Top Chefs Begin Cooking With Cannabis

By McCarton Ackerman 01/02/15

With many states opting to legalize, marijuana may soon replace kale as the trendiest green in the cooking industry.


Now that recreational marijuana use is becoming legal in several states throughout the country, edible marijuana licenses are also growing and some of the most respected chefs in the U.S. are figuring out ways to infuse pot into their cooking.

Colorado has more than 160 edible marijuana licenses and several skilled line cooks are now leaving their restaurant gigs to infuse marijuana into food and beverages. A cannabis bakery is soon set to open in Seattle and major New York City publishing houses are looking at publishing marijuana cookbooks.

 “I am sure someone is going to grow some that is actually delicious and we’ll all learn about it,” said Ruth Reichl, the former editor of Gourmet magazine and a former New York Times restaurant critic. “Who could have predicted that kale would be the trendiest green on the plate, or that people would line up for pear and blue cheese ice cream?

 The Stoner’s Cookbook is a website, which draws more than five million page views each month, while publishing company Inkshares will release a book this fall titled, "Herb: Mastering the Art of Cooking with Cannabis." Cooking with pot requires the ability to draw out cannabinoids, like THC, in order to provide a far more delicate high. Or, as cookbook author Michael Ruhlman puts it, the edible marijuana industry will only work “when you can give [pot-laced food] to someone and not make them a complete idiot.”

Those who sell edibles encourage first-timers or relative pot novices to start with 10 milligrams or less, but there’s no clear way to regulate this. Doses are easier to control in batter-based dishes, but if a tablespoon of butter has 10 milligrams of THC, a user could disregard this and douse their meal in the liquid.

There’s also the issue of many pot users simply not liking the taste of pot in their food. Chicago chef Grant Achatz declared that “from my very limited experience with edibles, the flavor is pretty awful.” However, Reichl argues that a dose of cannabis could even become a substitute for alcohol at meals for those who simply can’t have dinner without a buzz.

 “A lot of people could argue that a lot of alcohol doesn’t taste good, either,” said Ms. Reichl. “So maybe you won’t need to drink wine with your dinner. It could be very bad for the wine industry.”

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.