Today we’d like to introduce you to Taylor Cohen.
Taylor, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
Adashah was created out of a couple passions of mine. One being the human’s ability to heal ourselves through nutrition, inspired by Hippocrates’ “Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food.” And the other stemming from my background in outdoor education, organic farming and food justice which grew my belief that no matter your location or socioeconomic background, everyone deserves access and education to clean healthy delicious eats. Adashah was created as my brainchild born in a tiny Brooklyn apartment covered wall to wall in pots of lentils.
While I was moving towards a more plant-based diet, I was noticing that all the vegan proteins out there were either full of gluten and soy (ingredients that are possible allergen triggers and hold other health-related controversial conversations), were highly genetically modified or lab-born, or were not versatile enough and left consumers with products highly resembling meat products (sausage, burgers, meatballs) and that’s not what I found consumers ultimately want.
While all the products on the shelf truly are delicious, and I still eat them in moderation, I wanted to create a product that was free of controversial or allergen triggering ingredients (soy, gluten, nuts), was versatile enough to cook it into any shape, form or dish of choice, and one where you read the ingredients and know exactly what is in your food, no questions or concerns.
Adashah is made of all organic, non-gmo, soy free and gluten free ingredients; lentils, turmeric, and flaxseed. Is mighty high in protein and fiber, and low or non-existent in things like carbs, fats sugars or sodium. As we grow, we aim to continue lowing our prices so we can reach the masses, and give back to the communities that inspired us to start our journey.
Adashah began as a non-profit booth at a vegan food festival in Brooklyn, NY with myself and my two siblings Stephanie and Brandon Cohen. Then called the “Pure Protein Project” I launched Adashah as part of a non-profit project to raise money for a soup kitchen I used to volunteer at in NYC. All proceeds were donated to this soup kitchen, and we decided we’d see what the feedback was from the fairgoers. If we did well, we would begin growing our business back in Miami where we were all born and raised.
So, after selling out early and getting the “where can we get more of this?” question over and over again, my brother Brandon and I joined forces and have been growing throughout South Florida ever since. From salads to wraps, fillets or sushi rolls, sauces and creams to patties and scrambles, Adashah can be found in restaurants, hotels (Soho Beach House) and Hospitals (8 Baptist Hospital locations) throughout South Florida, and now available in delicious Tacos at TocaMadera in Los Angeles, CA.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I started Adashah at 23 years old. Before then I was working for non-profits focusing on food justice, outdoor education, social justice, so as you could imagine… I did not have too much money to start out with. I simply made Adashah because I wanted to find another way to eat lentils and chickpeas, my two main sources of protein while living on a stipend budget!
So, Adashah really started out of one purchase of lentils. We started very small, and we continue to grow through careful, sustainable steps. Yes, we’ve now grown from buying out all the lentils on the shelves at Whole Foods to sourcing our ingredients from USA located small distributors, where we get to grow together and know care and quality are ensured in our ingredients.
With that being said, this road, while definitely enjoyable and exciting, has its bumps and hurdles! Growing a business from nothing is extremely challenging. Selling a product that I created from nothing, without any courses to compare to, is a huge challenge as well. It took us a while to find the sweet spot where we were comfortable with our product, and as we scale up in production to meet the demand of our amazing customers, we are constantly tweaking for perfection as well.
We are a small but growing company and are very careful to not grow faster than we can maintain, so the struggles come regularly, and we do our very best to be the very best we know we can be, and we are so beyond grateful for the companies we work with that truly believe in the importance of local business, of growing from nothing, of being pioneers in the plant-based community, and of being there to raise us up when the struggle is real!
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Adashah – what should we know?
We specialize in a product called Adashah. Adashah comes from the Hebrew word Adashim and the Arabic word Adas, both meaning lentil. Adashah is a lentil based vegan protein product that is free of soy, gluten, nuts, and preservatives and made with only 100% organic and non-GMO ingredients.
We explain Adashah as a substitute to tofu, as it comes in block form and can be seasoned and cooked in a huge variety of ways. However, unlike tofu’s wet nature and spongy texture, Adashah is more dense with more of a chew to it, and we find our customers loving this new product with a texture they have yet to experience in vegan proteins.
What we are most proud of is that we get to offer something that really serves a purpose, really feeds a desire and demand from the masses. People are tired of dirty food, of confusing labels, of zero transparency in what they are eating. We are so proud to be able to say “Hey, we get it! We’re not some big business doing this to make bank, we simply want to eat clean, delicious, honest plant-based food as well, and we want to make them available to everyone!”
Everyone deserves this, everyone deserves to feel good and eat well, and we are so lucky to be the ones to offer that with something that has never existed before.
Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
We couldn’t be here without the immense help of our mentors. My business partner and brother Brandon Cohen, whom without I would never have been able to make this dream into a reality.
Leslie Kaplan, Co-founder of The Piping Gourmet’s, who both holds our hands and mentors us, gets covered in lentils in the kitchen, travels with us, connects us, supports us. She does it all!
Jeff LaTulippe and Jermaine McDaniel from Dirt Restaurant, the second restaurant group to take us in and continue to grow with us daily and support us through all the hurdles.
And constantly highlights Adashah’s versatility through their seasonal menus, serving Adashah in every way from cubed in a Poke, filleted on a platter, or crumbled in a vegan bolognese sauce.
Omer Horev, the visionary behind the delicious and gorgeous Pura Vida Cafe’s, who is always looking for new ways to incorporate Adashah on their menus, and serving us in the most vibrant, fresh and clean platters we’ve ever seen!
Chef Aline Farao from Farmer’s Table Boca, who supported us in branching up the map from Miami Beach to Boca Raton. Has been there for on-screen cooking show cameos, to just sitting down and giving support, advice, and guidance.
Chef Stand Hodes and Natalie Castro from Baptist Health, it is an absolute honor to be working with a hospital system that believes in local business, that believes in serving food that actually heals and benefits their patients! For supporting us in now serving 8 Baptist hospital locations, being able to get clean, healthy vegan protein into the hands of some who need it most!
Della Hyman, Ken Lyon, Julie Frans and Allison Silverstein from The Wynwood Yard and Della Bowls who put us on the Della Bowls menu from day one, mentored us and supported our growth to where we are today.
There are way too many to name. But we are truly beyond grateful to each and every location we work with. From the bottom of our hearts, we thank each of you (you know who you are) for supporting us daily, and for loving our product enough to create beautiful dishes with it daily!
- Website: adashah.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org