchtime concerts, and weekly manicures for all food handlers were staples at H. J. Heinz. Heinz modeled his life and business on his mother's admonition: "Do not live for yourself." His care for his fellow man extended beyond employees

Howard Heinz was the son of H. J. and his wife Sarah.
Howard volunteered in post-war Europe. He worked closely with war-ravaged European nations to initiate food relief efforts. In 1919, while in the Balkans, he learned of the death of his father. Coincidently, 1919 was also the year the company celebrated its 50th anniversary.

Howard's grandson, Senator John Heinz, spent his legislative career focused on issues related to the elderly, international finance, and aging. He worked diligently to help workers victimized by unfair trade practices, families without health insurance, and many others in need of assistance.

Senator Heinz and his wife Maria Teresa Thierstein Simões Ferreira appreciated beauty in both nature and the arts. Together, they established a fine collection of late 18th- and 19th-century American paintings, as well as 17th-century Northern European still lifes. Tragically, Senator Heinz died in an airplane accident in 1991. Teresa Heinz remarried, and is the wife of U.S. Senator John Kerry (D-Massachusetts).

Best known for its ketchup, the H.J. Heinz Company manufactures thousands of food products in plants on six continents and markets these products in more than 200 countries and territories. Overall, the company claims to have 150 number one or number two brands worldwide.

Mars Incorporated

Mars Inc. is one of the world’s largest family-owned food companies. Candy-making Minnesotans Frank and Ethel Mars invented the Milky Way. Their secretive, driven son Forrest, supposed model for Willy Wonka, feuded with his father, started his own candy company in England, then merged with late father’s business 1964.

Now #2 U.S. candy maker (behind Hershey). Since 1973, run by Forrest’s three children, CEO John, 71, Forrest Jr., and Jacqueline, 63. Forrest died 1999 at age 95.

Anheuser Busch

Eberhard Anheuser took over struggling St. Louis brewery 1860. Bavarian immigrant Adolphus Busch married Eberhard’s daughter Lilly 1861, joined brewery 1864 and made it successful.

His grandson August Jr. (d. 1989), president from 1946, began Budweiser’s “King of Beers” ad campaign, making it nation’s biggest brewer (currently nearly 50% of U.S. beer market). August III, now 65, unseated his father 1975. Presumed heir August IV, 38, now VP/marketing.   

Tyson Foods

Founder John W. Tyson sold chickens and feed to Arkansas farmers, got into processing and distribution after discovering he could fetch higher prices up North. Today, company is nation’s leading chicken supplier, with 28% of poultry market; also world’s largest meat processing firm since purchase of IBP Fresh Meats.

Son Donald, now 73, dropped out of college in senior year to enter business (1952) and was joined at helm by half-brother Randal (d. 1986) after his father died in train accident (1967).

Donald retired as chairman 1995 and remains senior chairman. His son John H., 49, is now chairman and controls 80% of company’s voting power.