Greg Drescher

Greg Drescher

USA - New York


Greg Drescher is a senior advisor for strategic initiatives at The Culinary Institute of America (CIA). Previously, and most recently as vice president for strategic initiatives and industry leadership at the CIA, he oversaw (for 27 years) the Institute's leadership initiatives , including academic and strategic partnerships, conferences and other global initiatives. He is the co creator of 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 partnership with more than 60 leading colleges and universities; and the annual Global Plant-Forward Culinary Summit and Plant-Forward Kitchen digital media platform. In 2005, Greg was included in the James Beard Foundation's Who's Who in American Food and Beverage, and subsequently shared a second and third Beard Award for the CIA's World Culinary Arts digital media series. He served on the National Academy of Medicine's Committee on Strategies to Reduce Sodium Intake in the United States. In the early 1990s, before joining the CIA, he co-led a collaboration of some of the world's leading health experts and organisations in the development of the Mediterranean Diet Pyramid Mediterranean Diet: A Cultural Model for Healthy Eating.


- Culinary Institute of America

Areas of expertise

- Healthy diet


The Mediterranean Diet through a Global Lens: The potential to harmonize nutrition, culinary and cultural insights

The Mediterranean Diet through a Global Lens:  The Potential to Harmonize Nutrition, Culinary and Cultural Insights

For two decades, The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) has collaborated with the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health—Department of Nutrition to educate and engage American chefs, as well as physicians and other healthcare professionals, around the latest scientific research about optimal nutrition.  One of the outgrowths of that partnership has been the Menus of Change initiative with its 24 Principles of Healthy, Sustainable Menus and its companion initiative, the Menus of Change University Research Collaborative.  These initiatives reflect the enormous potential of the $900 billion American restaurant and foodservice sector to accelerate healthy menu innovation. Central to the Menus of Change initiative has been a drive to elevate plant-forward flavors and menu development, highlighting inspiration from traditional plant-forward dietary patterns across the globe—from the Mediterranean and Middle East to Asia, Africa and Latin America. This perspective looks beyond a time in the US when chefs, if interested in healthy menu innovation, were asked to narrowly focus on nutrient analyses of their food and instead pivots to an era when we can more thoughtfully consider nutrition and wellness in a larger context of food and drink—in culture and within the patterns of our lifestyles. The Barcelona-based Torriberra Mediterranean Center, a partnership between the CIA and the University of Barcelona, reflects this re-imagination of approaches.  A glass or two of wine considered within the context of traditional Mediterranean food cultures looks very different than many patterns of alcohol consumption still prevalent in the United States and elsewhere. A broader, cultural framing invites us to balance and integrate strategies to optimize nutrition, minimize disease risk, honor the place of happiness and the pleasure of food and drink in our lives, and lean into the value to society—and to our collective longevity—of robust social engagement and cohesion.