Huff & Puff

Haejin Chun, the chef behind the cannabis-friendly Big Bad Wolf dinners, follows her heart to radical places in this world gone crazy, normalizing cannabis and building authentic community. Originally from Southern California, Chun studied installation and community art at the California College of the Arts in San Francisco before pursuing a dream of living as an artist in Paris. With romanticized ideas of drawing something on a napkin and paying for her coffees, Chun spent two years in artist residencies while living in a beautiful rooftop terraced-apartment in the heart of the city of love. The seed was planted for her private chef business in Paris, which takes its food scene more seriously than many other places. She had hosted private non-cannabis-friendly dinners for about two years when California legalized cannabis for adult use in 2018. She says the next step of starting Big Bad Wolf was a “no-brainer” that would be harder to resist than allow it to unfold.

“I love hosting,” Chun says over a phone call after a busy weekend of events at the 2022 Emerald Cup Harvest Ball. “I think the food is always secondary to me. It’s really about the guest experience for me and to kind of keep up with that love of wanting to gather people together, wanting to make these connections. There’s nothing else that brings people together and makes people kind of check their ego at the door than somebody who puts their full heart into the food.”

Courtesy Big Bad Wolf

Women at the Table

While Chun has hosted many cannabis pop-ups and private dinners at this point, her first cannabis gathering held just for women remains a special memory.

“It’s just a totally different vibe when you have a table full of badass women,” she says. “Something about the women’s dinners are calling me more.”

At the first women’s dinner she hosted, everything on the menu was centered on optimal ingredients for vaginal health, beginning with a communal elixir.

“We do a lot of herbal concoctions in ancient culture and traditional Chinese medicine, so I blended a lot of herbs like ginseng and ginger with pineapple and other things that are good for your vagina and made that into a communal shot,” Chun says of the drink that included cannabis-infused honey. “I bought these gorgeous vessels and it became ceremonial.”

She describes women pouring shots for each other, creating a collective energy that, once combined with a healer who led a guided meditation, resulted in some dinner guests letting themselves be seen entirely raw and exposed by weeping into their dinner napkins.

big bad wolf
Photo by Grace Sager

“There have been women and other people in the community that have come up to me and been like, ‘Your events are the only place I truly feel safe just to be me,’” Chun says. “That was the highest compliment I could receive doing what I do… I feel like, on an ancestral level, cannabis has been such a huge part of our lineage. It’s been used for death rituals and communal gatherings… I feel like there is this ceremonial, ritual element to cannabis that I really feel is a huge part of what I want to advocate for.”

At another dinner Chun, who is a first-generation Korean American, says that she curated a menu “that shaped the woman that I am.” One of the dishes was entitled “caretaker” and examined “how women are expected to step into this role of being caretaker.”

“We don’t always get to celebrate our own rights of passage because we have to step into this role for whether it’s our parents or our family or whoever it is and it’s kind of like expected of us,” she says. “There’s a specific dish and it’s basically jook, which is like a rice porridge that we make whenever somebody is sick and obviously, I did it in an elevated way.”

Photo by Grace Sager

The dish found its cannabis element in a homemade chili oil infusion. Chun treats the cannabis ingredient the same way she treats the other aspects of the meal, looking for seasonal, fresh, sustainable ingredients and often working with cold-pressed rosin in her infused dishes.

“I don’t really want to go to an infused ingredient that’s been sitting on the shelves for whatever amount of time,” Chun says. “Even with olive oil, there’s a rancid period and it changes the flavor, so I like to make fresh batches of everything before every dinner.”

And it’s not just the same chili oils every time. Each blend she creates is suited to complement particular dishes.

“You could have a chili oil with 20 different types of spices or types of ingredients, you know, there’s just a full spectrum and I feel like not every chili oil will work with every dish, so, for me, being intentional with what chili oil I use is really important too.”

big bad wolf
Photo by Grace Sager

Leading the Pack

Chun’s a self-trained chef who challenged herself to up her game while hosting dinners in Paris. She’s lived the “Cali lifestyle” since her teenage years when she started smoking weed, but says it was always something that she had to hide from her family.

“As soon as [California] legalized I was like, ‘Let’s fucking go,’” she says. “It was a no-brainer. I felt like it would have been harder to resist than it would have to just let it unfold the way that it did.”

But even though Chun was ready to host infused meals and dinners with cannabis flower pairings, the world around her was not and she initially struggled to find private spaces open to cannabis consumption.

“When I first started, it was definitely difficult to find cannabis-friendly venues,” she says. “The owners or the people who managed the property smoked weed and they were still like, ‘I don’t know what the neighbors will say.’ And I would literally sit them down and be like, ‘So you smoke and you’re all about this, but you’re still perpetuating this like, I don’t actually fuck with you narrative?’ And I was like, ‘Don’t you think it’s important, especially because we’re at the forefront of legalization, to advocate for more spaces for us?’”

big bad wolf
Photo by Grace Sager

She also reflects a drive to walk into the wild unknown with the name of her company. The phrase Big Bad Wolf has been something that has stuck with her since her childhood when her grandma would tell her folklore stories about a wolf. In naming her business, she was also thinking about how people “wolf down” food and how wolves travel in communal packs.

“The leader always leads from the back to make sure that everybody gets there,” she says. “I feel like that was truly the heart of the messaging behind what we do and making sure everybody gets a seat at the table. In a way, you know, it just all made sense.”

True to form, Chun followed her instincts and turned down a spot on the Food Network’s competitive reality cooking show Chopped 420, only to have the producers call her back later offering an opportunity to work behind the scenes as a cannabis consultant.

“It was such a proud moment for me to have that affirmation of like, ‘Yo! You stayed true to who you were and you never shied away from it. You weren’t apologetic. And now you’re being rewarded and recognized for it,” she says.

In terms of what’s next, Chun is hosting private cannabis dinners and planning more cannabis pop-ups. The best way to get brought into her tight-knit wolf pack is to follow her on Instagram @bigbadwolfsf.

Courtesy Big Bad Wolf

Recipe: Chili Oil

by Haejin Chun


1 Tbsp ginger

1 Tbsp garlic

1 Tbsp dried chili flakes

1 Tbsp Sichuan chilis

1/8 tsp cardamom

1/4 tsp of anise

1/4 tsp coriander

1/4 tsp of white pepper

Pinch of salt

1/4 cup of avocado oil

1/4 cup of cannabis-infused sesame oil

Note: I infused the sesame oil with 1 gram of decarbed 8th Wonder (Cherry Kush x Louis XIII OG) by Permanent Holiday.


Mince ginger and garlic.

Grind all spices to powder. 

Add everything to a heat proof/tempered glass jar.

Heat up avocado oil to 230 degrees Fahrenheit and pour over dry ingredients.

Make sure to leave extra room for bubbling and add cannabis-infused sesame oil slowly.

This article was originally published in the March 2023 issue of High Times Magazine.

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D.I.Y. Edibles Essentials

Christina Wong is a culinary cannabis educator, recipe creator, and self-described “baked baker” whose expertise making her own edibles has garnered widespread attention throughout the industry. From beautifully decorated shortbread desserts, elaborate cakes, and a wide variety of other delicious creations, Wong frequently celebrates the intersection between culinary art and cannabis.

Through her creative media company Fruit + Flower Co., Wong teaches others how to properly understand the process of making their own edibles by demystifying the terminology, reviewing the methods of infusion, discussing correct dosing, and providing numerous recipes to put all the learning into practice. High Times took a moment to chat with Wong about tips for beginners, which infusion methods are best, and what’s trending in the edibles scene.

