Chipotle Releases Final Round of ‘Cultivating Thought’ Author Series Featuring Student Essay Contest Winners
10 students from across the country will have essays featured on Chipotle’s cups and bags

DENVER--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Apr. 18, 2016-- Chipotle Mexican Grill (NYSE: CMG) has announced the fourth and final installment of its “Cultivating Thought” author series, which will begin arriving in restaurants around the country today. The final round of packaging will feature 10 essays written by the winners of Chipotle’s 2015 “Cultivating Thought” student essay contest.

The “Cultivating Thought” author series began in May 2014 in partnership with New York Times best-selling author Jonathan Safran Foer(“Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close,” “Eating Animals,” “Everything Is Illuminated”), as a way to feature original essays written by influential thinkers, authors, actors and comedians on its restaurant packaging. The program has featured 30 famed contributors, includingJudd ApatowMichael LewisPaulo CoelhoAmy TanLois LowryStephen DubnerLaura HillenbrandSue Monk Kidd, and many others who have created stories for Chipotle’s packaging that are meant to entertain and challenge customers.

“Packaging in fast food restaurants is typically sold to advertisers, or used to promote new limited-time menu items, but we have never used our packaging that way,” said Mark Crumpacker, chief creative and development officer at Chipotle. “Instead, we have used it to entertain our customers using wit, humor and design. Our ‘Cultivating Thought’ author series has allowed customers to connect with a great selection of entertaining and thought-provoking authors they may not otherwise have encountered.”

The 10 students featured on Chipotle’s final round of “Cultivating Thought” packaging were the grand prizewinners of Chipotle’s “Cultivating Thought” essay contest. The contest, which was judged by Foer, invited middle and high school students to submit a 1,700-character essay about a time when food created a lasting memory. Among the thousands of essays submitted, the 10 grand prizewinners were chosen based on their originality, creativity, quality of composition and use of theme. In addition to having their essays featured on Chipotle’s packaging, the 10 winners received $20,000 each to support their continuing education.

The winners are:

  • Abigail Alford, 17, Spring Hill, Tennessee
  • Alec Smith, 18, Tucson, Arizona
  • Anam Adil, 14, Westmont, Illinois
  • August Hagemann, 17, Fort Wayne, Indiana
  • David Rhoads, 18, Magnolia, Texas
  • Fue Xiong, 17, St. Paul, Minnesota
  • Marianne Hughes, 17, Elizabeth, Colorado
  • Marilyn Juarez, 17, Los Angeles
  • Sophia Torres, 16, Marco Island, Florida
  • Tori Brown, 15, Fairfax, California

The “Cultivating Thought” packaging is available in many Chipotle restaurants starting today and will be arriving in all restaurants in the coming weeks. For more information about “Cultivating Thought,” please visit


Steve Ells, founder, chairman and co-CEO, started Chipotle with the idea that food served fast did not have to be a typical fast food experience. Today, Chipotle continues to offer a focused menu of burritos, tacos, burrito bowls (a burrito without the tortilla) and salads made from fresh, high-quality raw ingredients, prepared using classic cooking methods and served in a distinctive atmosphere. Through our vision of Food With Integrity, Chipotle is seeking better food from using ingredients that are not only fresh, but that — where possible — are sustainably grown and raised responsibly with respect for the animals, the land and the farmers who produce the food. In order to achieve this vision, we focus on building a special people culture that is centered on creating teams of top performers empowered to achieve high standards. This people culture not only leads to a better dining experience for our customers, it also allows us to develop future leaders from within. Chipotle opened with a single restaurant in 1993 and operates more than 2,000 restaurants, including Chipotle restaurants outside the US and ShopHouse Southeast Asian Kitchen restaurants, and is an investor in an entity that owns and operates Pizzeria Locale restaurants. For more information, visit

Source: Chipotle Mexican Grill

Chipotle Mexican Grill
Chris Arnold, 303-222-5912