Chef Ira Meyer ’78, Focus on Health
CIA Alumni Bio
When Ira Meyer was a student at the CIA, one winter was so cold that the Hudson River did something it never does—it froze. On a lark, he and a few buddies took their cars and did “doughnuts” on the very frozen river. Taking advantage of rare and serendipitous moments like that is the hallmark of the way he lives his life—especially his culinary life.
Take for example the way he started writing cookbooks. He was in Naples, Italy to give a talk about Italian food in America when he and Marcello Garofalo, who had ties to Disney, casually began to talk about a cookbook that would take its inspiration from Disney animated features. And so, Disney Recipes: From Animation to Inspiration came to pass with recipes like Ariel’s “Under the Sea” Tempura and Winnie-the-Pooh’s No-bake Honey Cookies. The two also collaborated on Disney. Piccoli Grandi Cuochi featuring Italian recipes. Meyer also authored The Disney Family Cookbook, which includes easy-to-make meals that are low in fat, low in salt, and are comprised of 50% vegetables, 25% protein, and 25% complex carbohydrates. He contends that it’s important to start educating youngsters early about healthy, flavorful, and fun things to eat.
An emphasis on health and flavor was at the core of his role as executive chef at Draegers Market in California and as the owner of his own catering/consulting business, Foods for Thought. He is always up for the challenge of adapting recipes to meet a customer’s dietary needs. Currently, the executive chef at Sodexo in Terraces of Los Altos, CA, Meyer brings his healthful creations to corporate dining.
Wherever Ira Meyer works, whether at Café Des Artistes or The Russian Tea Room in New York City, Exxon World Headquarters, Italy giving a lecture, or at Woodlands Market in Marin county, his love for educating, inspiring, and awakening customers to great food is at the core of what he does. These days, he lives by the Pacific Ocean, a body of water that—unlike the Hudson—doesn’t freeze in winter. So it’s in the kitchen where he’ll be on the lookout for the next rare and serendipitous moment that will lead him to a new culinary adventure.
Chef Ira Meyer majored in culinary arts at The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY. He is an executive chef at Sodexo in Terrace of Los Altos, CA.