Steve Ells

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Steve Ells
Born (1965-09-12) September 12, 1965 (age 48)
Indianapolis, Indiana
Education Boulder High School
Alma mater University of Colorado at Boulder (B.A.)
Culinary Institute of America
Known for Founding Chipotle Mexican Grill

Steve Ells (born September 12, 1965)[1] is the founder, Co-CEO, and Chairman of Chipotle Mexican Grill. Ells founded Chipotle in 1993,[1] and under his direction,[2] committed the restaurant to serve only naturally raised meat and to promote sustainable agriculture.[3]

Early life[edit]

Ells was born in Indianapolis, the son of a pharmaceutical executive.[4] He attended Boulder High School, the University of Colorado at Boulder (receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree in Art History) and Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, graduating in 1990.[5]


Ells served for two years as a sous chef under Jeremiah Tower[6] at Stars restaurant in San Francisco prior to launching Chipotle[1][7] and now sits on the board of directors of the Land Institute.[1] He borrowed money from family and friends to open the first Chipotle.[8]

We decided long ago that we didn't want Chipotle's success to be tied to the exploitation of animals, farmers, or the environment, but the engagement of our customers.

—Steve Ells[9]

Ells was named Rocky Mountain News Business Person of the Year, 2005.[citation needed] In 2007, Ells received the CEO of the Year Award from ColoradoBiz magazine.[10]

In 2010, Ells joined the judging and investment panel on NBC's series America's Next Great Restaurant alongside Bobby Flay, Curtis Stone and Lorena Garcia.[11]


  1. ^ a b c d "Steve Ells Profile". Forbes. 
  2. ^ "Chipotle: Fast Food with 'Integrity'". Business Week, February 16, 2007. 
  3. ^ "2007 CEO of the year Chipotle's Steve Ells pursues fast-casual perfection". Colorado Business Magazine, Mike Taylor. 
  4. ^ "Fine Fast Food". Time Magazine, Steve Ells. September 21, 2007. Retrieved May 24, 2010. 
  5. ^ "Chipotle founder had big dreams". Rocky Mountain News, Rachel Brand, Dec 23, 2006. 
  6. ^ "Steve Ells Profile". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Marlene Parrish, June 04, 2007. 
  7. ^ Mclaughlin, Katy (April 29, 2006). "The Next Big Flavor". The Wall Street Journal, April 29, 2006, Katie McLaughlin. 
  8. ^ "The Top 10 Best Borrowed Sums in Business History". Kabbage. 
  9. ^ "Eat a Burrito, Help a Family Farm.". Business Wire 8/28/2007, Denver. 
  10. ^ "2007 CEO of the year: Chipotle's Steve Ells pursues fast-casual perfection."., Mike Taylor, Dec, 2007. 
  11. ^ "Curtis Stone and Two Others Join Bobby Flay Restaurant Series". 

External links[edit]