The Art of the Home Edible

To Wong, food and cannabis are a perfect combination.

“If you like cannabis, you love food, because the best thing in the whole world is to get high and eat,” she says.

Despite this, many people miss out on the enjoyment of homemade edibles because cooking with cannabis can be intimidating.

“When I first started looking [for information], there was this mystique and mystery to making edibles,” Wong says. “For me, there was definitely a fear of messing up or making it too potent, getting too high, or giving something to somebody that gets them too high. I want to challenge people to rethink that we can make cannabutter and edibles at very low doses, it doesn’t have to be all super high dose.”

Buying edibles at the dispensary is convenient, but it can be cost prohibitive, she says. 

“I think that cannabis is such an important plant medicine that the more people know how to cook and bake at home so that they can give themselves and their loved ones medicine, the better.”

Photo by Cherrnor Malekani @visualsbychern

Understanding Infusion

Wong shares that one of the most primary essentials to creating edibles is understanding proper dosing. Instead of decarbing flower and infusing a fat like cannabutter she recommends beginners try adding an oil-based tincture in which the THC dosing is already measured. Once confidence is established, home cooks can start to learn how to decarboxylate their flowers or trim. All of the recipes Wong posts online use whole flower infused with either cannabis-infused butter or oil, and include directions to dose at 5 mg per serving or less.

For first timers, Wong recommends going for an easy decarboxylation method: Mason jars in an oven.

“Everyone has a Mason jar, everyone has an oven, and it’s foolproof,” she explains. “It’s smell proof. There’s less smell. And even if it’s not the most efficient way of getting all of the cannabinoids to convert and to infuse, at least that’s the place to start. And then they can get their confidence, and then try something new.”

Wong explains in more detail on Fruit + Flower Co. that her usual process to decarb cannabis includes placing cannabis flower in a pint-sized Mason jar and sealing the jar with a lid. After setting the oven to 240 degrees Fahrenheit, she heats the cannabis an hour, shaking the jar every 20 minutes. After it is left to cool, the decarbed cannabis can be infused to a fat such as butter or oil.

Courtesy Fruit + Flower Co.

Expanding Expertise

While Wong has made it her goal to educate and inspire others to learn how to make their own edibles, it is but one facet of her expertise. In the past, Wong worked with brands and organizations to create unique desserts, such as Source Cannabis and Stündenglass. Most recently, she helped host the AAPI (Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders) 3rd Annual Mogu Magu party (Mogu meaning mushroom in Chinese, and Magu is the name of a Chinese hemp goddess) held in September to celebrate the mid-autumn festival.

Although she recommends using whole flower for beginners, Wong sometimes branches out to use a variety of other types of cannabis ingredients in her more elaborate creations.

“I’ve been experimenting more cooking with concentrates just because I love the pure flavor of that,” she says. “You can get so much flavor and terpene profile and high potency using concentrates.”

Making edibles at home offers unlimited potential, but edibles sold in dispensaries are usually more limited. But recently Wong has noticed an increase in edibles infused with solventless concentrates as well as savory edible offerings.

“I’m seeing more solventless edibles coming out onto the market because I think people are caring more about the quality of not just the ingredients of what goes into their edibles, but also the quality of the cannabis that goes in,” Wong says. “But I think if you are a plant enthusiast, and you want to appreciate all flavors, and everything the plant has to offer, solventless is absolutely the way to go.”

Courtesy Fruit + Flower Co.

Recipe: Brown Butter Vanilla Bean Shortbread Bars

by Christina Wong

Soft and crumbly, these luscious browned butter and vanilla shortbread bars are glazed with a creamy vanilla bean icing. Infused with 10 mg of cannabis each, strains such as Wedding Cake and Biscotti with doughy, creamy aromas, would pair well with the nutty, vanilla notes of this edible. 

The showstopper decor is my signature “botanical bandit” style, made with pressed cannabis leaves and organic edible flowers. Inspired by my friend The Velvet Bandit, who spreads positive art through wheatpasting.

Time to Prepare: 55-60 minutes

Makes 20 approximately 3” x 1.5” bars dosed at ~10 mg each


3 cups all-purpose flour

⅓ cup cornstarch

1 ½ cups cannabutter (200 mg THC total), softened*

1 ¼ cup powdered sugar

1 tablespoon choice of milk (whole, oat, hemp, almond)

1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or 1 vanilla bean pod, scraped

½ teaspoon salt

Vanilla Glaze:

1 cup powdered sugar

¼ teaspoon vanilla bean paste or 1 vanilla bean pod, scraped

¼ cup choice of milk 


Small cannabis fan leaves and edible flowers for decoration, rinsed and pat dry (Optional)


1. In a medium saucepan, melt the cannabutter over medium high heat until the butter starts bubbling and turns golden brown. Butter browns at 250 degrees F, a low enough temp to prevent cannabinoid and terpene burnoff. Remove from heat to cool to room temp, then refrigerate for 30 minutes to an hour to chill until the butter has solidified from liquid to softened state. Stir occasionally. Can be made ahead and stored until ready to use.  

2. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Line a 13x9x2-inch baking pan with parchment paper. In a small bowl, stir together flour and cornstarch. Set aside. 

3. In a large bowl, beat together softened cannabutter, powdered sugar until creamed and fluffy. Beat in 1 tablespoon milk, vanilla bean, and salt on medium speed until combined. 

4. Slowly stir in the flour and cornstarch mixture a little at a time until combined. Continue beating until a crumbly dough comes together. It should feel like crumbly soft sand that holds together. Press together and make sure any crumbly flour bits are mixed thoroughly into the dough. If the dough is too dry and crumbly and not holding together, drizzle and mix in a little more milk until the dough can press and hold together. 

5. Press the dough evenly into the prepared baking pan. Place into the oven and bake on the center rack for 40 minutes. Turn the pan halfway through baking to bake evenly until slightly golden brown on the edges. Remove pan from oven and place onto a rack to cool. 

6. Make the Vanilla Glaze: In a small bowl, mix 1 cup of powdered sugar with milk and vanilla bean until you get a smooth, thin, runny glaze that just coats the back of a spoon with a thin film. If it’s too thin, add more powdered sugar a little at a time until you reach desired consistency. Set aside. 

7. Glaze + Decorate: Place the small cannabis leaves and edible flowers (optional) each scattered across the top of the cookie. Pour glaze evenly on top of the entire cookie pan and over the cannabis leaves and flowers. Using a small spatula or pastry brush, gently spread to evenly distribute the glaze and coat the decoration. The leaves should look like they’re covered with a sheet of ice.   

8. Let the cookie and icing cool completely in the pan until the glaze hardens, three or more hours. Using the sides of the parchment paper, lift the uncut cookie out of the pan and onto a cutting board. Using a sharp knife, cut into 20 rectangles. Store covered in a cool, dry place.

This article was originally published in the December 2022 issue of High Times Magazine.

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Holy Smokes

Chef Jake Cohen’s professional culinary journey has been ruled by two constants: his love of cooking Jewish food and his love of cannabis. The chef, social media star, best-selling cookbook author and food-scene darling has been an out-and-proud stoner from the get-go. From his website, which proudly boasts the URL, to his open discussion of using and loving cannabis, Cohen doesn’t shy away from the plant when building his personal brand—partly, he says, because cannabis has always been there for him.

