Chef Jessica Isaacs is the owner of Cocoa Bakery Cafe at both locations in Jersey City and is directly involved in all aspects of its creative, culinary and business operations. Jessica served as executive pastry chef at the internationally lauded Nobu and Nextdoor Nobu restaurants for more than a dozen years, as well as executive pastry chef at Sushi Samba 7 after an apprenticeship at the Three-Michelin-starred Le Calandre in Italy. She studied her culinary craft at the Art Institute of New York and the Italian Culinary Institute in Italy. Jessica’s recipes have been featured in a variety of magazines and cookbooks.
Jessica has enjoyed sweets from a young age; the owner of her local candy shop knew her by name because she stopped in every day to buy a treat after elementary school. By high school she had started making chocolate lollipops from molds for her friends and family. Jessica realized that becoming a pastry chef would allow her to creatively express herself while enriching the lives of others. She enrolled in culinary school, underwent an extensive international internship and became the executive pastry chef at Nobu.
During her many years at this position she became highly respected for her work ethic, skill and artistry. However, Jessica began to cultivate the dream of opening her own bakery where she could produce a variety of desserts that would look as good as they tasted, using her original recipes and the highest quality ingredients. She had been living in Jersey City for several years and felt that her products could fill a need for the community there. Jessica was set to open Cocoa Bakery on Grand Street in 2012 when Hurricane Sandy hit. The store suffered extensive damage and lost equipment, so customers had to wait for over a year.
Since their Grand Street opening in 2013, Cocoa has been a popular spot for cookies, pastries, coffee and made to order cakes for all occasions. Residents and visitors, as well as Jersey City eateries have been loyal customers. The second location, on Central Avenue, opened on June, 2019 and has the same selection of delicious and beautiful baked goods and provides a more spacious seating area. A larger kitchen allows staff to provide an even greater variety of desserts, custom cakes and cupcakes.