Restaurant Associates has added Billy Strynkowski, most recently executive chef for Cooking Light magazine, as the company director of wellness/business excellence, a newly created position for the organization. His primary role will be to lead the Restaurant Associates culinary team in expanding their wellness platform while creating innovative menus for fitness and healthy lifestyles throughout RA and its parent company, Compass Group, says RA President Ed Sirhal.

Strynkowski, commonly known as "Chef Billy" from his role at Cooking Light, is a regular guest on CNN and has appeared on dozens of other TV shows including ABC's The View and CBS's Good Morning America as the face of the magazine.

A culinary graduate of Johnson and Wales University, Strynkowski had been a member of the Cooking Light team since 2005. Previously, he worked for RA for 14 years at Goldman Sachs and Time, Inc., and as the executive sous chef at Tropica Restaurant at the MetLife Building in New York City.

"We are thrilled to welcome Billy back to Restaurant Associates and Compass Group in this exciting new role," says Sirhal. "Wellness is the single most important topic in America today and we now have an industry leader that will drive wellness innovation to our clients and guests while having the experience of both a chef and wellness educator."

Since 2005, Cooking Light readers have enjoyed a monthly helping of Chef Billy with his column "Kitchen Tips with Chef Billy." Featured in the First Light section of the magazine, "Kitchen Tips" offers basic suggestions and facts every cook should know. He has also lost 60 pounds, giving him first-hand experience with cooking light and getting fit.

"Billy's passion and enthusiasm, along with his culinary and nutrition expertise have made him the culinary go-to guy for millions of Americans and we are thrilled to welcome him back to Restaurant Associates to lead our wellness initiatives and continue our tradition of being leaders in the foodservice arena," adds RA CEO Dick Cattani

"I'm extremely enthused about this newly created position," Strynkowski says. "I'm excited to bring wellness to the forefront of Restaurant Associates and Compass programming in a fun and exciting way"