Devin Alexander

Chef, TV Personality

Los Angeles

Chef and TV personality are just a few of the jobs that Devin Alexander has on her plate. Passionate about creating a healthier lifestyle for as many people as possible, Alexander is involved in everything from sitting on the board of the American Culinary Federation’s Chef Child Foundation to lending a helping hand to Michelle Obama’s Chefs Move to Schools Program. As someone who battled weight issues herself — and has maintained her 70-pound weight loss for more than 16 years — she stays true to her mantra: You don’t have to deprive yourself to be fit and healthy. She channels her experience and love for cooking into helping the contestants on The Biggest Loser and through her eight cookbooks. Her newest show, America’s Chefs on Tour, debuted in late 2012. Alexander is also working on a food line, Devinly Delites.

  • On March 4, 2013
    Tom Flournoy is now following Devin Alexander
  • On March 4, 2013
    Jennifer Kester is now following Devin Alexander
  • On March 4, 2013
    Andi Berens is now following Devin Alexander
  • On March 4, 2013
    Devin Alexander answered the question: Devin Alexander

    What are Devin Alexander’s favorite cities for food?

    New York has amazing things. I love Rick Bayless’ Frontera Grill [in Chicago]. In San Diego, there’s this place called Bice, where they have this whole cool artisanal cheese bar. When I was traveling on my show there’s a place called Poppy in Seattle that has this whole assorted thalis — it’s almost like a ton of small plates on one platter. The chef there, Jerry Traunfeld, is so cool. I honestly think it’s too much food for one person to eat, but we shared one. Milton’s Cuisine & Cocktails is amazing. Milton’s is on the outskirts of Atlanta, and it’s in an old farmhouse. They have Sunday-night barbecues and stuff. Also Jason Ellis’ restaurant Buckhead Bottle Bar & Bistro in Atlanta; he was on Hell’s Kitchen. It’s a really social place. He makes this chocolate monster dish. But he’s this super-cool, teddy-bear, awesome guy. He was one of the coolest people I’ve met in a long time; he was just so fun.
  • On March 4, 2013
    Devin Alexander answered the question: Devin Alexander

    What are Devin Alexander’s favorite Los Angeles restaurants?

    There’s a restaurant called Petros that I love. That is in Manhattan Beach near where I live. I also love to hang out at Strand House, which is a new place. The atmosphere is amazing. I’m a big sushi girl, so there’s a lot of sushi places I like. Close to me is Izaka-Ya.
  • On March 4, 2013
    Devin Alexander answered the question: Devin Alexander

    What does Devin Alexander love most about her job?

    I just get to reach people. It’s so funny because part of me loves being in the kitchen; it feels so good to crack the code on some recipe and really figure something out that no one else has. But then the other part is after I do that for a while, I can get really burnt out on being isolated in my kitchen. Then I go out and talk to fans. Really what drove this is one of my very first TV segments, which was for a show on Discovery Health called National Body Challenge. They made this family eat really super-clean food for weeks. And then they brought me in to make over tacos for them, and it was so funny because when they found out that’s why I was there, they were jumping up and down screaming as if they won the lottery.

    How do you not love your job? To know you could take someone who’s absolutely miserable — and when people really feel like they can’t have what they want, they get miserable and feel so obsessive. I know that because I was a person who was so crazed I weighed myself as much as 28 times a day; I was totally obsessed with food. To know that you can deliver a total change to someone’s life and bring so much pleasure to them — there’s no feeling in the world like that.
  • On March 4, 2013
    Devin Alexander answered the question: Devin Alexander

    How does Devin Alexander create her recipes?

    It’s so many different places. I’m sort of slightly odd in that when I go to a restaurant I read every word on every menu; it’s kind of a compulsion. Then I tend to order what I want to see as much as what I want to eat. Sometimes I’ll see something that looks really interesting — and my brain is very visual with food — so I’ll read and think, “How would I do that?” Or I have a vision of how I’d do it and then I want to order it to see how they do it. Sometimes I’ll end up going home and doing what I thought it was going to be, which I obviously think is better. Other times I think that’s a really good idea and I could do a healthy spin on that.

    I’ll go to parties and sometimes try something healthier or an amazing dessert. Then I work with the Biggest Loser TV show and someone will say I’m dying for this, and I’ll do that. I shot a show that I traveled for this summer called America’s Chef on Tour, which is on PBS, and a couple of the chefs use techniques that I hadn’t really seen before. I instantly was like, “I could make that healthier without all the oil they were using.”

    I think everybody learns from somewhere. I don’t ever take anyone’s proprietary information or anything like that, but you always try new flavors or see something. Like I’ll be walking to Trader Joe’s and see Philly cheesesteak pizza. I never even look at the box or ingredients, but just hearing the name I can make that and do my spin on it, which would be a different thing if it were for a boyfriend’s Super Bowl party or the Biggest Loser cookbook.
  • On March 4, 2013
    Devin Alexander answered the question: Devin Alexander

    Who inspires Devin Alexander?

    So many people inspire me. I love to be around other entrepreneurs. It’s just amazing to hear how people do things. It’s funny because some guy I met recently who’s become a new friend was telling me he doesn’t watch football the way most people do. He watches the strategy of it. He watches football all the time, but doesn’t know the players’ names and stuff; he’s literally watching the coaches. I like to see how people think.

