Greg Drescher is vice president of strategic initiatives and industry leadership at The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) which operates campuses in New York, California, Texas, and Singapore. Mr. Drescher oversees the college’s leadership initiatives for the foodservice industry, including academic and other strategic partnerships, conferences, invitational leadership retreats, digital media, and other global initiatives. He is the creator of the college’s Worlds of Flavor International Conference & Festival (now in its 21th year), as well as a portfolio of health and sustainability leadership initiatives including Menus of Change and Healthy Kitchens, Healthy Lives, jointly presented by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health; the Menus of Change University Research Collaborative, co-led by the CIA and Stanford University in association with more than 50-plus leading colleges and universities; and the recently launched annual Global Plant-Forward Culinary Summit and Plant-Forward Kitchen digital media platform.
Co-developer of the CIA’s new partnership with the University of Barcelona—the Torribera Mediterranean Center with its focus on the healthy, traditional Mediterranean Diet and regional food studies—and a strategic advisor to the European-based EAT Foundation, Mr. Drescher works internationally to advance innovation at the intersection of health, sustainability, culture, and culinary insight.
In 2005, Mr. Drescher was inducted into the James Beard Foundation’s Who’s Who of Food & Beverage in America, in 2007 and 2009 shared a second and third James Beard Award for his team’s work in developing the CIA’s “Savoring the Best of World Flavors” digital media series, filmed on location around the world. He served on the National Academy of Medicine’s “Committee on Strategies to Reduce Sodium Intake in the United States” (final report 2010). In 2011, he was inducted as a member of the Accademia dei Georgofili, Europe’s oldest agricultural academy based in Florence. In 2017, Foodservice Director included Mr. Drescher in its “20 People Shaping American Foodservice Today.”
Before joining the CIA 24 years ago, he jointly spearheaded a collaboration of some of the world’s leading health experts and organizations—including the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and WHO—in authoring the “The Mediterranean Diet Pyramid: A Cultural Model for Healthy Eating.” The cumulative results of this research were published in a special edition of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (1995), creating an evidence-based foundation for much of the academic, policy, and media interest in the Mediterranean Diet that followed.