The legalization of cannabis in Canada has foodies anticipating the day they’ll be able to walk into a restaurant and request the pot menu, call over the weed-and-wine sommelier and enjoy a euphoric meal of THC-boosted dishes crafted by a seasoned chef to maximize the pleasures of mind, body and palate.
But that won’t happen anytime soon. In Canada, edible forms of cannabis—gummies, butters, cookies, and candies—are not due for licensed distribution until later this year, making them technically illegal. And there’s still no indication that licensed “weed restaurants” will get the federal green light at the same time.
Meantime, edibles are the most popular sellers at illegal cannabis dispensaries, and shows such as Netflix’s Cooking on High are wildly popular. Self-proclaimed Herbal Chef (he’s trademarked the title) Chris Sayegh, who’s based in L.A., announced last year that he’d open a bricks-and-mortar weed restaurant in the U.S., but that hasn’t happened yet. He’s putting his efforts into THC- and CBD- infused edibles and frozen dinners along with catered private events (THC gets a person high. while CBD has a calming, pain-killing effect). James Beard Award-winning pastry chef Mindy Segal has created the Mindy’s Kitchen line of gourmet gummies, hard candies and fruit chews sold at Illinois dispensaries. She developed her recipes at Cresco Labs in Illinois with its resident chef Matt Rowbotham—“Weedy Wonka”— who has cooked at Michelin-starred chef Grant Achatz’s Next and The Aviary.
A Canadian company called ReTreat Edibles sells cookie and brownie mixes to which customers add THC or CBD oils, and Toronto’s The Green Chef offers private dinner events in guests’ homes, serving dishes prepared with clients’ own weed products. Earlier this year, Travis Petersen, a.k.a. The Nomad Cook and a contender on season three of MasterChef ran a series of THC-infused dinners in Vancouver, Calgary, and Edmonton. Such pop-ups may help pave the way for weed restaurants, or at least get people used to the idea. But so far the federal government has not indicated any appetite for such a move. — DICK SNYDER
Photo: Mindy’s Edibles