    On the other side, it’s people who are struggling that inspire me to want to help them. I created a recipe called “True Love in a Bowl.” It’s for an ex-boyfriend who loves chocolate ice cream but didn’t want to eat it all the time. So I made this recipe that was a way he could essentially eat chocolate ice cream, but it’s really good for you.
  • On March 4, 2013
    Devin Alexander answered the question: Devin Alexander

    How does Devin Alexander find healthy restaurants when traveling?

    There are some chains that are known for that — to just have healthier options. I usually try to ask. For instance, I was just in Cleveland, and I was looking for a deli. I asked the concierge and they’re like, “Oh right around the corner,” and I’m like, “Do they have real turkey?” and they looked at me like I was crazy. If you ask those kinds of questions, people can lead you to places that will be healthier. If I’m going to be gone for a stretch at the same place, I get a refrigerator in my hotel room. Then I’ll just go to a grocery store and get snacks or sandwiches made from the grocery store. You don’t save a fortune, but you know it’s much healthier. A lot of times, I’m so busy anyway that it’s easy to do that once than go out.
  • On March 4, 2013
    Devin Alexander answered the question: Devin Alexander

    How does Devin Alexander stay healthy when traveling?

    On my outbound flights, I always take food with me. I had a situation where I was on the plane once that I left L.A. at 11 a.m., and a morning show appearance in New York the next day. An 11 o’clock flight in L.A. gets in around 7 or 8 p.m. on the East Coast. There was fog and all this stuff, and I wound up not getting off the plane until 1 a.m. in Philadelphia nonetheless, not even New York at all. They rerouted us. There was no food whatsoever on the plane after they sold out of a few snack boxes, and I didn’t have any food with me except some cookies. As I said, on the way there I always take something with me, and I have a lot of tricks.

    They don’t let you have icepacks anymore on the plane, so I put ice cubes in a Ziploc bag — actually I always double it so it doesn’t leak — and then when I go through security, nine times out of 10, they don’t stop me because ice cubes are smaller than two ounces. But if they do, then I just dump out the ice, keep the bag and then when I go through I go to a Starbucks or coffee shop or restaurant in the airport, they’ll fill my bag of ice back up. I’ve never been charged for that, people just do it for you. That way you can keep food fresh.

    One of the other things I do, too, is carry salads in bags. I’ll put my salad ingredients in a Ziploc and just carry a tiny Tupperware of the salad dressing. And then right before I’m going to eat it, I toss it and then I eat the salad right out of the bag. So it doesn’t take up a ton of room, it’s really easy. People always comment on planes about it. You don’t have to lug Tupperware around to 10 more cities or wherever you’re going.

    And then in hotel rooms, they put those darn mini-bars everywhere, and without fail you’re tempted to eat because you start having cravings. I always crave both sweet and salty; so I always take little snacks in both of those categories with me to hotels so I’m not tempted to eat the mini-bar because, quite frankly, I would be the person to eat the whole mini-bar.
  • On March 4, 2013
    Devin Alexander answered the question: Devin Alexander

    How does Devin Alexander eat to stay fit and healthy?

    You can eat cheesesteaks and fries whenever you want; you just have to do it in a Devin-ly way. There’s a difference between deprivation and choice. I am helping people to make choices that actually make them happy. I call it the “secret of food.” I don’t know if you’ve heard of the book The Secret, but they talk about how if you put positive things into the universe then good stuff happens, but if you sit there and go, “I’m an unlucky person,” you are an unlucky person. You can manifest your own destiny.

    For me, I call it the “secret of food” because so many people walk through life going, “I can’t have chocolate; I can’t have brownies; I can’t have cheesesteak; I can’t have French fries; I can’t, I can’t, I can’t.” And even when they are eating that stuff, they’re saying, “I shouldn’t, I shouldn’t, I shouldn’t,” and I tell them what’s going on. For me, if I go to a party and there’s a piece of fudge cake, which is one of my weaknesses, and it looks amazing, I take a bite of it. And if it’s amazing, I actually eat a normal-sized piece — not a giant piece, but not a bite. I don’t say, “I shouldn’t, I shouldn’t, I shouldn’t,” but if I took a bite and it’s not good, then I immediately think I’d rather have that another time when I’ve made it work healthier. It’s an empowered choice. It’s not like I’m struggling with it because I know I can have better for less calories and that will make me feel better, look better and all of that.

    I used to sit at dinner with girlfriends when I was overweight and they would start laughing, and I would have no idea what they were laughing about because I was so in my head counting calories and saying I shouldn’t have a piece of bread and figuring out what I ate all day. I was just missing out on life. Now I know what I can have, and I know if it tastes good I can have it. I know if it doesn’t then I can move away. It’s really easy, and I’m not deprived at all. I literally feel like I can eat more indulgently now than I did when I was 70 pounds heavier because I was just eating. I wasn’t paying attention. I wasn’t making choices that supported me.
  • On March 4, 2013
    Devin Alexander answered the question: Devin Alexander

    How did Devin Alexander get involved in the culinary world?

    I had written a script in college and it got me recruited to the television academy in Los Angeles. And when I got here, I planned to be a screenwriter, but I was volunteering at charity events and cooking because I was always a really good cook. I had two Italian grandmothers who had me making pasta when I was, like, four. So celebrities figured out I could cook healthy food that actually tasted good, and they wanted me to cook for them. I went to culinary school thinking I’d live in someone’s private guesthouse until my writing career kicked off, and instead I fell in love with helping people get healthy.

    I actually say every day that my life is a miracle because I literally was a 15-year-old weighing 200 pounds sitting on a sofa crying every day because I was being picked on for being overweight, and then I get to live this amazing, fun life.