Sophie Egan is Director of Programs and Culinary Nutrition for the Strategic Initiatives Group at The Culinary Institute of America, where she oversees a portfolio of the college’s industry leadership initiatives focused on health, sustainability, and food systems.
She earned her Master of Public Health from UC Berkeley, with a focus on Health and Social Behavior. During her master’s program, she worked at Health Research for Action, sat on the school’s admissions committee, and was a Fellow at the UC Berkeley Center for Health Leadership. Sophie studied food policy, food innovation, and media strategies for framing health issues within national conversations. Throughout her two years, she collaborated with Michael Pollan, Knight Professor of Science and Environmental Journalism at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, starting with her long-form narrative piece, “Stunt Foods.” Tracing the birth of Taco Bell’s Doritos Locos Tacos, “Stunt Foods” took the cover of WIRED magazine’s October 2013 food issue. Her story was part of a larger feature on food trends that was nominated for a 2014 National Magazine Award. In a story for NPR, “Rebranding Public Health,” she called for more creative approaches to engaging the public around chronic disease prevention and healthcare.
Sophie's book, Devoured: From Chicken Wings to Kale Smoothies, was published in 2016. It examines the connections between the values that define our national character—work, freedom, and progress—and our eating habits, the good and the bad.
Prior to working on her Masters, Sophie spent three years at Sunset magazine, the lifestyle publication of the American West. Along with contributing to The Sunset Cookbook (2010) and The One-Block Feast (2011), she authored over 30 food and travel stories, reaching five million readers. While there, she pioneered Sunset’s first collaborative projects with Stanford University’s Bill Lane Center for the American West.
Since interning at The New York Times health desk in 2013—reporting on camera and writing weekly health stories, including “Making the Case for Eating Fruit,” which was the most emailed story on nytimes.com—Sophie has been a frequent contributor to The Times’ Well section. Her article, “A Long Way From Wonder Bread,” explored local grain economies and using taste to lure consumers to whole-grain products. Previously, she has worked as a communications consultant for The Vitality Institute on its Food@Work initiative (charting opportunities to advance healthier food choices and behaviors in the workplace), as well as for Health Career Connection and eBay Foundation.
She holds a B.A. with Honors in history from Stanford University, as well as a minor in mathematics. During college, she managed a student dining hall and studied the history of food culture while abroad at Università di Bologna. (St. Helena, CA)