Fast food is the last food we look to for fresh, natural, organic, local, ethical, sustainable fare. Look again.
Steve Ells founded Chipotle Burritos in 1993 in Denver. Nearly two decades later, his restaurant has expanded to almost 900 locations nationwide (with a European expansion soon to be underway in London). What's remarkable is that during that expansion, the quality of food at the restaurant chain has improved, thanks to its Food with Integrity program, which strives to buy naturally and humanely raised meat and locally sourced produce. Recently, Chipotle-already the largest buyer of naturally raised meat in the country-announced that natural-meat godfather Bill Niman would be coming on to help further the goals of the Food with Integrity Program. We spoke to Ells about his conversion to better foods, his work with Niman, and how high-quality fast food performs during a recession.