Photo Courtesy of Nikki Steward

Learn | 04.13.2022

How Chef Nikki Steward Went From Pharmaceutical Sciences To Culinary Cannabis

Some call her the "Cannabis Alchemist."

You might know her as Dave Chapelle’s personal chef, but Chef Nikki Steward is much more than that. 

An in-depth spotlight report from The Austin Chronicle highlighted the creative chef and spoke with her about how she ended up becoming the “Cannabis Alchemist” she is today.

Steward graduated with a degree in pharmaceutical sciences but felt what she was doing was “whack” and wanted something more invigorating, which is when she turned to food. 

After countless classes, gigs, and demanding 16-hour workdays as an executive chef, Steward found herself in a similar position, wanting to branch out even further, where she delved into culinary cannabis. 

The Austin Chronicle points out that Chef Nikki’s first gig for culinary cannabis was making dinner for Snoop Dogg’s media company, roughly 250 people. Steward put her degree to good use and implemented science and math into her cannabis endeavors.

Photo Courtesy of Nikki Steward

“It’s hard to oversee adults and keep them from overconsuming because they are adults, but I wanted to make sure I set the standard and tone for what these types of events look and feel like. So I tapped into my pharmaceutical bag and remembered [how to calculate it],” she told the outlet. 

Eventually, after expanding her positive reputation amongst guests and celebrities, Steward launched “The High-End Affair,” which comprises Chef Nikki and her team that travels the globe creating luxury infused creations for a multi-course meal. 

Interestingly, Chef Nikki’s event acknowledges individuals with different tolerance levels to cannabis. It offers a lightweight category and trained staff to keep an eye on individuals, ensuring safety remains a priority. 

Instead of using fat-soluble cannabis compounds (present in regular edibles), which take 30 minutes to one hour to kick in, Steward uses bio-available, water-soluble compounds that enter the bloodstream within minutes. Furthermore, if a guest feels too high, there’s an “Undo” product that “can counteract the psychoactive effects and bring you back down within 15-30 minutes,” notes The Austin Chronicle. 

Finally, Chef Nikki steers away from carrier oils like MCT or coconut oil. She also extracts the terpenes and places them in the dish when it’s complete. 

“You don’t want to get a huge terp taste – like the brownies you had in college, super dank – and I don’t want to eat an entire meal where all you taste is one-note, weed, weed, weed. There’s a lot of science that goes into what I’m doing. This is a different level of molecular gastronomy.”

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