“I started getting into cannabis around the same time I started getting into cooking,” he says, explaining that as a young New Yorker, he began hosting Shabbat dinner parties for his friends where food, Judaism and cannabis found a natural intersection. “Shabbat is the Jewish ritual I hold nearest and dearest to my heart,” Cohen says, referring to the weekly gathering of friends and family where prayers are sung, candles are lit, challah is eaten and wine is traditionally drunk on Fridays after sunset.

Chef Jake Cohen.

“You grow up learning about the Kiddush [the Jewish prayer over the wine sung at Shabbat, but I was never a big drinker. But once we take a closer look at why we’re saying the prayer over the wine, we realize it’s about sanctification,” Cohen says. “It’s about taking the mundane and transforming it into something holy. I’ve always seen weed as the exact same thing—taking something that grows from the ground and transforming it into an elevated experience. It can make dinner taste better; it can make you laugh at jokes more easily.”

According to Cohen, hospitality is the overarching umbrella of the entire Shabbat experience. “You’re welcoming people into your home because you want to create an intention around connection,” he says. “Everything about the meaning of the ritual of the Kiddush can be swapped for cannabis.”

And for Cohen, sharing his perspective on cannabis is just as important as sharing his love of Jewish food. “In general,” he says, “I’m sharing myself. A huge part of myself is my enjoyment of cannabis.”

While cannabis is a muse for Cohen’s cooking, he says he tries to avoid cooking while stoned.

“Cooking high is a disaster,” he says, laughing. “Cannabis does help me let my mind go wild and think about how we can create new recipes and conventions for everything we already know and love. It can be really hard in a world that always demands more, next, now. Cannabis creates a space where not only am I totally relaxed, but it also chills my mind and gives me permission to explore whatever pops into my head.”

Jake Cohen's recipe book Jew-ish: A Cookbook: Reinvented Recipes from a Modern Mensch
Jew-ish: A Cookbook: Reinvented Recipes from a Modern Mensch. PHOTO Matt Taylor-Gross

It’s easy to see that creative freedom in Cohen’s The New York Times best-selling book, Jew-ish: A Cookbook: Reinvented Recipes from a Modern Mensch, which features cheeky takes on classic recipes such as Shakshuka alla Vodka, Salted Honey Chopped Liver, Cacio e Pepe Rugelach and Matzo Tiramisu. But don’t expect Cohen to let his cannabis creativity fly in the infused dining space. It’s something he has explored (he admits he’s rather famous in his social circle for infused brownies), but Cohen doesn’t mince his words: “I’m anti infused cooking,” he flatly states. “I love making my own edibles, a nice brownie or cookie or something, but when it comes to sitting down to enjoy a meal, I want that right dosage ingested an hour before the meal begins. I don’t want to eat infused food and only begin to feel high at the end of the meal.”

And, says Cohen, with legalized cannabis rolling out across the country and landing in New York in 2021, there are plenty of high-quality options to explore in the regulated edibles marketplace. “I’d rather support Kiva or Mindy Segal and have a product that’s correctly dosed every time,” he says. “I think the beverages are really fun—it’s just a commitment to drink the whole thing!”

As New York legalizes, keep an eye out for this multi-hyphenate talent as he continues to explore the intersection of cannabis, cooking and Jewish tradition.

Black and White Cookies by Chef Josh Cohen
Black and White Cookies by Chef Josh Cohen.

Black and White Cookies

For the Cookies
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter (or infused cannabutter) at room temperature
¾ cup packed (150g) light brown sugar
⅔ cup (135g) granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups (270g) all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons kosher salt
¾ teaspoon baking soda
2 cups milk chocolate chips
3½ ounces dark chocolate (70 percent cacao), finely chopped

For the White Chocolate Glaze
1 cup white chocolate chips
3 tablespoons unrefined coconut oil
¾ cup confectioners’ sugar
Pinch of kosher salt

For the Dark Chocolate Glaze
1 cup dark chocolate chips
3 tablespoons unrefined coconut oil
¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar


For the Cookies

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and both sugars on medium speed until light and fluffy, two minutes. With the mixer running, add the eggs one at a time and mix until incorporated, stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the vanilla and mix to incorporate.

Add the flour, kosher salt and baking soda and mix on low speed until a smooth dough forms. Add the milk chocolate chips and dark chocolate and mix on low speed until just incorporated. Remove the mixer bowl, cover and refrigerate the dough for at least four hours, or preferably overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two half-sheet pans with parchment paper and have a five-inch-wide bowl or round cutter ready.

Scoop the cookie dough into ¼-cup balls. Working in two batches, place six cookies on each of the prepared pans, spacing them three inches apart. Bake for 14 to 16 minutes, until golden brown. As soon as you remove each pan from the oven, place the bowl or round cutter over each cookie and gently roll it around in gentle circles to smooth the edges into a perfect round. Let the cookies cool slightly on the pans, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with the remaining balls of cookie dough. Once all the cookies are baked and cooled, divide them between the two sheet pans, with the bottom (flat side) of each cookie facing up.

For the White and Dark Chocolate Glazes

Set a medium metal bowl over a small pot of simmering water. Put the white chocolate chips and coconut oil in the bowl and heat, stirring as needed, until melted and well combined. Do the same for the dark chocolate chips, in a separate bowl. Remove the bowls from the heat and whisk in the confectioners’ sugar and kosher salt until smooth and glossy. Using an offset spatula or butter knife, spread the white chocolate glaze over half of the bottom (flat side) of each cookie to coat, and spread the dark chocolate glaze over the other half.

Garnish with flaky sea salt, if desired. Refrigerate for 15 minutes to set the glaze, then serve.

This story was originally published in issue 47 of the print edition of Cannabis Now.

The post Holy Smokes appeared first on Cannabis Now.

Chef Ayo Cherry Wants More Out of Elevated Food

Chef Ayo Cherry, executive chef and owner of Served, believes food should be as fulfilling as it is filling. She wants clients to taste the positivity in her dishes. 

For years, Cherry was Lil Wayne’s personal chef. A killer steak got her the job. Since then, she’s moved to Los Angeles, expanded her business, and gone on to cook for DaBaby and Travis Barker among other personal clients and events. How tasty is Cherry’s food? Well, her skills led her from sleeping in her car to flying in a private jet. 

The former winner of the Food Network’s Supermarket Stakeout recently recounted her big break in a conversation about her career, as well as her experience with CBD and meals she recommends for High Times readers. 

You went to culinary school. I think a lot of us have ideas about what it’s like, but how was your experience?

At the time? It sucks (Laughs). I had no money. The food I made in class was probably everything I was going to eat that day unless I had to work, and I worked at a restaraunt. I went to La Cordon Bleu, which is a traditional French style. You learn the brigade system for the kitchen, so they really take the old-school ways seriously. Everything had to be right. You had to have your full uniform checked prior to coming into class. If you were wrinkled or kind of a mess, you couldn’t come into class. I had a nose ring and it’s like, “Take off your piercings before class.” It was a whole thing every day.

I learned a lot of small skills I took for granted until I got older. I wouldn’t have had the amount of knowledge that I got because I am from a small place. I am from Tallahassee, Florida. There was no one who was going to offer me what my, specifically cuisines across cultures class, offered me. Whereas somebody who grows up in LA, who’s maybe eating out from every culture, I don’t necessarily know that culinary school would be as necessary for that person. For me, I need[ed] to do it. 

Congratulations on everything you’ve accomplished with your company, Served. What was your initial vision for the business? Where’d you start off after school?

