The press may have dubbed the 28-year-old New York’s “dorm chef” — thanks to the fact that, at one point, he ran one of city’s buzziest dinner clubs out of Columbia University’s Hogan Hall — but the pomp and circumstance of haute cuisine no longer motivates him.
“I do some writing about food, but I think as someone with entrepreneurial aspirations, I wasn’t that excited about scaling up the fancy spice blends that I make with my wife,” he tells me over Zoom.
Instead, Reider is more interested in viewing food through a wellness lens, examining the age-old question: how does what we ingest impact how we feel? Reflecting on his work as a cook, as well as a consultant for food and beverage brands, he quickly realized that most digestible wellness products — from “creativity tonics” to “calming granola bars, or whatever” — don’t speak to him, or his peers.
“I don’t buy these products, but more importantly, almost no one that I know does either,” he says. Inspired, Reider set out to visit every bodega in his vicinity. “I was in search of a category of goods that seemed ripe for an improvement — and not the fancy, better-for-you improvement, but an authentically convenient improvement.”
Turning his attention from the dinner table to the bodega, he quickly found his subject: energy drinks, a genre that, in Reider’s opinion, is struggling to keep up with the times.
“There’s a huge homogeneity of branding. There are these classic, macho energy drink brands and then there’s a handful of the clean, fancy millennial challengers,” he illustrates, adding that the bulk of energy drinks are downright unpleasant to use: they taste bad, give you the jitters, and make you have to pee.
Thus, Pzaz, a line of flavored energy sprays, was born.
Essentially caffeinated breath spray packaged in a brightly colored, supremely portable tube, PZAZ “delivers micro-doses of caffeine, electrolytes, vitamins, and minerals that are absorbed really efficiently in your body,” Reider explains. “It’s absorbed immediately through the membranes on your mouth and tongue, rather than being swallowed and digested 15, 20 minutes later.”
When it comes to dosing, five mists — a serving that can be scaled up or down, depending on one’s individual needs — delivers about a quarter of the caffeine in an espresso.
“[Pzaz] makes sense at moments when you can’t, or don’t want a beverage. When you’re traveling, when you’re at work, when you’re on a long drive, when you’re partying, when you’re studying, when you’re working out.”
Pzaz isn’t a beauty product in a traditional sense, but, like any face cream or lipstick, it’s designed to alter one’s mood and sense of wellbeing. In fact, stopping for a quick spritz of Pzaz fits perfectly into Reider’s definition of wellness: “small moments during the day where I can really gratify my body in my mind.”
Growing up with parents that often hosted dinners — and in a household that stocked “a fuck ton of Aveeno oatmeal baths” — exposed him to the emotionality of what we put in and on our bodies at a young age.
“Being fed things that taste good, make you feel good, are fun to eat and share with people, really contributed to my sense of wellbeing and built up an interest that later unlocked me being down use, like, fancy conditioner.”
Pzaz covers the intersection of food and wellness, but Reider is also an avid consumer of topical products. Below, he shares his favorite mood-boosting beauty finds.
JR: Aveeno Oatmeal Bath Powder. I actually did buy this [for myself] when I went to college — the first time I shopped for beauty things on my own. I was a late bloomer. My dad used it growing up and I love it from time to time.
JR: Terre d’Hermès ’cause I’m basic. Fragrance is beauty is joy is wellness! Also: Marvis toothpaste, for an ultra luxurious dental care routine.
JR: Cerave PM. This stuff is absolutely sick. My dermatologist really deserves a shout out on this. Dr. Reider — he’s not related to me. This man absolutely saved me because one, he told me that I had psoriasis and cured it, but also is a diehard Cerave fan.
JR: Obviously a tube of Pzaz is always in my pocket or backpack. But in general, my holy grail is water. Lots of water. Tap water kept cold in the fridge. And San Pellegrino for special moments.
JR: My psoriasis has been flaring up as we’ve gotten closer to launching Pzaz and I’ve been plastering my face in Blume SuperPower Clay Mask. Feels so good, leaves my face really taut and smooth-feeling.
JR: What you put in your body is 10 times more important than what you put on your body. Also — make sure that fun and pleasure are a part of what wellness, health, and beauty means to you.