Eight states have approved it for recreational use and another 21 for medicinal use. The cannabis business is estimated to grow to $22 billion in sales by 2020.*

Where it’s legal for recreational use:

  • Washington
  • Oregon
  • California
  • Nevada
  • Colorado
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • Washington D.C.

Within these states and the 21 where medicinal use is legal, “cannisseurs” are popping up offering exciting, innovative culinary creations that deliver a delicious flavours with a special something added in. Plus, many chefs are using it in fine dining as well.

Getting Started Cooking with Cannabis

Miguel Trinidad, executive chef and owner of Jeepney NYC and Maharlika, was inspired to experiment in marijuana and fine dining when he went to a dinner featuring edibles that were way too strong. He recommends testing to get dosages correct. “For anyone who wants to experiment with cannabis in food, I suggest that you understand how to properly dose. I’m sure anyone who’s had an edible has had a bad experience.”

The days of simply grinding up some weed and tossing it into the batter for “pot brownies” are way behind us. Even home cooks extract the THC from cannabis by infusing oils and butters with it. Consumers are looking for a heightened experience from both pot’s flavour and feeling. Chef Miguel says, “What we do is we want to entertain people in a fine dining environment with great conversation, great food, great wines and introduce cannabis as an ingredient. It’s an enhancer.”

Start by thinking about the building blocks of your favourite recipes and see how you can incorporate cannabis into those elements. These are some of the more commonly used bases that can be infused with cannabis.

Used as a spread or an ingredient, a good marijuana butter is a versatile tool to be used in all kinds of recipes. People have been making their own for years so there are tons of good resources out there. Here’s a good method for making cannabis-infused butter. Chef Miguel cautions, “If you cook cannabutter above 310 degrees, you’re going to lose the THC.”

Cooking Oil
From pasta dishes to cookies, a cannabis oil can certainly enhance a recipe. You can complement the earthy, sage-like flavour of marijuana by incorporating it into dishes where those tones mingle together nicely. Or you can try to mask the flavour by “hiding” it behind big, bold notes such as chocolate or spices. This cooking oil recipe gives you a versatile ingredient to start with.
Coconut Oil
The trend of diets that restrict dairy intake are on the rise. Coconut oil can take the place of butter in cooking applications. Plus, the unique flavour is a welcome addition to many recipes. There’s a natural sweetness in coconut oil that can offset the bitterness of marijuana. This ingredient could be a great foray into ethnic cuisines such as Thai and Indian that are already heavily spiced. The marijuana would impart a unique nuance to those flavours. It’s a little involved, but try this process for cannabis-infused coconut oil.

Making “cannaflour” is simply a matter of grinding marijuana as finely as you can and combining it with traditional flour. One application calls for dusting bacon with cannaflour before baking. It would also be amazing on top of breads, rolls or pretzels. Here are more tips for making your own.
Be careful. Even if cannabis is legal in your state, it may not be legal to serve to the public, but instead it could be served at a private catered dinner.
It might be a good idea to start with a single course or by using edibles as a shareable menu item.

Advice from Chef Miguel
There are different extractions, too. Chef Miguel advises playing around with different oils—you don’t want to just use cannabutter or canna olive oil. Think about using coconut oil, neutral oils or other types of fats. Consider taking bacon fat and infusing it with cannabis for a nice change. You can put bacon fat on about anything.

He also says to broaden your horizons when you start cooking with cannabis. Experiment with various sweets. It doesn’t have to be a brownie or rice krispy treat. You can make ice creams, chocolate mousses or cakes.


Chef Inspiration