Ever since Colorado legalized cannabis over two years ago, people have flocked to the state, eager to learn the art of cooking with cannabis. Colorado has handed out over 350 edible marijuana licenses for both medical and recreational use. Top chefs are going above and beyond your typical pot brownie. The wonderful herb is being used to compliment some pretty tasty and upscale dishes.
Bringing revolution to the kitchen
Jessica Catalano, chef and author of “The Ganja Kitchen Revolution”, is among the talented cooking masters incorporating cannabis into her dishes.
“From a chef’s point of view, cannabis should be placed in the same bracket as basil, sage or rosemary. It’s a fascinating herb with multiple flavour profiles”
Catalano hosts dinner parties that include cannabis-infused dishes. Like other cannabis chefs, Catalano is extremely careful when picking out different strains. The main groups of cannabis, sativa and indica, each brings their own specific taste and effects. Catalano’s husband Erik has his own opinion as to why these cannabis dishes are such a hit:
“You eat it because it’s delicious, then you get the munchies and you want to eat more. It’s a never-ending cycle: you can get seriously fat on this diet.”
Though cannabis is the perfect addition to any restaurant, Colorado state still prohibits the plant’s use in public. That doesn’t stop residents, though. By hosting “private events” in homes or closed restaurants, people are still able to enjoy a fine cannabis-infused meal. Catalano, who has personally cooked for Snoop Dogg, predicts that cannabis restaurants will be in action in about two to three years.
Wonderful and versatile
Melissa Parks, one of America’s top cannabis chefs, got into the art of cooking with cannabis when she moved to Colorado. She is best known for including cannabis in her cakes and other yummy desserts.
“Marijuana is a wonderfully versatile ingredient to cook with. You can put it into everything from icings to dressings. Every recipe that has a fat component to it, you can add cannabis-infused oil, butter or cream.”
For Parks, it’s about exploration and food development. She believes that’s how you improve your skills as a chef, cooking with cannabis challenges her in many ways. Part of that challenge is selecting the right strain. There are a lot of different strains out there, and there continue to be more as expert growers do what’s necessary to satisfy the culinary world.
“Different strains can have truly contradictory tastes: really bold and exciting flavors. They can be sweet, salty, and so much more.
As a chef, I take cannabis as seriously as any other ingredient. That means you have to know and work with your supplier. I have a fish guy, a meat guy, and a weed guy.”
Nick Brown is “the weed guy”, and a popular one at that. His company, High Country Healing, supplies quite a few Colorado chefs with cannabis.
“We’ve gone through 350 strains since we started, and now we’ve perfected it down to 50. Every strain is grown differently, from the pH levels of their water to the type of fertilizer we use, the temperature, lighting, fans, even the music we play to them.” – Brown
A chance to educate
Philip Wolf, a customer of Nick Brown’s, is an entrepreneur that is responsible for Cultivating Spirits. Cultivating Spirits provides cannabis tours and various educational events that are accompanied by award-winning chefs and cannabis experts.
“Cannabis should be treated like fine wine. It harmonizes so well with certain foods. Our pairing evenings aim to put cannabis consumption on a platform that middle America can understand. This is about education as much as enjoyment.” – Wolfe
As cannabis becomes legalized in more states, do you think more chefs will make cannabis-infused dishes? What’s your favorite dish? Let us know on social media or in the comments below.