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Chef Jake Cohen

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Chef Jake Cohen’s professional culinary journey has been governed by two constants: his love of cooking Jewish food and his love of cannabis. The chef, social media star, best-selling cookbook author, and darling of the food scene has been a proud celebrity from the start. From his site which proudly boasts a URL WakeAndJake.com, In his open discussion of cannabis use and love, Cohen doesn’t shy away from the plant when building his personal brand—in part, he says, because cannabis has always been there for it.

“I started eating cannabis around the same time I started cooking,” he says, explaining that as a young New Yorker, he began hosting Shabbat dinner parties for his friends where he found food, Judaism, and cannabis a natural intersection. “Sabbath is the Jewish ritual closest to my heart,” says Cohen, referring to the weekly gathering of friends and family where prayers are sung, candles lit, challah eaten, and wine traditionally drunk on Friday after sundown.

Chef Jake Cohen.

“I grew up learning about the kiddush[theJewishprayeroverwinesungontheSabbathbutIwasneverabigdrinkerbutoncewetakeacloserlookatwhyweliketoprayoverwinewerealizeit’saboutthesacred”CohensaysAclassyexperiencethatcanmakedinnertastebetter;itcanmakeyoulaughatjokesmoreeasily”weedastheexactsamething—takingsomethingthatgrowsfromthegroundandtransformingitintoanelevatedexperienceItcanmakedinnertastebetter;itcanmakeyououlaughatjokesmoreeasily”[الصلاةاليهوديةعلىالنبيذالذييُغنىيومالسبت،لكننيلمأكنأبدًاشاربًاكبيرًالكنبمجردأننلقينظرةفاحصةعلىسببترديدناللصلاةعلىالنبيذ،ندركأنالأمريتعلقبالتقديس،”يقولكوهين”يتعلقالأمربأخذالدنيويةوتحويلهاإلىشيءمقدسلطالمارأيتالحشيشعلىأنهنفسالشيءبالضبط-أخذشيءينمومنالأرضوتحويلهإلىتجربةراقيةيمكنأنتجعلمذاقالعشاءأفضل؛يمكنأنتجعلكتضحكعلىالنكاتبسهولةأكبر”[theJewishprayeroverthewinesungatShabbatbutIwasneverabigdrinkerButoncewetakeacloserlookatwhywe’resayingtheprayeroverthewinewerealizeit’saboutsanctification”Cohensays“It’sabouttakingthemundaneandtransformingitintosomethingholyI’vealwaysseenweedastheexactsamething—takingsomethingthatgrowsfromthegroundandtransformingitintoanelevatedexperienceItcanmakedinnertastebetter;itcanmakeyoulaughatjokesmoreeasily”

According to Cohen, hospitality is the overarching umbrella for the entire Shabbat experience. “You welcome people into your home because you want to create an intention around connection,” he says. “Everything related to the meaning of Kiddush rituals can be replaced by hashish.”

And for Cohen, sharing his point of view on cannabis is just as important as sharing his love of Jewish food. He says, “In general, I share myself. A big part of myself is my enjoyment of cannabis.”

While cannabis is an inspiration for Cohen’s cooking, he says he tries to avoid cooking while stoned.

“Cooking on high is a disaster,” he says, laughing. “Cannabis helps me unleash my mind and think about how to create new recipes and conventions for everything we already know and love. It can be really hard in a world that always demands more, then, now. Cannabis creates a space where I not only feel completely at ease, but it cools my mind.” Also and gives me permission to explore whatever comes into my mind.”

Jake Cohen's Jew-ish Recipe Book: A Cookbook: Reinved Recipes from a Modern Mensch
Jew-ish: A Cookbook: Recipes Reinvented from a Modern Man. Photo by Matt Taylor Gross

It’s easy to see the creative freedom in Cohen New York times best selling books, Jew-ish: A Cookbook: Recipes Reinvented from a Modern ManAnd which features a cheeky take on classic recipes like Shakshuka alla Vodka, minced liver in salted honey, Cacio e Pepe Rugelach, and Matzo Tiramisu. But don’t expect Cohen to let his cannabis creativity fly in the sultry dining space. It’s something he’s discovered (he admits he’s somewhat popular in his social circle for his soggy donuts), but Cohen doesn’t mince his words: “I’m against soaked cooking,” he says emphatically. “I love making my own treats, a brownie or a cookie or whatever, but when it comes to sitting down to enjoy a meal, I want to have the right dose for an hour.” before The meal begins. I don’t want to eat soaked food and only start to feel high at the end of the meal.”

And with legal cannabis spreading across the country and landing in New York in 2021, there are plenty of quality options to explore in the regulated food market, says Cohen. “I prefer Kiva or Mindy Segal support and have a product that’s dosed right every time,” he says. “I think drinks are really fun—it’s just a commitment to drink it all!”

With New York legalized, keep an eye out for this multi-hyphenate talent as he continues to explore the intersection of cannabis, cooking, and Jewish traditions.

Black and White Cookies by Chef Josh Cohen
Black and White Cookies by Chef Josh Cohen.

Black and white cookies

for cookies
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter (or Cannabis filled) at room temperature
½ cup packed (150 g) light brown sugar
½ cup (135 g) granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
2 cups (270 g) all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons kosher salt
Half a teaspoon of baking soda
2 cups of milk chocolate chips
3 ounces dark chocolate (70% cocoa), finely chopped

For white chocolate glaze
1 cup white chocolate chips
3 tablespoons of unrefined coconut oil
Half a cup of confectioners’ sugar
A pinch of kosher salt

For dark chocolate glaze
1 cup dark chocolate chips
3 tablespoons of unrefined coconut oil
cup plus 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar


for cookies

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugars on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. With the mixer running, add the eggs one at a time and mix until incorporated, stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the vanilla and mix until combined.

Add the flour, kosher salt, and baking soda and mix on low speed until a smooth dough forms. Add the milk and dark chocolate chips and mix on low speed until combined. Remove the bowl of the mixer, cover the dough and place it in the refrigerator for at least four hours, or preferably overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line two half-sheet pans with parchment paper and have a 5-inch wide pan or round cutter ready.

Roll out the cookie dough into cup-sized balls. Working in two batches, place six cookies on each of the prepared pans, spaced three inches apart. Bake for 14 to 16 minutes, until golden brown. Once each pan has been removed from the oven, place the bowl or round cutter over each biscuit and gently roll them into gentle circles to smooth the edges into a perfect round shape. Let cookies cool slightly on pans, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat the process with the remaining balls of cookie dough. Once all of the cookies are baked and cooled, divide them between two plates, with the bottom (flat side) of each cookie facing up.

For icing white and dark chocolate

Place a medium metal bowl over a small saucepan of simmering water. Put the white chocolate chips and coconut oil in the bowl and heat, stirring as needed, until melted and well incorporated. Do the same with the dark chocolate chips, in a separate bowl. Remove the bowls from the heat and whisk the sugar and kosher confectioners’ salt until smooth and shiny. Using a spatula or butter knife, spread the white chocolate coating on one half of the bottom (flat side) of each cookie to coat, and spread the dark chocolate coating on top of the other half.

Garnish with flaky sea salt, if desired. Refrigerate for 15 minutes to set the glaze, then serve.

This story was originally published in Issue 47 printed edition of hemp now.

Grow guide for marijuana beginners.
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