I had zero vision for my benefit when I started. I would love to be one of those people, like I had these big specific dreams. I didn’t. I was working at a restaurant called Dirt in Miami. I was the senior sous chef and I got promoted to the catering manager, and much like all of us, I overworked and burned out. I was pulling 80, 90 hours a week. 

I was in charge of the catering, didn’t have that much staff, and we were the commissary kitchen for the two locations. Sometimes I would go out to my car to sleep for two or three hours and go back to work and keep cooking. If you know North Miami, I shouldn’t have been doing that, but I’ve done it. I had to do it to get the work done, because if there’s nothing at the commissary, then there are two locations now who are behind. 

I met a personal trainer who was using the exact same commissary as us, the space. I would see him cooking meals for his clients and I would just be like, “Hey, if you’re doing meal prep and you’re making chicken breasts, you don’t need to cook them for 35 minutes because they’re gonna reheat them and you’re cooking them to death already. You need to cook them until it’s safe for people to eat them.”

Eventually, he said, “If you ever want to do this for me, for my clients, I would love to have you. You can do the work from your house.” I did not have the faith, but I said yes and figured it out from there. I went to other personal trainers and was like, “Hey, I do this for this person, would you be interested in something like that?” I’m just trying to make ends meet at this point because I left my restaurant job and now I’m doing this, but this doesn’t pay as much as my restaurant job. 

So how’d it all lead to cooking for Lil Wayne?

One day I was in a group of private chefs and a friend of mine said, “Would you like to cook for Lil Wayne tonight?” Of course. I went [to the gig] and was told, “We have 10 chefs trying out, so this is just a trial, don’t get your hopes up.” I cooked and then they said, “Hey, can you come back the next night?” Cooked again, and then I was asked, “Can you come back the next night?” And then the fourth night I did not get asked to come back. Usually, they tell you around four or five o’clock to be there at six, which is insane. 

They would give you an hour, but that night I didn’t get the call and I was like, crap, I didn’t get the job. And then about eight o’clock they were like, “Hey, he didn’t like the other chefs’ food, so can you come right now?” I ran to the house and became Lil Wayne’s private chef. I started making more money than I had ever seen. And then I was like, “Oh, we need an LLC. There needs to be a business. There has to be something.” I had no idea what to do. (Laughs)

How’s it cooking for someone over the span of years? Like, how does your client’s taste change and yours evolve as well?

With Wayne, it’s very different from what I do now. I mean, for someone that high-profile, he had other chefs literally since he was like 19. What my tastes are is completely irrelevant. He doesn’t give a rat’s ass what I want to cook (Laughs). They tell you what he does and does not eat. You must submit a menu and they choose from it. Basically, that was my setup over there. 

My claim to fame, so to speak, was my plates are typically very aesthetically pleasing. I cook food for you to actually be full. I very much try to toe the line between very pretty aesthetic, but also you’re gonna be full. I don’t believe the super tiny portion of it, which irks my soul. 

(Laughs) Not a fan?

I’m Southern. The idea of charging somebody $300 for a bite of steak is ridiculous to me. But with Wayne, you make what they like, and that’s it. You continuously make what they like. But if you are a chef who values the creative aspect of food, and I’ve met several others, that gets old very fast. I’m not gonna lie, it kind of hurts. Food is like my art form. It is an expressive thing for me. 

It’s creating.

Yeah. I’m a creator, so I always wanna be pushing what I think is cool, too. I think the misconception with people from my culture specifically is that those pretty plates aren’t delicious and flavorful, and a lot of times, they’re not. But that’s not the case with me. I try to combine those two worlds for them. Constantly repeating yourself sucks after a while and then you kind of find yourself in this place where you’re… I was making more money than I had ever seen. I literally went from being a few payments behind on rent and bills and everything to six figures in four days. 


When I was going to culinary school, I was walking 10 miles each way to go to work at Longhorn and now I’m on a private jet going to Australia, and this is like a two-year gap. So it was a big change, and it was very fast. It was hard to reconcile that this food is making me miserable, though. I don’t want to fry any more hot wings. I don’t want to make another well-done steak. I don’t want to. 

How’d you make the change? 

The change was, I saved up and saved up and I decided I was moving to LA. I had zero clients there. People ask me, “Why LA? “ Cause I want clients who want vegetables, and LA feels like the place.

My current clients are more aligned with who I am artistically. For certain clients, diet is not so restrictive to the point where you can’t enjoy making the food. Now, I’ve had clients who are, you know, these well-known actors, and they eat nothing. They want it to be green but they don’t want you to use olive oil and they don’t want you to use salt. I went from making a well-done steak, and chicken wings to making wilted spinach with nothing else on it. 

I was like, okay, this isn’t much better either. It’s just the other side of it. At what point do you get to do the art for the art’s sake? I’m sure you hear people say it all the time, it’s like you’re kind of whoring out your skill to make a living. I wasn’t enjoying it. Now, finally have the balance of doing fun dinners where they’re like, “Oh, what do you wanna make?” And I’m like, ‘Oh, I’m so glad you asked. I have a million ideas.”

That’s great. What’s both your personal and professional experience with cannabis and cannabis-infused food?

I am not a smoker. Not that I find anything wrong with it, I just don’t like the way it feels in my lungs. Like many of us, the very first time I came to visit LA I had a terrible experience with the THC drinks. It was lemonade. The person who split the drink with me, we both drank a third. And this other person was violently projectile vomiting. I could not stand up straight ‘cause I literally felt the ground shaking. Everything around me was spinning. I’m looking around, like everyone knows.

(Laughs) They usually know.

They probably do ‘cause I was trying to keep my balance. Anyway, I got older and I started seeing the effects of CBD. I have anxiety, as we all do, but mine, it’s pretty bad. I started doing the little CBD drinks and saw what everyone was saying. 

I do feel calmer, and it’s easier for me to focus a little bit, but I didn’t feel high. That was very important to me because, you know, I need to be focused, but I don’t need to be freaking out because I have to cook. THC freaks me out because when you’re cooking, you’re being judged and I can’t. 

My current boyfriend was like, well, “Why don’t you try five milligrams? It’s, like, a glass of wine.” Well, mama loves her wine (Laughs). It became less of a party. Now, that’s how I do it. 

I’m still such a baby, like five milligrams is my absolute cap, to still be able to function and feel normal. 

And so, once I looked at cannabis like wine, it changed the idea of weed and food for me because I was like, oh, this can still be – pardon the pun – an elevated adult experience. I met a chef in the bay, Solomon [Johnson], who’s a 420 chef and won Chopped 420. He’s about this life and he also does more elevated food. We had a few conversations about it, and then, I got really into food as a way to heal yourself. 

How so?

I make breakfast, lunch, and dinner for my clients. We’re talking about something that they’re putting in their bodies every day. One of my clients was like, “Hey, I have high cholesterol right now.” And I’m like, “Okay, we’re gonna start doing smoothies and getting these things in your body.” His cholesterol went down drastically, which was great to see.

Now, having clients who have gluten intolerances or autoimmune disease with so many allergies to day-to-day food, it is such a struggle for them that they almost have this weird relationship with eating now because it’s a toss-up if they’re gonna get sick or not. Being able to sit in that place in their lives, it’s nice to say, “Hey, I got you from all angles. We’re gonna make sure this is filling but also fulfilling.”

And so, to think about THC specifically as a part of that, it helped me kind of shift my thinking to be like, okay, this is like a wine pairing. It’s a weed pairing. It’s part of the overall culinary experience for them, and it’s something that adds to the consumption of the food and that is something I can get behind. 

Do you find THC goes well with certain dishes or ingredients? 

