Meet Michel Nischan

CEO, President

As the son of displaced farmers, Michel Nischan, CEO, Founder and President of Wholesome Wave, grew up with a great appreciation for local agriculture and those who work the land. He translated these childhood values into a career as a James Beard Award-winning chef, author and restaurateur, becoming a catalyst for change in the sustainable food movement. An Ashoka Fellow, Michel currently serves on the board of  The Rodale Institute. Contact:

Q: What food smell brings you instantly back to childhood?
A: The smell of my mom's fried chicken brings me back to childhood. She would even fry extra so I could eat with my all-time favorite of hers; chicken and dumplings.

Q: What is your first food memory?
A: Canning tomatoes with my mom and I can distinctly remember trying to put my thumb and pinky together to show her how old I was.

Q: If I came to your house for supper tonight, what would you make me?
A: I would make a perfectly roasted chicken and vegetables from my garden.

Q: What is your perfect idea of happiness?
A: A world where humans can express themselves through food based on personal preference rather than financial ability.

Q: What is your greatest fear?
A: A world where not everyone can cook for someone they love.

Q: What historical figure do you most identify with?
A: Abe LIncoln, a fellow Illinoisan who knew unity was the only way forward.

Q: Who are your heroes in real life?
A: My mom, Aldo Leopold, Joan Gussow, Gus Schumacher, Paul Newman, Nell Newman and Fred Kirschenmann. So many people, so little time and true recognition.

Q: What do you consider your greatest achievement?
A: Wholesome Wave.

Q: What is your most treasured possession?
A: My twelve string guitar.

Q: What is your motto?
A: If it doesn't take you to the edge of the cliff, it isn't worth thinking about.