“My passion to me is having the ability to improve the lives of other people by giving them confidence when it comes to cooking with cannabis…And how cannabis-infused edibles can help them achieve their health and wellness goals.”
After witnessing the pain, nausea and the inability to eat of how a friend’s mother was experiencing while being treated for cancer, Jeff decided to put his culinary knowledge into action and started exploring the possibilities of using cannabis-infused edibles to help ease the pain she was experiencing. What started out to be an initial attempt to help a friend’s mother soon became a turning point for him to start his career in cannabis cooking and improve the lives of others. Besides offering classes to teach people how to cook with cannabis, Jeff is also famous for writing “The 420 Gourmet” and inventing the process which neutralizes the herbaceous taste of cannabis in edibles and the pioneer of “layered micro-dosing”.
This week, let’s hear from Jeff, the only cannabis chef in the world that specializes in cooking and baking with specially crafted, strained specific cannabutter and canna-oil! With his passion for cooking and using food to help people feel better, Jeff is now educating cannabis enthusiasts on the proper dosage amount and preparation methods to create cannabis-infused dishes that do not taste like medication. Keep reading to learn more about Jeff’s story and how he is making waves in the culinary world today!
Hi Jeff, can you introduce yourself to our community and tell us more about the experiences that you offer through Verlocal?
Hi, I’m JeffThe420Chef, author of The 420 Gourmet: The Elevated Art of Cannabis Cuisine (Harper Wave, 2016) and host of the “Wake and Bake with JeffThe420Chef” podcast. I am the only cannabis chef in the world that specializes in cooking and baking with specially crafted, strained specific cannabutter and canna-oil that are “light tasting” and “tasteless”. These artisan butter and oil are created to achieve the health and wellness goals of those who choose to medicate with cannabis. As the cannabis chef who invented light tasting and tasteless cannabutter and cannaoil, as well as the THC/CBD Calculator, I cook and bake everything from gourmet 420 dinners and comfort foods to desserts and snack items.
As a culinary instructor, I teach a series of classes called “The Art of Cooking with Cannabis” in medical and recreational states. The goal of my classes is to take away the fear and mystery surrounding cannabis-infused edibles and to help people understand the nuances of the various strains of cannabis, the differences, and characteristics of THC & CBD (the non-psychoactive medicinal compound in cannabis), how to select the right strain for your needs, how to gauge and manage the potency of the butter and oil you make, how to “dose” and use them properly in the food items and meals you prepare and ultimately how to make and use “light tasting” artisan cannabutter and canna-oils.
When did you first started cooking?
I have loved cooking and baking since I was a kid. When I was six (and just learning to read), my favorite birthday present was a kids’ cookbook. I learned how to make all the basics, like cinnamon toast and English muffin pizza. And I also learned that the quickest way to make people feel good is to cook something delicious and share it with them. Like any precocious little boy, I got into my share of trouble. All I had to do to make things better was head to the kitchen and make something yummy to share, and all was forgotten. (excerpted from The 420 Gourmet, The Elevated Art of Cannabis Cuisine, HarperCollins, 2016)
Tell us about your background: When did you first become inspired to do what you love?
While I have always been interested in food and cooking, it wasn’t until 2012 that I began to incorporate cannabis into my recipes. At the time, a friend’s mother was being treated for cancer, and she had a medical marijuana prescription to help with her pain and nausea. She didn’t smoke but wanted to use cannabis to medicate for her pain and appetite.
I offered to prepare cannabis-infused edibles for her and they actually worked! Word quickly spread among her friends and fellow patients and I found myself cooking full meals of cannabis-infused foods.
What does your passion mean to you?
That I have the ability to improve the lives of other people by giving them the confidence when it comes to cooking with cannabis while simultaneously teaching them how cannabis-infused edibles can help them achieve their health and wellness goals.
What made you want to pursue your passion and become a host?
My passion for sharing what I know with others.
What was the first dish that you’ve ever made with cannabis?
The first dish I made with cannabis was brownies. And boy were they terrible! They tasted like cannabis and were very heavily dosed. I slept for 2 days! But that experience led me to figure out to neutralize the cannabis taste in edibles as well as develop a formula for dialing in the dosage and properly medicating my edibles.
How would you describe the link between your classes and the community around you?
The class is geared towards foodies in the cannabis community and makes cooking with cannabis approachable and fun. It’s the only cooking class in the world geared toward simplifying and demystifying the art and science of cannabis.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to learn more about your passion?
Take my class. ?
How do you advocate a responsible approach for people who are cooking with cannabis?
Cooking with cannabis is both art and science. The secret to enjoying and/or hosting a 420 meal and/or edible, is “low dosing” the THC. This is what I teach in my course in addition to how to neutralize the herbaceous taste in homemade edibles. For most people, 10 milligrams of THC will feel like enjoying two glasses of wine or two beers, but it all depends on individual tolerance levels. My general policy is that I won’t take anyone past 20 milligrams of THC. If you’re serving 420 meal, it’s a good practice to check in regularly with your guests to ensure that they are having an enjoyable experience and to modify what you serve each guest, if necessary.
How long have you been living in the city? What are some insider tips you’d like to recommend to someone who just moved to the city?
I grew up in LA then moved to NY and lived there for over 30 years. I moved back to LA two years ago. Insider tip: Get a medical recommendation for cannabis. Even though CA is now a “recreationally legal” state, the laws won’t go into effect until January 2018. Also, if you have a medical recommendation, you’ll save a lot of money when the recreational laws go into effect.
What is your favorite moment/story you’ve had between you and your customers?
When Oregon first legalized cannabis, I did a dinner party for 18 people to celebrate. We divided the guests into 2 groups and served 1 group a “Sativa” based meal and the other an “Indica” based meal. Sativa strains of cannabis impart an energetic, uplifting and focused high while Indica strains give you more of a relaxed, deep thought high. 2 hours into the dinner it was clear which table had what strain infused into their meal. The people at the Sativa table were enjoying an uproarious night of stories and laughter while the guests at the Indica table were enjoying a deep, philosophical conversation about…I don’t know what!
What is your favorite cannabis-infused dish?
Canna-Bullet Proof Coffee! Simple. Tastes great and keeps me going, focused and in a great place all day!
Do you have any interesting moments which happened during your classes?
I’ve had some pretty well-known chef’s and bakers show up at my classes.
What’s the greatest misconception people have about your passion?
The greatest misconception when it comes to cooking with cannabis is that it tastes bad and that there is a good chance you’ll have a bad experience. I’m here to teach you how to have a great experience and how to dose your edibles responsibly so you (and your guests) have an incredible, positive and memorable experience.
What are your goals for the future?
My goal for the future is to launch the Cannabis Cooking Channel. A one stop destination for any and everything related to cannabis-infused edibles.
What does Verlocal mean to you?
It means having the ability to do what I love and access to teach others how to do it too.
Any recommendations for someone who might want to start exploring a new passion?
Life is short. Do it! No excuses!
Share one quote that resonates with you the most and what it means for you?
“Be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be proud, but not arrogant; have humor but without folly”. -Jim Rohn. This is my daily guidance.
All photos by Jeff.
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