Welcome to Dope Kitchen, where the cook’s as high as the oven temps
Those who spend time having a nice scroll on social media have had Nicole DiMascio pop up on their phones. DiMascio is the content creator behind Dope Kitchen, a series where she gets baked and bakes (or cooks, or whatever).
The content started with weed in the kitchen and has since evolved to include her other interests like backpacking, hiking, and travel.
GreenState connected with DiMascio, learning more about where Dope Kitchen started and, most importantly, why she chose to consume cannabis on her platform.
“Cannabis helps me relieve stress and just have fun in the present moment, which makes cooking more fun, because even when my process is a bit messy and chaotic, I am having a great time,” DiMascio shared.
Getting cooking in the Dope Kitchen
Despite her 1.1 million TikTok followers and almost 300K on Instagram, DiMascio didn’t set out to be a content creator. The platform was a product of the pandemic. Anxiety and sadness were mounting as she watched horrific news and awaited the end of the “Safer At Home” order. She decided to turn to two of her favorite things: baking and cannabis.
@dope_kitchen This is the best thing I’ve made all month. Street corn and chipotle chicken burrito. MAKE IT RIGHT NOW. #dinner #recipe #foodontiktok #cooking #mealprep ♬ original sound – Dope Kitchen (Nicole)
“I knew I needed to find something to do to just make myself and my friends laugh to lighten the mood,” said DiMascio. “So, I took an edible, baked a ricotta pie – something that reminds me of home during a time when I was feeling homesick – and I filmed myself ‘baking while baked.’”
She posted that first video to her personal account, but friends urged her to post it to TikTok. Like most Millenials in 2020, she politely declined because that app seemed to be for teens. But after much persuasion, she did it.
DiMascio posted that first Dope Kitchen video and closed the app. A few hours later, tens of thousands of people had watched it. They also left comments asking for a “baked baking” series.
The baked baker listened, spending the next few months cooking up stoned content. She was slowly amassing followers on TikTok when a video went mega-viral in June 2020. That exposure launched her from 20K to 100K followers in just a week.
“That’s when I knew that Dope Kitchen could actually become something big if I just put the work into it,” DiMascio recalled. “So I continued to make content, finding my style along the way, and today I have amassed a community totaling over 2M people across TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube!”
Mining for authenticity
There is something comfortable about the softly delivered Dope Kitchen monologues. DiMascio will put together random ingredients in the kitchen while thinking out loud about her cooking content. Sometimes she shares random thoughts from the hiking trails.
Earlier today, she shared an engaging video of simply sitting in an Alaskan grocery store parking lot nostalgically making Lunchables pizza.
There’s no rigid theme happening on the page except that DiMascio is likable. But finding her beat didn’t always feel this natural.
“While my content feels so unapologetically and authentically ME right now, there were times throughout my journey with Dope Kitchen when I thought I needed to fit in with the other food content creators,” DiMascio explained. “My content was starting to look a little cookie-cutter-ish, I was trying to be innovative with recipes, I was forcing myself to fit into a box that I didn’t belong in and I didn’t even like my own content anymore.”
Luckily, she was able to quit her day job and put her full focus on growing Dope Kitchen.
“My content started to evolve back to what it should have always been – authentic, silly, unapologetic content that feels like you’re just sitting in your kitchen watching your stoned friend with ADHD try to put together a meal,” said DiMascio.
This is when things came full circle, and the creator started sharing self-described authentic, silly, unapologetic videos.
Rather than corner herself into being a food creator alongside Michelin-star sous chefs, she honed in on what her audience loved: to laugh with her. She’s not trying to be a food educator (although she does make some tasty-looking dishes), she’s here to entertain.
What the future holds
DiMascio’s approach to content creation is dynamic. She hasn’t allowed herself to settle into one category that might lead to stale concepts. This is intentional. She’s hoping to share a holistic view of what it means to be a cannabis consumer.
“Cannabis still carries a stigma in so many parts of the country and world. People will view ‘stoners’ as lazy and unproductive, but I share all aspects of my life to show that we are the opposite of that,” DiMascio said. “I am successful, smart, strong, adventurous, active, creative, and I find that I am a happier and more authentic version of myself when I integrate cannabis into my life as a form of relaxation, self-care, and connection.”
DiMascio is a voracious hiker and backpacker. She’s shared more of this side of her life in the last year. More recently, she hosted guided backpacking trips.
The social media star has loved hiking since a friend took her on her first backpacking trip in 2019 and wants to empower more women to get into the backcountry.
“I want to use my content and platform to encourage people to get outside and explore – so many people, especially women, are afraid to get into nature with no experience, so I try to share my own in order to encourage women to find the confidence to get out there, too,” she declared.
@dope_kitchen Do I even like backpacking? Is nature even that fun? Who am I? #backpacking #vlog #nature #hiking ♬ Chill Vibes – Tollan Kim
The evolution of Dope Kitchen is a reflection of DiMascio, and as the months pass she shares more about her personal life.
Definitely go check out the series where she gets with her mom, who is an absolute hoot.
Cooking while stoned is a favorite pastime of many, though not everyone comes out with something appetizing. DiMascio, though, crafts delicious dishes on the fly, letting her audience in on the whole process.
But she’s got one big tip when it comes to cooking high.
“I always like to say, CUT YOUR VEGGIES BEFORE YOU PARTAKE! Although I don’t always follow this rule (chopping garlic and parsley while high is so fun and relaxing), it’s a simple way to ensure you don’t accidentally cut off any fingers in the cooking process,” DiMascio concluded.
Dope Kitchen is a community who vibe with the frivolous fun expected from someone whose profile picture depicts them going whole hog on a whisk. When it comes to combining cannabis and food, Dope Kitchen has gotten to the heart of the matter.