April 20th is the cannabis communities major annual holiday, a time to celebrate our culture in all its wildness and wisdom, its excitement and opportunity. This year, Evoxe is proud to announce that we have partnered up with the fine folks over at MARY MAG: The Mature Voice of Cannabis and The Herbal Chef for their Seasonal Dinner in Los Angeles. We’re looking forward to celebrating in LA all the progress our industry has made in the past year, and gearing up for the changes still to come. The event will be hosted at Mother LA one of Hollywood’s most elegant event spaces. We’re excited to be a part of this gathering of some of the finest brands and personalities in the business today including:
- Marley Natural
- Megan Stone’s High Road Design Studio
- Haikku Design
Mary has partnered with Chef Chris Sayegh AKA The Herbal Chef to showcase his infused culinary ability in a multi-course dinner experience for the guests and attendees, while Mary editor in chief Adrian Farquharson will sit down to film interviews with the guests and sponsors. It’s going to be an exciting evening that will showcase the more mature side of cannabis in its myriad forms. We defy stereotypes everyday at Evoxe, and as the march of legalization progresses it is experiences and gatherings such as these that will act as beacons for new patients to safely enter and enjoy the beauty (and deliciousness) of the cannabis plant.
We spoke with Chris in anticipation of the event and wanted to share some of our back and forth with you. You can watch Chris make his Fettucine Alfredo dish on YouTube here.
Chris, what drew you to combine cannabis and cuisine?
Well I never really smoked until I went to college. At UC Santa Cruz is where I developed a relationship with the plant and wanted to learn more about it if I were to ingest every day. I started to do more and more research on the topic and quickly found that we were mislead for a lot of political and financial reasons. I found out how Cannabis interacted with our Endocannabinoid System and the two receptors in our brain CB1 and CB2. I couldn’t believe that this information was relatively dead in our culture, so I started to write all my research papers on the subject. From that point I really just hated what edibles were available at the time. All I saw were rice crispies and brownies that were either way too potent, or there was nothing in them. I knew that we could do better than that, so I started to create savory dishes. What I found out by doing that was incredible. There is so much more to it than just putting budder in the pan and making something with it. It is a field that truly excited me and is something I take pride in being one of the first to pioneer this space in the capacity I am doing it. People deserved better.
As a Chef what is the most exciting aspect of working with cannabis? Do you have a preferred cannabis infused ingredient?
I love that I am part of creating a whole new dining experience through cannabis! It is really exciting and allows for so much creativity. Beyond that we have the chance to change the way business is done on a large scale. We have a choice to put morals, values, sustainability at the top of the priority list now to encourage a more wholesome method of business. We can literally create a brand new economy just off of the hemp plant alone. Hemp can be used as clothing, textiles, medicine, fuel and more! It also uses up to 50% less water than traditional crops that convert to the same thing. This is not just about smoking some weed, this is about our planet as a whole. We only have so many resources and we need to be conscious of that fact. As a community we have a chance to do something beautiful.
I also love to experiment and when I am recognized for being the first to discover something (such as the LEAFLY article) it makes the experimentation that much more fun. I don’t have a favorite infused ingredient yet, but I am on the look for some!
How do you handle dosages?
It really comes down to getting to know your clientele. I send out a questionnaire to my guests to fill out before the dinner so that I can individually dose everyone without guessing or making someone uncomfortable. I believe if we are to take this mainstream as an industry we have to take dosing seriously so that we, as an industry are taken seriously. For first timers I would dose out 10mg between a 10 course tasting menu (roughly 2 hours) which means they will feel the effects ever so slightly over the course of the dinner, rather than a traditional edible where it comes in all at once. Anybody can get the guests stoned out of their mind, this is more about the finesse, getting a guest just high enough to experience the beauty of the whole experience that was put on. I am literally changing my guests brain chemistry as they are eating, changing their whole perception of the meal as time passes. To me, that is beautiful.
How do strain and potency work together in your dishes?
The strain and potency have nothing to do with each other. The Strain is completely irrelevant 99.99% of the time considering that the growers do not actually know the true strain they are using. At The Herbal Chef, we go off of the terpene profile and the potency results so we can have some consistency. Certain terpene profiles correlate with an Indica or Sativa, but unless the extractor kept the full terpene profile, most of the time people are mislead into believing an extract is a sativa or indica which is not factual.
Talk to us about flavor profiles and how they influence your choice of dishes, strain pairings, and overall flow of your meals?
You will never taste the extraction in my dishes unless specifically stated. I do not think Cannabis extraction is a pleasant taste, and when you are using the best ingredients around, it is important to me to keep the integrity of the food at all times. So the cannabis doesn’t influence the dishes, only the seasons and the theme of the dinner. The dosage actually plays a large role in the flow of the dinner, how I dose people correlates to the speed of the courses coming in. As I stated in a previous question, the strain has no relevance in the pairings when it is broken down into its molecular form.
What mood do you like to create in the kitchen when you’re preparing a meal?
Complete focus. This is not about Cannabis solely. This is about a dining experience for my guests and they deserve the absolute best. To be the best, you must focus on your craft. So my kitchen tends to run very quietly and systematically. Everything should be clean, quick and beautiful.
Indica, Sativa, Hybrid, or CBD?
I prefer all of them at different times. When it’s time for me to be creative, I enjoy smoking a sativa. When I want to sleep, an indica. If I am lounging around and have nothing to do (which is never) I enjoy a hybrid. CBD is special, I use it as part of my daily diet as a health supplement.
The Evoxe Team wants to thank Chris for taking the time out of his schedule to answer these questions. We’ll be posting a recap of the dinner and you can follow us on social media in the meantime to keep abreast on all our exciting brand activities.