Sierra received her Ph.D. from the Department of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health at New York University. Her research investigates the ways in which nature, pleasure, and purity are negotiated within the food system. Her doctoral dissertation analyzed the politics of quality and the production of heritage in the making of American whiskey.

Sierra has taught courses on contemporary food issues and food culture at New York University and The New School. Sierra holds a B.A. from Brown University in International Relations, graduating magna cum laude, and a Grand DiplĂ´me in Culinary Arts from the French Culinary Institute. She has worked as a research associate at the Council on Foreign Relations and as an editor at Saveur magazine.

Sierra currently serves on the Board of Directors for FoodCorps and on the Menus of Change Sustainable Business Leadership Council.