It’s fat. It’s fat-soluble basically, so the fattier a dish is that you eat before it, it makes it a little bit stronger, but it also slows it down. So, if I wanna do an edible after a large meal, maybe I’ll walk it off so I don’t go to sleep full, but also I have this chemical thing happening that’s also bringing me down now, which is really nice. Instead of putting like, I don’t know, wine on top of my large meal (Laughs). You always want to put it in a fattier dish, because it helps it bond in your liver longer. I am not a scientist but I know it’s true. I just can’t explain how (Laughs). 

Say for any of our readers who want to cook a nice and easy meal when they’re enjoying some cannabis, do you have any dish recommendations? 

Jerk salmon croquettes, which is super easy. If you are on a really tight budget, you can use canned salmon. Growing up, my family used canned salmon or a random piece of salmon around the house. I just like a salmon croquette, ‘cause then you can put salmon, drop one egg in there, or you could also use mayonnaise ‘cause it’s cheaper than eggs right now. 

You put a bunch of seasonings, anything you got in your fridge, garlic, onions, any herbs you have, and you throw all of it in the bowl. Maybe a little bit of panko or flour or something, so you can make a little patty. I like to coat mine in panko after that, so it’s nice and crunchy. You don’t have to, though. You can literally do that and you sear it off. If you have that with a salad or have that by itself, that’s such a quick and simple flavorful meal. And if you only have one piece of salmon, it’s a good way to stretch one piece of fish. I made it today with one piece of $10 salmon, which is .6 lbs. I got five of the little croquettes from it, which is enough for two people. 

Any go-to desserts or personal favorites you’d recommend? 

I am such a simple dessert girl. I love peach cobbler. Buy a can of peaches. I make it the old-school way, where it’s the rough dough with sugar, flour, and cold butter. You squish it together with your hand. You put the peaches in a cast iron skillet, you know, cinnamon nutmeg, you take the flour and the butter and squoosh it into a coarse dough. Throw it in chunks on top and throw the oven at 400 for 20 minutes. Amazing. 

What about the peanut butter pie?

Really, it’s my favorite thing. It’s not quick, which is why I didn’t say that, but it’s so good and it’s so simple. It’s so simple and it’s amazing. 

The post Chef Ayo Cherry Wants More Out of Elevated Food appeared first on High Times.

Functional Mushrooms – Boosting Health and Well-being

Are you looking to enhance your cognitive abilities, boost your energy levels, and improve your overall well-being? Look no further than functional mushrooms, specifically Lions Mane, Cordyceps, and Reishi. These three mushrooms have been used for centuries in traditional medicine to promote physical and mental health, and recent scientific research has only confirmed their potential benefits.

Functional mushrooms have been used for centuries in traditional medicine to support overall health and wellness. Today, their popularity has surged as people seek out natural ways to boost their immune systems, reduce inflammation, improve cognitive function and promote general well-being. Currently, as part of our Deal Of The Day offer, all three mushrooms are offered on a special BOGO sale: Buy One Get One FREE.

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What Are Functional Mushrooms?

Functional mushrooms are a category of mushrooms that contain bioactive compounds that provide numerous health benefits. These mushrooms are rich in polysaccharides, beta-glucans, and other compounds that are known to support the immune system, reduce inflammation, and enhance cognitive function.

Lion’s Mane, Cordyceps, and Reishi are three of the most popular functional mushrooms available today, and for good reason. Let’s take a closer look at each of them:

Lion’s Mane Mushroom

BOGO: Functional Mushroom Gummies - Lion's Mane
BOGO: Functional Mushroom Gummies – Lion’s Mane

Lion’s Mane Mushroom, also known as Hericium erinaceus, is a white, shaggy mushroom with a unique appearance that resembles a lion’s mane. This mushroom is native to North America, Europe, and Asia and has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries.

Lion’s Mane Mushroom is known for its potential cognitive benefits. It contains compounds called hericenones and erinacines, which have been shown to stimulate the growth of new brain cells and improve cognitive function. Additionally, Lion’s Mane Mushroom may help reduce inflammation and improve heart health.

Cordyceps Mushroom

BOGO: Functional Mushroom Gummies - Cordyceps
BOGO: Functional Mushroom Gummies – Cordyceps

Cordyceps Mushroom, also known as Ophiocordyceps sinensis, is a unique mushroom that grows on the backs of caterpillars in the high-altitude regions of China, Nepal, and Tibet. While this may sound unappetizing, the mushroom itself is highly valued for its potential health benefits.

Cordyceps Mushroom is known for its potential benefits in increasing energy and stamina. It contains adenosine, a compound that helps improve oxygen uptake, making it an ideal supplement for athletes and those looking to improve their physical performance. Additionally, Cordyceps Mushroom may help reduce inflammation, improve heart health, and boost the immune system.

Reishi Mushroom

BOGO: Functional Mushroom Gummies - Reishi
BOGO: Functional Mushroom Gummies – Reishi

Reishi Mushroom, also known as Ganoderma lucidum, is a red, kidney-shaped mushroom that is native to Asia. This mushroom has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries and is believed to have a wide range of health benefits.

Reishi Mushroom is known for its potential benefits in reducing stress and improving sleep. It contains compounds called triterpenoids, which have been shown to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Additionally, Reishi Mushroom may help boost the immune system, improve heart health, and even potentially have anti-cancer properties.

By incorporating functional mushrooms like Lion’s Mane, Cordyceps, and Reishi into your daily routine, you may be able to reap the many potential health benefits that these mushrooms offer.

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More popular functional mushrooms

Functional mushrooms have been used in traditional medicine for thousands of years, and their popularity has grown in recent years due to their potential health benefits. Let’s take a closer look at some of the most popular functional mushrooms and their potential benefits:

Chaga Mushroom:

Chaga mushrooms are known for their immune-boosting properties. They contain high levels of antioxidants, which help to protect the body from free radicals that can cause cellular damage. Chaga mushrooms are also known for their anti-inflammatory properties and may help to reduce inflammation in the body.

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Turkey Tail Mushroom:

Turkey tail mushrooms are a great source of polysaccharides, which are known to have immune-boosting properties. These mushrooms may also have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, making them a potential therapeutic tool for a wide range of health conditions.

Maitake Mushroom:

Maitake mushrooms are known for their potential anti-cancer properties. They contain a compound called beta-glucan, which has been shown to stimulate the immune system and may help to fight cancer cells. Maitake mushrooms may also help to lower cholesterol levels and improve blood sugar control.

Shiitake Mushroom:

Shiitake mushrooms are a great source of B vitamins and have been shown to have immune-boosting properties. They may also help to lower cholesterol levels, improve heart health, and have potential anti-cancer properties.

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Various ways to consume functional mushrooms

Functional mushrooms are highly versatile and can be consumed in a variety of ways. These mushrooms can be eaten raw or cooked, taken as supplements, or used in teas or tinctures.

One way to consume functional mushrooms is by incorporating them into your diet through cooking. Many types of functional mushrooms, such as shiitake, maitake, and lion’s mane, can be used as an ingredient in a wide range of recipes, including soups, stews, stir-fries, and sauces. For example, shiitake mushrooms are a common ingredient in Asian cuisine and can be found in dishes such as ramen and stir-fries. Maitake mushrooms can be roasted or sautéed and used as a meat substitute in vegetarian dishes, while lion’s mane mushrooms can be used as a substitute for seafood due to their unique texture.

