A Faded Foodie Feature: Weed and Waffles a Conversation with Waffleye Co-founder Alex Owczarski
We were super excited to chat with Alex, one of the co-founders from Waffleye, and all things dank, delicious, and decadent! Waffleye was created during a unique storm of “shit and opportunity.” After being diagnosed with cancer for the third time in his life, Billy Owczarski (have fun with that name) dreamt of combining cannabis and food, but not in the typical pot-brownie type of way. Instead of making cannabis-inspired food in a boring square pan, Billy saw an opportunity to bring creativity into cooking by offering an appliance that supplies a fun way to showcase your favorite munchie foods. Being stuck at home and unable to work while getting chemotherapy, he followed his ADD-aided pipe dream to create Waffleye. His inspiration doesn’t run deep. Instead, it was a random thought that came to mind while watching his cat, George, lick his balls. That sight prompted the thought, “Nothing sounds good to eat, maybe I should get high.”
Not only did adding cannabis to meals help with side effects during chemotherapy, but creating a cannabis-inspired waffle maker also acted as a source of humor and a way to deal with a difficult situation. In fact, a good portion of the work that was done to see this product to fruition was accomplished in the hospital during a three-week stay for a bone marrow transplant. This difficult time was used as a catalyst to create something positive out of what would typically be seen as a shitty situation. And thus their slogan was born:
Alex, Waffleye co-founder and Billy’s wife, found a passion for food at a young age, “I have been cooking since I was a young teenager. I remember making weird combinations of food and making my little brother try them out.” She developed her cooking style from her grandmother who hardly used precise measurements. “She always adds a little bit more of this or that – a recipe is just a suggestion. I love to do this as well and find that creativity while cooking is so much fun.”
The fun and exciting food combos and diverse and delicious recipes are part of what initially made us fall in love with Waffleye. They always have us hungry for traditional and non-traditional waffle iron masterpieces. One of Alex's all-time favorite recipes is the stoney sourdough waffle. “The sourdough adds so much complexity to the flavor, and you can still keep the toppings simple. We love adding real maple syrup and butter, lots and lots of butter. Kitchen Toke Magazine did a really great version of the recipe here.”
Alex gets a little additional help masterminding recipes through collaborations and in-house experimentation. The team is psyched to share some exciting new recipes created by their former social media manager/recipe developer @baconprincess!
Simplicity is the name of the game when it comes to recipes and whipping up an ideal waffle. “Some of the most popular things to make in the waffle maker are actually the most simple. Cinnamon roll waffles are always a hit, as well as waffled quesadillas and pizzas.” You can check out all of these amazing recipes on the Instagram page.
If it is your first time using a waffle iron Alex recommends sticking with the basics, “Just follow a basic recipe, even one off of a box. You can’t go wrong. Always make sure to let your waffle maker heat up before adding your batter, and let it cook until the steam subsides a bit. Don’t get impatient and check it too early or you might ruin it.”
While Alex and Billy don’t typically do too many infusions themselves, they recommend pairing the waffles with pre-infused products for a simple, stoney treat.“ We found that using products that are infused already — maple syrup, butter, or honey — is the easiest and best way to have a little extra fun while eating waffles.” Yum!!!
When it comes to personal canna-projects, Billy and Alex are more centered on growing and connecting with the community. “Billy has always done small, backyard grows and for him, it is more about the process of growing that is fun. Seeing something start from a little seed turn into a huge plant that can be harvested is something special. Not to mention, the reward of having flower on hand that you grew yourself. Even though we feel like we are on the periphery, the industry brings a sense of comradery. “
The community has embraced Waffleye in so many ways and they are in full steam growth mode! One of the amazing milestone moments was receiving a rave review from Tommy Chong in 2019. “So cool! He was so down to earth and exactly what you’d expect him to be like in person. We were pretty giddy and so stoked for the opportunity.”
When it comes to what’s next, Waffleye is all about opportunity, growth, and keeping an eye out for amazing additions to the team. “As of now, it is just us, and a shipping partner running the business, all while running another business and staying home with our toddler. It is a lot. We would love to manifest an employee or two that is able to execute things that we don’t have time for in order to reach the full potential of what Waffleye should be.”
Part of what we love about the brand is that they are about giving back in such an important way that is close to the team's heart. When you buy a Waffleye Waffle Maker, you are not only making waffles, you are also making a difference. Waffleye is proud to donate a portion of each sale to City of Hope Cancer Treatment and Research Center, the hospital where Billy received treatment and beat cancer. We are so inspired by this team and how they turned a heavy situation into something beautiful. Alex said that the project has shown her that you can create something from nothing, as long as you are determined to do so, which is a truly inspiring lesson.
We are super excited to pair up with Waffleye on an Instagram giveaway for a new Waffleye Waffle Maker and merch! Learn more and enter on our IG page @SoStonedCo. You can also get 20% off when purchasing from their site using promo code SOSTONED!
We were honored to get a chance to talk with Alex and learn more about the delicious, dank, and delightful work being done at Waffleye! To learn more about the brand check them out at https://waffleye.com/and follow them on Instagram at waffleye_.