Meet our Scout, Mikaela and her dad, Felix.
Rewind to Summer ‘17. We were opening our first Canadian location on Robson Street in Vancouver and launching the search for our Bailey Scout. We were on the hunt for someone who, like us, looks at the world a little differently. Our Scout also had to be game for an adventure, since we’d be sending them to the land down under to learn more about where Bailey Nelson began. Over the course of the campaign, we received a number of inspiring submissions from artists, creators, big thinkers and free spirits. After careful consideration, we landed on Mikaela Reuben, a nutritionist, celebrity chef and world traveller.
Mikaela and Felix featured in the Dallas
Mikaela’s submission was centred around her dad—the one and only Felix Reuben. Felix has always had a big personality. When she was younger, Mikaela was embarrassed by her dad’s wild wardrobe choices and passion for dance, travel and all things related to health. Years later, she has grown to appreciate how his weird and wonderful approach to life helped shape who she is and how she sees the world. We were excited to meet Felix, so we sat down with him and Mikaela on a fall day in Whistler over bowls of soup to learn more about their story.
Felix is a retired lawyer based in Victoria who says he has lived “a thousand lives.” He practices yoga three times a week, loves to salsa dance, is fascinated by medical geography, and is passionate about looking at how what people eat shapes their quality of life. We learn fairly quickly that Felix has something to say about just about anything related to health. While Mikaela whips up some borscht, Felix sneakily adds in some turmeric (this isn’t the first time he has made unique additions to her recipes), telling us this secret ingredient is saving lives every day.
When asked to describe Mikaela as a child, a grin spreads across Felix’s face. “Mikaela has always had a tremendous joie de vivre, and a healthy appetite,”he says. Food was always a focus in the Reuben household, but it looked a little different than conventional home cooking. “I remember coming home from school and my dad being on a miso seaweed kick because he had spent the day with a Japanese client,” Mikaela says. She didn’t know it at the time, but the culinary curiosity her dad instilled in her would later spark a passion for food that would set her on an entirely different life path.
Throughout Mikaela’s childhood, Felix was constantly travelling to exotic locations for work and pleasure. “Because he travelled a lot, I was exposed to different cultures and food and people” says Mikaela. “This exposure really shaped my curiosity for life.” This passion for food eventually led Mikaela to leave a physiotherapy Masters program to pursue a culinary career.
Since taking the big leap, Mikaela has travelled around the world and cooked for a host of well-known clients. Felix says he admires Mikaela’s pursuit of the unknown and how she uses travel to learn more about different people and their cultures. Mikaela tells us that this thirst for knowledge is something she inherited from Felix. “My father’s drive to educate himself has constantly pushed me to ask more questions and invest in my own learning,” she says. “In my own world right now, there are thousands of wellness influencers on social media promoting the newest super food without truly understanding its benefits. We all know turmeric is good for us, but because of my Dad, I will go and look up how much turmeric per serving you need to experience its impact. The wanting to understand the whole picture has shaped the way I approach my work.”
Mikaela admits to being confused when she received the call that let her know she was chosen to be our Scout.“What do you really want from me?” she asked us (a few times). “In the past, marketing has felt gross to me—the drive to grow and sell something never sat right,” she says.“I can sense that [Bailey Nelson] is interested in creating community from the inside out and you prioritize transparency in everything you do.”
On November 14th Mikaela will hop on a plane to Australia to experience our brand’s birthplace and humble beginnings. Mikaela can’t wait to meet our Australian team and she also has a lengthy list of cafes and restaurants she wants to hit while in Sydney, Melbourne and Byron Bay. Aside from spiders and other Australian wildlife, she’s only nervous about the prospect of spending time alone and doing nothing—since she’s taking a few additional days to herself in Byron Bay at the end of her trip. We could not be more excited to see what Mikaela discovers and shares as her journey unfolds. Follow along: @baileynelsonca #BNscouts.