Ali is the Chief Science Officer and a Co-Founder of Pilot R&D. As a culinary scientist, he has the ability to translate complex scientific concepts and esoteric culinary ideas into language that is approachable and accessible. Ideation is an integral part of every Pilot endeavor, and Ali leverages his background in scientific research and development to help the Pilot team devise creative and concrete solutions to culinary obstacles. The Pilot team regularly calls upon Ali’s expertise in ingredient functionality to develop techniques that enhance and streamline production processes without compromising flavor.
Ali began cooking in restaurant kitchens while studying biochemistry as an undergraduate. In 2011, he started teaching at the Culinary Institute of America while pursuing his Ph.D. in Food Biochemistry from the University of California, Davis. For his dissertation, Ali stayed true to his roots as a cook and collaborated with the Three Michelin Star French Laundry to study a uniquely culinary topic: cooking vegetables sous vide. This interaction jumpstarted his career as a consultant to the culinary industry, allowing him to work closely with some of the most innovative restaurants in the country, including working as the Culinary Scientist for the Thomas Keller Restaurant Group, a position created to utilize Ali’s unique skill set. Ali recently channeled his expertise in applying the universal principles of culinary science to all corners of the food industry in his first book, Ingredient: Unveiling the Essential Elements of Food, published by Ecco in 2016.
Ali has been honored on both Zagat’s and Forbes’ 30 Under 30 lists.