August 20, 2019

A Very Queer Shabbos

“On a recent Friday morning, Jake Cohen could be found chopping rainbow carrots, watermelon radishes, orange cauliflower, and a pile of other heirloom vegetables to serve as crudités alongside bowls of sweet potato hummus. A 16-quart (read: enormous) stock pot brimming with Persian bean and noodle stew called ash e reshteh rested in the fridge. Also prepped and chilling: many pounds of brisket, sweet noodle kugel, the elaborate makings of several cheese boards, and a sheet pan of his signature sumac and sea salt-spiked brownies.

If it seems like a shocking amount of food, it was—Cohen was hosting 80 people that evening for a queer Shabbat dinner sponsored by the nonprofit OneTable. But for Cohen, a food writer (he currently works as the editorial and test kitchen director at Instagram’s feedfeed) and self-proclaimed “nice Jewish boy,” epic meals are a daily part of life.

Cohen is a lifelong New Yorker (he was raised in Queens and currently lives in Manhattan) and, at 25, a member of the Food Network generation—kids who grew up with televised food personalities as their rock stars. “I would come home from school and binge watch Ina and Giada before starting my homework,” he said. In high school he honed his budding kitchen skills by throwing dinner parties for friends. And when it came time for college admissions, he applied to just one school: the Culinary Institute of America. Fortunately, it all worked out.

Since then, Cohen has racked up accolades in the culinary and editorial fields that rival those of people twice his age. He spent time working at Daniel Boulud’s Michelin-starred restaurant Daniel and at ABC Kitchen before realizing that “life in a restaurant kitchen was not the right fit.” So he transitioned to food media, building up a bustling freelance career as a writer and recipe developer while holding a series of editorial positions at Saveur, Tasting Table, Time Out New York, and, most recently, feedfeed.”

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