Reed Alexander – Taking KewlBites Out of Life
Updated: Apr 15, 2020
Reed Alexander in New York. Photos copyright 2015 Mark Doyle.
Taking KewlBites Out of Life
by Ally Abramson
You may know Reed Alexander as a 21-year-old former Nickelodeon star who tormented iCarly, playing the infamous villain Nevel Papperman. However, over the past few years since the end of the show, he has been transformed.
Alexander has found his passion in cooking healthy and delicious food. The founder of KewlBites blog, Alexander has published a cookbook and is an ambassador for the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. He works alongside former President Bill Clinton and the American Heart Association to ensure that the future generation has the tools and knowledge needed to live healthier, better lives.
Alexander chatted with us recently about KewlBites and his important message.
What can you tell me about your involvement with the American Heart Association and Clinton Foundation Programs?
Those two programs have come together. It’s the ten-year anniversary of the program they joined to launch, the “Alliance for a Healthier Generation.” In those ten years, The Alliance has become the definitive organization for healthier living in the US… aside from the First Lady’s program, Let’s Move, which is fighting childhood obesity. I joined as a spokesperson and ambassador, the face of their domestic operation, right around the time I launched my website and started cooking on The Today Show. I was really getting out there and spreading this message. Getting the idea of healthier eating out there.
Over the five years that I’ve been working with them, the organization has really grown. Bill Clinton really has an active role with it and oversees everything it does, so there have been some big highlights over the past few years. We worked together along with Rachael Ray and some other chefs to come up with a menu of healthy recipes that are now cooked for over 30 million kids everyday. Something really cool is that President Clinton was the first person I wanted to show my book to before it was finalized and he wrote a great quote that is now on the cover of the book. I’d love to get even more involved with his Foundation and explore what they do on a more global scale.
Why is it so important to get this message across to younger audiences?
Having grown up with a family history of diabetes and heart disease myself and having grown up really getting to know my audience through Nickelodeon, I saw that it’s so important to get started at a young age. [To] have a basis of knowledge with which to live your life. Ultimately, it’s important to keep kids knowledgeable because they want to learn and want to be involved. They need to know things like the fact that what you put in your body affects how you perform at school and how you function.
We need to raise a generation that is equipped to take care of ourselves because that will help us all avoid a lot of health issues down the road. Kids really do care about these issues and taking control. I remember one kid got up at the question portion of something I did. He said, “I’m really overweight, can you tell me anything I can do to exercise at home? I don’t live in the safest neighborhood, so what are three easy things I can do before bed?” This is what he was saying in front of like 1,000 other students.I was so impressed.
How do you think social media affects your ability to spread the message?
My life is so absorbed in social media that I feel like it’s a really powerful tool to spread ideas. It’s so immediate. I learn so much from these kids. It really puts us in conversation with each other. Without a tool like this, I don’t know how I could be doing all of this as successfully. I don’t think anyone could. The interactivity is really important. I also think it opens up dialogue much more, connecting people all over the world.
Right, and it allows everything to be much more personal which I believe is much more effective.
100 percent. It’s essential. That whole personal connection transforms the sound and tone of what we’re saying from “You should be doing this,” to really being able to understand and connect with the unique situations people face.
When you started out with your blog, did you have any idea, or hope, that it would turn out to be this whole journey?
This massive part of my life that consumes my existence? (laughs) No, I didn’t! Initially when I started with my blog, I had been working really long days on set. I had lost fifteen pounds. While I was really into acting, I thought, “Well these past few months have been really great. Why not create a simple blog?” Which isn’t so simple anymore. So I did!
We’re re-launching it in a little while. The third generation of KewlBites! I’m excited! I remember when I first started cooking on The Today Show or when I first joined with the President, they allowed me to really connect even more with my audience. Going on tour and meeting these kids one on one – things that I never would have had the chance to do otherwise. I guess I had hope, but I really can’t believe it! Seeing the response from kids, but also parents and teachers, has really been incredible over the past five years.
Where do you think the next five years will take you?
I have a ton of goals. Seeing even one of them take hold would be amazing. I’m working on another entertainment-centric sitcom right now. Getting back into acting almost full time, but continuing with this food stuff. I just launched a new radio show – “Reed On Air.” I’m working on a show Jamie Oliver is producing called Pressure Cooker, which is crazy. I’d love to eventually have the right fit on TV with food, I think it’s something really different. I’d love to see a food-based show with a music and pop culture element to it. I’m also working on a new book! Fingers crossed, I guess.
You’re getting back into acting? What can you tell me about the new project you mentioned?
Oh my gosh, it’s so early on. They usually execute you if you say too much, but the point being I’m no longer playing the villain. I can tell you that for sure. It’s a show that I’m being able to creatively guide and direct, even help to write. I’ve really learned that I equally love on and off the camera stuff.
How would you describe your cooking style in around ten words?
Ooh that’s a tough one. Fresh. Nutritious. Delicious (we hope!). Internationally inspired (well, that’s a phrase). Culture driven. Classic but fun. Reinvented. Family favorites. Simple. And affordable. Those two especially are some of my important take always.
If you had to pick, what’s your favorite thing to cook? I know there’s probably a lot.
Anything dessert-centric number one. I know exactly what it would be, because it’s from my book. It’s my favorite thing ever, because I have a massive sweet tooth. That would have to be my molten chocolate lava soufflé. They’re so good. The reason is that they’re Paris inspired, which is my favorite place. They’re indulgent and rich, but the cool thing is that I use dark chocolate chips so they have a lot of antioxidants. I cut way down on the sugar, use a lot of egg whites. I use whole wheat pastry flour, which gives it a lot of fiber but you don’t even taste it. I’m obsessed with that recipe for sure.
How has your opinion on food and lifestyle changed since all this has happened?
One of the major takeaways has been the idea that food is neither my best friend, nor my enemy. It’s the world that I live in, but it’s not something I let define me. That’s something that has really helped me transform the way that I live.
What would you say to the fans who have stuck with you throughout this journey?
For sure a massive thank you, because it’s been a long haul. I have really met great people through social media and am able to connect with people when they come out to buy the book and give me their organic feedback. I definitely wouldn’t have any of this without them.
Copyright ©2015 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: February 13, 2015.
Photos ©2015 Mark Doyle. All rights reserved.
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