If you’ve watched Food Network for any length of time you’ve seen food challenges involving one singular item that the chefs have to include in all their dishes. It’s quite entertaining to see how many ways a chef can use a spice like turmeric or protein like pork belly. Often times certain episodes can be so popular that the hero ingredient from the challenge inspires new dishes, menus and sometimes entire restaurants. With marijuana now being legal in many states it’s starting to become the new hot item in many kitchens. Most establishments that offer food or drink with marijuana do so via CBD. CBD (cannabidiol) is an alcohol compound from cannabis and provides health benefits minus the high that THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) delivers.
Chef Andrea Drummer, owner and founder of Elevation VIP Coop describers her company this way: “A unique medicinal marijuana dispensary specializing in premium innovative cuisine that enhances the quality of life for patients in the Los Angeles area.” Drummer has been catering private events with THC and CBD-infused dishes since 2012. In regards to the number of chefs now using marijuana in dishes Drummer said, “there are a lot of really great chefs getting into it and getting involved which helps bring a sense of normalcy to what we’re doing.” This seems to be a big part of the mission with the introduction of cannabis into the world of food; making it normal. In her interview with High Times Drummer continued, “My mission is to make cannabis cooking a broader conversation among a more diverse group of people and not just preaching to the choir.”
Assisting with this mission is a restaurant in Los Angeles called Spring. Chefs Tony Esnault and Yassmin Sarmadi, also husband and wife, have created a high-end experience that brings the south of France to heart of LA. With that experience comes their signature Spring CBD Power Lunch menu. It contains dishes such as their Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho and Sweet Corn Risotto both infused with CBD. The menu also gives a great description of the health benefits of the ingredients when paired with CBD.
In the San Diego area, Lego Optimo offers to pair cannabis with food in a different way. Instead of putting CBD in the food they offer smoke-outs in between courses. One of the founders of Lego Optimo, Carolyn Kate puts it this way: “When you are adding cannabis to food, you are distributing cannabis in another way. We are not a distributor, we are an entertainment company and we want to provide a different experience that included food and cannabis in a way that would be legal, safe and responsible.” They pair four strains of cannabis with four courses and their cannabis comes by way of Urbn Leaf, a dispensary near the University of San Diego.
Also there are several pop-up dinners appearing in the San Diego area that make cooking with cannabis an event. Marie Daniels runs Closed Door Supper Club. She brings out some of the best chefs in the area to put their spin on cooking with CBD. “It allows my chef friends the space to experiment with an ingredient that requires them to create menus through a dynamic lens, outside their normal routine of the restaurant” says Daniels.
Now before you start searching for these spots or pop-ups you have to remember a couple things. First off, most require you to be 21 and older and provide valid ID. Also, the cost is not cheap with many of the events or dinners costing $75-200 per person. Lastly, plan way in advance. Many of these events or restaurants have long lines, waiting list or sell out fast!
So if you’ve been curious about CBD being the next hot food ingredient, make those reservations and enjoy!