At one point in cannabis culture history, mastering the art of baking the perfect weed brownie was considered a rite of passage, but those days are long gone.
Thanks to the development of medical marijuana programs and the decriminalization and legalization of recreational cannabis in multiple states, the THC-infused world of feeds has evolved far beyond brownies, cookies and admittedly impressive dispensary snacks and moved into the culinary space.
Cannabis cuisine had been gaining popularity among casual consumers and connoisseurs alike, but now it’s being welcomed into the mainstream as never before.
When Martha Stewart gets in on the action, you know it’s run mainstream.
Media and amusement have been pushing the narrative of marijuana normalcy into the homes of more conventional audiences with demonstrates like Vice’s “Bong Appetit” and VH1’s “Snoop and Martha’s Potluck Dinner Party.” Chefs around the country are espousing cannabis and elevating the lowly edible to the same sensory realm as high-end cuisine by curating pop-up dinners, supper club and private events where cannabis can shine.
Cat Cora, the first female “Iron Chef” and an advocate for cannabis who lately graced the cover-up of Cannabis Now Magazine, is speaking out about infusing foods with marijuana.
“I’m learning a lot about utilization, dosage, things like that, ” she told the magazine in April. “I’m a big proponent for olive oil. I’m Greek, plainly, but the Mediterranean diet as we know it is the healthiest diet on the planet. So[ I’m adding cannabis olive oil to] anything that I can infuse.”
For example, she said she’s set cannabis olive oil in vinaigrette for salads. “I have so many amazing ideas and a lot of things that I actually want to apply it to, ” she added. “I want to create products around cannabis with the right partner and the right situation.”
It’s gaining respect at the top culinary levels.
This shift from stoner snacks to foodies and fine dining sets the focus not only on the buzz the plant generates when devoured but on its flavor profile and pairing abilities, just like any other herb or even wine.
Andrea Drummer is the co-owner of a Los Angeles culinary cannabis events company, Elevation VIP Cooperative. As a classically trained chef, the Cordon Bleu graduate devotes cannabis the gourmet treatment in dishes that disclose her ingenuity and ingenuity. Take, for example, her cannabis-infused bread pudding souffle, which she brulees, or her Southern take on stuffed grape foliages attained instead with collard greens filled with cannabis-infused spicy dirty rice, which she served at a private Spotify dinner event.
Drummer’s skills have earned her a place on “Cooking on High, ” the first cannabis cooking competitor show that features chefs from around the country. The show debuted on Netflix this month.
While that’s exciting, Drummer said she sees even bigger things on the horizon.
“Bringing cannabis into the culinary dialogue is important because it allows people to open their intellects to something they may have been against because they haven’t understood its potential, ” she told. “With more people becoming trained about it, I believe cannabis cooking will evolve to the place where we will see things like restaurants and cafes at some point.”
But the law is maintaining cannabis out of restaurants.
For now, you won’t find restaurants that offer full-service cannabis dining even in nations like California or Colorado.
The reason is legality.
Because cannabis is still a Schedule I substance under federal statute, states that have legalized recreational marijuana are merely offering licenses and permits that allow chefs to serve cannabis-infused food in private defines.( Simply a reminder to know your local statutes .)
To allow people who don’t live in states where private events are hosted to get a savour of what’s going on, some cooks are passing on their kitchen secrets to home cooks.
One of them is Coreen Carroll, cook and co-founder of a cannabis-infused pop-up event in San Francisco called the Cannaisseur Series. Her upcoming cookbook, Edibles, is designed to accompany both newbies and virtuosos in what she calls the modern cannabis kitchen.
Others like Drummer, Laurie Wolf, Jessica Catalano and even Bob Marley’s daughter Cedella Marley are helping people at home learn to incorporate cannabis into their cook. Their instructional guides not only share recipes but explain the basics of cannabis strains and dosing to help cooks control the type of experience they create with their food.
Gadgets can make it easier to cook with cannabis at home.
Home cooks are also being brought into the fold with herbal infusion gadgets that take the disarray, legwork and need for constant supervising out of stimulating the perfectly infused product.
Companies have been introducing countertop devices that make the infusion process as easy as brewing coffee or tea and allow home cooks to flavor a dish with cannabis the same as oregano, rosemary or thyme. With appliances like the LEVOand the MagicalButter, cooks can infuse butter or oil with cannabis by just adding their ingredients and pressing a button.
Shanel Lindsay, the founder and chairperson of Ardent, has created a smart device that helps activate the THC in cannabis. The process — called decarboxylation — involves heating cannabis up to a certain temperature to release the THC and make it more available for the body to assimilate upon consumption.
A stove or toaster oven will also do this, but Lindsay argues her device provides greater precision and temperature control in order to preserve the flavor profile and effectivenes of the cannabis. With the device, cooks can decarboxylate their choice of flower, concentrate or kief in just a little over an hour.
“It’s genuinely a one-button solution to being able to stimulate just about any cannabis-infused product you want, ” Lindsay told. “The sky is the limit.”
What’s next for cannabis cuisine in the U.S.
So what can we look forward to? Amsterdam-style coffee shops with infused goodies on the menu? Cannabis restaurants open to the public? An instructional cooking prove on a major network? A culinary cannabis school on par with Le Cordon Bleu? Perhaps.
Until then, the future of cannabis cuisine rests on the shoulders of the chefs and home cooks whose ability and dedication is expected to continue to strip away the stigma that masks the herb’s versatility.
“I think it’s really important to offer people a new way of thinking about and approaching cannabis, ” Lindsay told. “The industry is very fast-moving and it’s important that mainstream culture reflects this shift in how people are viewing cannabis and all of its possibilities.”
Cannabis cuisine awaits the final cutting of the regulatory red tape before it can move into full bloom. But the seeds have definitely been planted.