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Functional mushrooms can also be consumed in the form of supplements, such as capsules, extracts, or powder. This method of consumption is convenient for those who prefer to take their supplements in a more concentrated form. Supplements can be easily incorporated into your daily routine by taking them with water, adding them to smoothies or protein shakes, or even mixing them into your favorite recipes.

Another way to consume functional mushrooms is through teas and tinctures. Tea is a popular method of consumption for functional mushrooms as it is a soothing and relaxing way to enjoy the benefits of these powerful ingredients. Tinctures, on the other hand, are highly concentrated liquid extracts that can be added to water or other beverages. Tinctures are an excellent option for those who prefer a more concentrated and convenient way to consume functional mushrooms.

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In conclusion, functional mushrooms can be consumed in a variety of ways, each with its unique benefits and advantages. Incorporating functional mushrooms into your diet may be a natural and effective way to enhance your cognitive abilities, boost your energy levels, and improve your overall well-being. However, it is important to speak with a healthcare professional before adding functional mushrooms to your diet, especially if you have any underlying health conditions or are taking any medications.

With the Cannadelics coupon code, you can get an extra 20% discount on premium functional mushroom products and explore the potential benefits of these amazing fungi. And don’t forget to subscribe to the Cannadelics Sunday Edition for exclusive discounts and the best stories of the week in the cannabis and psychedelic world.

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The post Functional Mushrooms – Boosting Health and Well-being appeared first on Cannadelics.

Pot Chef Derek Upton

“Food is a second language to me,” begins Derek Upton when asked about how he got his start. “I’m Portuguese-Italian, so I’ve been cooking my whole life.”

The acclaimed Phoenix-based cannabis chef spent the first half of his career as a touring professional drummer before making the leap into the kitchen full-time a decade ago. But this move off the kit and into the kitchen was driven by an innate love of both food and flower. “When I made the career switch to cook professionally, it was also in the name of cannabis,” Upton says.

He explains that even though he’d been a long-time cannabis user, it was his struggles with depression and insomnia that ultimately pushed him to study the plant and its place in his life—and in his food.

“One day, something clicked for me, and I realized that cannabis was helping me more than all of the medication I was on put together. That led me to diving into cannabis, understanding cannabinoids, decarboxylation and the [body’s] endocannabinoid system.”

Chef Derek Upton has crafted many fine dishes as part of the Elevations series in partnership with The Clarendon Hotel.

So, as a newly minted professional chef who was also immersing himself into understanding the science behind cooking with cannabis, Upton was naturally drawn to exploring the plant’s culinary possibilities.

“I started experimenting at home, and that led to doing dinner parties for friends and family,” he says. “I fell in love with it. I found that many people wanted the education, wanted to understand cannabis in a different way. What better way is there than through food?”

“Food makes the perfect vehicle to show people cannabis.”

With this normalizing mission in mind, the chef began hosting a series of private cannabis-infused dinners in and around Phoenix, where he quickly gained a following— all while continuing to work in a traditional, high-end restaurant. From there, Upton soon found himself on the fast track to success when Netflix featured him on the show Cooked with Cannabis in 2020, which then led to another TV gig on Food Network’s Chopped 420 in 2021. “From a chef’s standpoint, my career has skyrocketed,” Upton says, clearly happy about the developments.

After finding success in television and putting Arizona’s culinary cannabis scene on the map, Upton upped the ante by partnering with Phoenix’s cannabis-friendly The Clarendon Hotel & Spa to develop Elevations, a brand designed to explore the future of cannabis hospitality in the city and beyond.

Scallop Crudo topped with aguachile, brunoise red bell pepper and
shallot with microgreens.

“The Clarendon reached out and said, ‘We’d like to create some cannabis tourism experiences here,’ and Elevations was born.”

Upton and his partners at The Clarendon began putting together a series of Elevations rooftop-infused dinners and events, featuring sophisticated dishes such as Wagyu toro tartare, foie gras and New York cheesecake with cherries infused with 2.5mg THC.

“I think of cooking with cannabis like any other holistic thing we put in food, any other herb,” says Upton of his culinary inspiration. “I present cannabis to my guests in a way that resonates with them. They’re not seeing a joint; they’re not seeing a bong or dab rig—they’re seeing a plate of food that has cannabis in it. Presenting it to them like that changes the stigma, changes the perception of cannabis and what it has been.”

Chef Derek Upton and Chef Jordan Savell
Chef Derek Upton and Chef Jordan Savell (Hells Kitchen 19).

But the rooftop of the Clarendon is really a launchpad for the Elevations brand. “We immediately saw a much bigger picture than just dinners and started putting together SOPs [standard operating procedures] for cannabis hospitality from a hotel perspective,” he says. That led to us going, ‘hey, what if we move this to other states and take a 100,000-foot view of what Elevations could be?’ We’re building a lifestyle brand. Elevations will include an events side, online marketplace and cannabis lounge and hotel hospitality idea that can be built out to be franchise-ready to rec states all over the country.”

As part of this ambitious framework, Upton is developing a talented network of chefs who can help Elevations reach other markets, demographics and properties. The restaurant has recently hired Chef Jordan Savell from Hell’s Kitchen season 19 and plans to work with the chef and others like her to grow its consumer base. 

With a proven track record of success in defining what cannabis hospitality can look like, Upton and Elevations are ready for the next step. “We’re finishing the foundation, thanks to some pretty awesome partnerships happening that are going to put a lot of eyeballs on us. We’re moving fast and people are understanding that this is where cannabis needs to be. This is where it needs to go.”

Wagyu Toro Tartare by Chef Derek Upton
Wagyu Toro Tartare by Chef Derek Upton.

Wagyu Toro Tartare (serves 2)


  • 2 6 oz. wagyu filets
  • 4 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 oz. shallots, minced and caramelized
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons thyme, chopped
  • 2 large avocados
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 20mg THC-infused olive oil
  • Toast points


  1. Semi-freeze wagyu and dice once firm. Store in the refrigerator. 
  2. In a blender, combine Dijon, thyme, shallots, garlic until smooth. Season to taste. Set aside.
  3. In a blender, combine avocado, heavy cream and 20mg THC-infused olive oil until smooth. Season to taste.
  4. In a mixing bowl, combine diced wagyu and Dijon shallot mixture until filet is fully coated. Season to taste.
  5. Place wagyu tartare in a ring mold onto the center of a plate. 
  6. Gently torch the top of the tartare to release the fat and add flavor. 
  7. Add avocado cream and serve with toast point.

This story was originally published in the print edition of Cannabis Now.

The post Pot Chef Derek Upton appeared first on Cannabis Now.

Trend Sees Brands Pairing Top-Shelf Weed, Fine Dining

We recently wrote about the re-emergence of the legacy weed brand Champelli, for which San Francisco’s Chronic Culture produced an elaborate 5-course Italian dinner for about 40 guests, served with hash-hole joints worth over $100. Champelli’s strain Cassis was infused into salt served with the meal.

Neil Dellacava of Chronic Culture says that events that curate weed and dining are nothing entirely new, citing for example the Cannaisseur Series by Chef Coreen Carroll, which has been running and focusing on culinary and cannabis curated events since 2015, according to their website.

That said, Dellacava sees an uptick in weed related events in general in places like California—a state lacking in legal, recreational public venues for weed consumption.  

Dellacava says that Chronic Culture, his weed event company, started doing culinary events this year, including Champelli’s recent dinner and another dinner event with the brand CAM.

Dellacava says that he plans to now start hosting these weed and cuisine events monthly. It brings together two of his interests, he says.

