Cannabis is now legal for recreational use in Colorado, which not only changes things politically, but also makes us foodies wonder, “Can we cook with marijuana? Is it tasty? Could pot even be the new ‘kale?’”
One of the world’s most adventurous (and wackiest) classically-trained chefs, Laurent Quenioux, decided to experiment with marijuana in 2012. Quenioux played around and tested his menu for months before serving a multi-course cannabis-infused meal, sponsored by LA restaurant Starry Kitchen.
“We wanted to bring the taste of cannabis into gastronomy, without getting people high or stoned.” – Chef Laurent, Take Two interview
Chef Laurent’s creations are nothing like your older brother’s pot brownies. This menu looks like something that could have come out of a classic French restaurant in Europe or a trendy new LA fine dining hot-spot – not a basement. Here’s a video from the luxurious cannabis-themed meal:
What’s the best way to cook with cannabis? It’s not like an oregano or basil – you have to heat it up to extract a flavor. You could certainly use a cannabis-infused butter, which works particularly well for baking, but Chef Laurent also infuses weed with coconut oil for excellent sauteing and cannabis-based pestos.
According to Denver “baker” Julie Dooley, one of the owners of Julie and Kate Baked Goods in Denver, salt and cinnamon both really mask the taste of marijuana, but you might not want to mask the taste entirely:
“If it was legal, I would like to explore it even more as an ingredient in food. How can you take the THC away from it but keep that beautiful aroma, that is very close to a bergamont fruit or a lime? If the THC is out completely, I think cannabis could be such a fabulous ingredient for flavoring.” – Chef Laurent, Take Two interview
For those of us in Colorado (and soon in Washington), cannabis IS legal, so you can actually try Chef Laurent’s Green Congée Monkfish and judge the “beautiful aroma” for yourself (recipe reproduced below, from the Take Two blog):
Green Congée Monkfish, Chef Laurent Quenioux
This probably wont catch on as a main stream concept, but I can definitely see some creative Denver chefs approaching this new ingredient like Chef Laurent. At the very least, it seems like it would garner some great press. Chef Laurent says he turned away over 700 interested diners from his cannabis dinner – and that’s a whole lotta green.
Would you cook with cannabis? Would you eat one of Chef Laurent’s creations? Do you think it has a place in fine dining? Let me know in the comments!