While promoting his first cookbook, the New York Times bestselling Jew-ish, Jake Cohen found himself frustrated with the questions he kept being asked. The first was “What’s next?” As he saw it, he was there to talk about and celebrate his first cookbook, so why were people already eyeing his next move? The second was when he would break out from cooking “just Jewish food.”
So when it came time to write the preface to his follow-up collection of recipes (that is what came next, thank you very much!), Jake used it as an opportunity to explain his frustrations with those commonly asked questions and channel that energy into the book. He writes that “society has a blind spot for Jewish food in which it’s acceptable to devalue our rich and diverse culture.” Through his growing platform online and his bestselling books, the popular chef aims to correct that tendency.
For the latest episode of In The Know’s interview series We Should Talk, Jake opened up about his second cookbook, I Could Nosh: Classic Jew-ish Recipes Revamped for Every Day, how being in the kitchen recharges his creativity, how celebrating his Jewish heritage through food on a public platform has changed him for the better, how he reacted to Britney Spears posting one of his viral videos on her Instagram and more.
“It was the first time that I felt like I was adding to the conversation,” Jake told In The Know about leaning into his Jewish heritage in his recipes. “So much in this world is kind of just white noise of people doing things, because they think it’s content that will be enjoyed or art that’s going to be marketable, when really it’s just — there’s a yiddish word drek for garbage — it’s more and more garbage. And it wasn’t until I started focusing on Jewish food and so much of the hospitality and recipes that are rooted in stories and family and the interconnection of how we use food as the medium for hospitality that everything just kind of made a little more sense. It vibed a little bit better, and people started to see themselves a little deeper in my work. It became clear that that’s just authentically the story I need to tell.”
Watch In The Know’s full interview with Jake Cohen below, and order his bestselling new cookbook, I Could Nosh, here:
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