“I’ve always been passionate about food and weed. Since we got the office space in San Francisco with a commercial kitchen it was a no-brainer,” Dellacava said.

Culinary weed events are more of a trend now, Dellacava says, because weed brands need a way to stand out from the crowded dispensary shelves.

“As stores move more towards a grab and go model there has to be a way to have a more exclusive personal brand experience, especially for the higher priced brands going for the exclusivity model,” Dellacava said.

At the start of 2022, Emma Guzman of the indie weed brand Fidel’s started her own company called Smoke Good Eat Good, which orchestrates a high-end meal for a group of invited guests that is served with (and infused with) Fidel’s weed.

Shant Damirdjian and Emma Guzman of Fidels, courtesy of Visit Hollyweed

Fidel’s is a high-end luxury weed and fashion brand, best known for inventing the hash hole joint. Guzman says that the Smoke Good Eat Good events help her to market Fidel’s weed while creating an experience around her passions for weed and cuisine. She even sees herself expanding to include other weed brands as well.

Guzman says the business brings together two things that she’s passionate about.

“I started this company out of the passion for food and the plant. I thought, hey I can infuse my favorite foods and make it into an experience where you can smoke good while you’re eating quality food,” Guzman said.

For each event, Guzman organizes a 5-7 course meal that is served with a gift box containing a half ounce of flower and two hash holes.

“In between the courses I’ll go out and give joints while they’re waiting as well,” Guzman said.

So far this year Guzman has hosted three Smoke Good Eat Good events, the most recent being in Miami. Next year she’ll host a Spring/Summer event in Los Angeles.

Natural High Company based in Texas has been running a “Plates and Plants” dinner series that creates what they call “a multi-layered cannabis and culinary experience.” The company targets social equity and minority-owned cannabis businesses.  

“We entered the market in 2019 truly focused on education, normalization, and social equity. Introducing the dinners in 2020 was a way for us to build more community and elevate cannabis the way we see the plant,” said CEO Lori Lord.

Lord said that high-end dining experiences allow weed marketers to reach a more elite clientele.

“Curating luxury dinner experiences allows for the plant to be introduced the way the majority of the more sophisticated consumers of cannabis actually want to experience the plant, breaking the ‘hippie stoner’ stigma,” Lord said. “It allows for the plant to be showcased in an elite light.”

“I’ve always said that food, music, and sports bring people together. Now we’ve added cannabis to the mix, resulting in a very communal organic way to bring people from all walks of life together,” said Natural High Company COO Alycia Hightower.

Natural High Company, courtesy of Visit Hollyweed

Lord and Hightower most recently held a Plates and Plants dinner in Los Angeles on Juneteenth honoring Black Changemakers in Cannabis. It brought together brand leaders and community activists to smoke joints provided by brands like Maven and Clade9, and to eat a chef-curated meal. In 2023 they are also producing their festival “Eats, Beats & Bud,” and will be adding new markets to the dinner series and will be supporting other industry brand experiences through their consulting agency.

Twice this past year Los Angeles-based Bartz Barbeque teamed up with indie top-shelf brand Redline Reserve to offer “all you can eat BBQ” by about a dozen local gourmet BBQ vendors. Attendees were served a large joint containing Redline Reserve’s Super Chief strain, and had access to a dab bar by the brand Cali Blaise on site. The dinners lasted four hours and included music and entertainment.

More recently, the exotics brand The Ten Co. has been promoting their Japanese cuisine-inspired strain packaging with actual Japanese cuisine curated experiences in places like L.A. and Miami. 

The post Trend Sees Brands Pairing Top-Shelf Weed, Fine Dining appeared first on High Times.

In Memory of Jesse the Chef

This is the eulogy I gave for my friend on Tuesday. To honor his memory I’m sharing it here with the larger community. Please keep his family in your thoughts through this impossibly difficult time.

In the early morning hours of November 15th we lost our brother Jesse unexpectedly. Affectionately known as Woodie, or Jesse the Chef, he was a loving son and brother, a devoted boyfriend, successful entrepreneur, but maybe most importantly, a true friend to so, so many, his loss will be felt forever. He was only 29 years old.

It’s hard to summarize someone as complex as Jesse. While most people knew him for his incredible skills as a chef, or his larger than life internet personality, those who know him closely knew he was so much more than online banter and a great meal. Dude was a huge nerd too. Y’all know about the Pokémon tattoos, right? He’d dive down whatever weirdo rabbit hole with me, and somehow, he made even those cool. Dude has presence, and the confidence and humility to push his ideas to the next level, and to get us all to buy in.

Raised in Memphis – on the South side with his Mom but getting game from his dad on the North side, he was residing more recently in Los Angeles. Jesse was proof that you could take the kid out of the south, but that your home never really leaves you. But man, he loved where he was from. You could feel it in his energy as much as you could hear it in his voice. Anytime anyone from Memphis did anything we would hear about it. I can still hear him in my head saying ‘You know where he’s from, my boy?’ He played that ‘Memphis, memphis, memphis’ clip maybe 6,000 times. Sure he was doing what he needed to out West, but he celebrated where he was from every chance he got – and he made you want to go there too. I know I speak for all of his friends and followers when I say his stories from his trips back home made it sound better than Vegas. I’m heartbroken that he wasn’t here to see us congregate for him in his home town.

But in LA – LA’s not always the friendliest place, but somehow he made it his home. And in his presence it really felt like one for all of us transplants trying to make something of ourselves. He welcomed us in in a way I haven’t felt often in my life, let alone in the city. He cared. He supported. He uplifted whatever he loved, let alone his people. He’d raise hell for us…

And Maiya – their relationship was a model for us all. You don’t expect much to last in today’s world, but we were all sure they would. They were inseparable. They always matched. It was like you were watching a live action Rom Com – they we’re ALWAYS laughing.

And his parties – those were legendary. A who’s who of ballers from across the art, music and cannabis landscape would pull up to his house not just for a plate, but for the energy. To be around this magnet of cool. 

Truth be told, I just wanted to hang at his house any chance I got. Everyone I ever met there was the highest caliber of person, and I have so many more true, lifelong friends than I would have had I not known him. He’s the reason I started talking to Fidel, and Metro. He was like a cheat code for my coverage. But more than that, even those times where we would just watch whatever popped up on YouTube in his living room were somehow more special than your typical interaction with friends. There was a warmth there that him and Maiya fostered that I have only ever experienced in that house. You were going home every time you stopped by. That laugh. The commentary. The conspiracy theories. The incredible weed. Endless amounts of incredible weed. No one left sober or hungry, it was like an unspoken rule. It was a special combination of magic that hooked anyone fortunate enough to experience it. I know I speak for many of his friends when I say that I feel blessed I got to exist in his presence, and my heart breaks not only for our loss, but for all those that won’t get to experience it. So many people have reached out the last week to say they wished they got to know him, people who I’d told about him, and random strangers who watched him online, and honestly so do I. He was hard not to love.

But that was Jesse. He quantified the weird, and celebrated his love. He brought people together, and curated a life most could only lust after. We talked about hustling and how to make it – but the truth was, he had. Jesse was it. Yes he was an inspiration for so many that didn’t actually know him, but also for those truly close to him. He created his own wave and rode it with a confidence we don’t often see from even the greatest of showmen. He made Weed & Wagyu a lifestyle we all wanted to be a part of. Even some kid like me, who was fine just eating McDonald’s, was all of a sudden trying to play high end, and wearing Dior, because of Jesse. It was wild.

