When it comes to the world of private chefs, if your client list runs the gamut from rockstars like Pearl Jam to fitness phenom Taryn Toomey, you know you’re doing something right.
“I think I’ve been successful because I marry the science part with the execution part,” says healthy chef Mikaela Reuben. “I’m not willing to give up on flavor.”
That balancing act has lead her to design detox food programs for The Class, tour with Red Hot Chili Peppers and Pearl Jam as a private chef, and travel to Italy and Mexico to host wellness retreats.
But oddly enough, 31-year-old Reuben wasn’t always drawn to the kitchen. After majoring in exercise physiology, Reuben lived in the Maldives designing sports programs for children after a major tsunami. When her dad had a heart attack, she returned home to Vancouver, where she’s based, to help him change his diet. “Making healthy eating delicious became my obsession,” she recalls.
Then, when she spent time as a “beach bum” in Maui in 2008, she met the late Wayne Forman, the owner of a Hollywood catering company and a private chef to different rock bands.
“He was fermenting sauerkraut before it was cool,” Reuben says. “We would hang out every day, and he taught me how to use every ingredient. Through him, clients started coming my way, and I just started saying yes.” She got training in holistic nutrition from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, and began to really marry the theory behind nutrition with delicious meals. Her recipes are ridiculously clean yet inventive—think Coconut Turmeric Cauliflower and Spaghetti Squash with Kale Pesto—and not a bit complicated.
“I’ve traveled so much, I can pull on different herbs and culinary styles while keeping nutrition in mind,” she says. “I love being able to say, ‘I made you this type of yogurt parfait because you have a long day in the sun and I want you to get vitamin C,’ if they’re interested. If not, I know I’m doing my best to keep people healthy.” —Jamie McKillop
For recipes and more information, visit www.mikaelareuben.com
(Photos: Mikaela Reuben)