To his Parents, I hope you got to see how bright your son was shining. I know the internet is one thing, but believe me when I tell you that love was real. Dude was good EVERYWHERE. People would stop him in public for pictures, or just to tell him they loved his posts. And he would talk about you all the time, I remember how excited he was when his Dad was coming out. He wanted to show you off. He was so proud to be your son.

And to Maiya, girl he loved you more than anything. It is so clear that you two were soulmates – you were the dream for those of us who haven’t found our person. You gave us faith. I know nothing will ever replace that massive hole in your chest, but know this army Jesse built around himself is here for you forever, and his memory will live on through us all.

Selfishly, I am devastated. I never expected to lose my friend – we had so much left to do. He had so much still to share. We talked about doing an art show together, and I let my anxiety hold it back. I didn’t think I mattered, he was the guy. But he wanted to do it with me, and I never pushed it through. And I was supposed to see him the weekend before he passed. But I was tired, so I said ‘next time’. I thought there would be one. A next time… You always think you’re going to have more time. But let me tell you, you don’t always. There’s no rhyme or reason to it, sometimes it’s just over. And I know I speak for many of us when I say it breaks my heart that I’ll never get to see my friend again. Or call him. Or text him. Or get roasted in my DMs when I post something stupid. Or something that he thinks is Lemon Cherry Gelato. I hope he knows how much we loved him.

I will hold onto the last conversations we had. To the last night we saw each other, at the Montalban in Hollywood, seeing ourselves on the big screen for Fidel’s premiere. That was some bucket list shit, but it wasn’t supposed to be the last. I know I barely scratched the surface of what our friend had to share, but I feel blessed for the time I had. I will carry it with me. I will carry him with me, as I know the rest of us will as well.

Now, I don’t know what it is yet, but I know we have to do something down here [in Memphis], for Jesse and Memphis – a real celebration, not a mourning party, because it’s what he would have wanted. Putting on for Memphis was quintessential Jesse. 

And I know we need to support Maiya however we can, because she is what he cared about most. She was his world, as much as he was hers. 

And I think we all need to start cooking more, because it’s what he loved doing, and it will bring us closer to him – especially those of us who are terrible at it, if only so that we’ll hear that deep little chuckle over our shoulder from the master who we all know could make it way better than we were. I know it would have made him laugh to see us try. But most importantly because we all need to keep Jesse’s vision, Weed & Wagyu alive – however that works for you, I won’t judge if it’s American Beef. 

And finally, we’ve got to make sure we tell everyone we love that we love them as often as possible. If there was one thing Jesse was great at it was giving flowers. You never know when it’s going to be the last time. 

In Jesse’s honor, no more ‘next time’s.

I love you man, I’ll see you soon. Weed & Wagyu forever.

The post In Memory of Jesse the Chef appeared first on High Times.

Cooking With Cannabis Class in Colorado Fights Stigma, Promotes Education

At MSU Denver, Affiliate Professor Shannon Donnelly teaches the class “Cannabis 101.” The course was only offered in Spring 2021, but began again on Nov. 8, 2022 according to the university’s class description.

Among learning about medical and recreational cannabis industries, the inner workings of a dispensary, various products being sold, and the legal aspects of cultivation, distribution, and possession are among the main topics of discussion.

In addition to this, students are taught about cannabis and CBD in a kitchen setting as well. According to Donnelly, who also holds the position of Cannabis Process Navigator for the city and county of Denver, explained that students will experiment with cooking using CBD. “We start with federally compliant CBD isolate which has no THC in it whatsoever,” Donnelly said.

While the class is a legitimate exploration of one of the nation’s most robust cannabis markets, Donnelly shared that not everyone agrees. “Most of the feedback when I tell people I’m cooking with cannabis is ‘no, that’s not actually happening,’” she said. “‘That’s not a real class for a college,’ and it’s like yes, it is, and your students can take it.”

Students are taught how to infuse vegetable oil with CBD, and after mastering that, they begin to experiment with different recipes. Donnelly told 9News that last week, they made barbecue shrimp and cornbread puree with a local chef.

The news outlet also spoke with one of the students, Liad Sherer who is pursuing a cybersecurity major, about why he chose to take the elective course. “I’m trying to just improve both as a cook as well as someone who enjoys cannabis and wants to know how to use it,” Sherer said. “I’d love to do this as a hobby, and I’d love to do this maybe as a part-time job.”

The class is an introduction to the many facets of the industry, which could help build early knowledge for possible careers. Roles such as a private chef, edibles creator, or budtending, are just a few of the many jobs that cannabis can create, and normalizing these jobs helps break down the stigma too. “That’s kind of this fun thing that I get to kind of help the students figure out,” she said. “Classes like this allow me and our students to realize there’s a pathway for them in this industry, which is what we need.”

Voters in Colorado approved recreational cannabis 10 years ago in November 2012. Since then, new data shows that the state has collected more than $2.2 billion in cannabis taxes and $13.4 billion in legal cannabis sales. According to the 2022 Leafly Jobs Report, Colorado offers 38,337 jobs (second only to California, which offers 83,607). The job market is thriving, and educated individuals are in high demand.

Colorado also recently saw a dip in its usual cannabis sales growth, month-by-month, according to data published in September 2022 for the month of June 2022. Medical marijuana sales sat at $19,235,656, which is a $34,534,293 decrease from numbers recorded for June 2021. Likewise, recreational cannabis sales only reached $127,157,358 in June, which is a decrease from $152,719,813 collected in June 2021. This downward trend is concerning to some industry members, who believe that it could lead to lay-offs, small shop closures, and the end of brands that can’t keep up.

Although Colorado is experiencing a downward trend in sales overall, newer cannabis markets are showing evidence of rapid growth. New Mexico adult-use sales went live in April 2022, and as of Nov. 7, the state has topped cannabis sales records for the last four months, through October, which netted $40 million. New Jersey’s adult-use sales also went into effect in April this year, and sold $80 million in cannabis within the first 10 weeks. In 2022 fiscal year earnings, the state of Nevada collected nearly $1 billion in sales.

The post Cooking With Cannabis Class in Colorado Fights Stigma, Promotes Education appeared first on High Times.

DIY Weed Gummies

As the cannabis industry continues to rapidly evolve, many cannabis professionals end up embracing associations with the coveted plant as a career due to the impact it’s had on their wellness journeys. This rings true for multidisciplinary creative director, author, and cannabis cook Monica Lo, who will release her new cannabis cookbook, The Weed Gummies Cookbook: Recipes for Cannabis Candies, THC and CBD Edibles, and More on Aug. 30.

Lo dabbled with cannabis in college, but her journey with the botanical shifted in 2015, when she suffered a herniated spinal disk during a high-intensity boot camp workout. Mirroring the myriad sentiments from people working to treat their pain, Lo recalled the prescribed mixture of opioids and acetaminophen that “wrecked” her stomach and made her situation “so much worse.”

At her wit’s end, she said she tried an edible given to her by her roommate and slept like a log. From that day forward, she knew she had to figure out how to make her own cannabis-infused edibles.

“Since we lived in a strict no-smoking building, I needed to be discreet about the wafting scent of cannabis,” Lo said. “This meant I had to rule out the Crockpot method or cooking on the stovetop. At the time, I was a creative director of a sous vide startup and thought I’d put our machines to the test—and it worked!”

Sous vide, which means “under vacuum” in French, is a method of cooking that involves vacuum-sealing food in a bag, then cooking it to a precise temperature in a water bath.

Courtesy of Monica Lo

Using this process, Lo seals cannabis and cooking oil in an airtight bag and places it underwater to create infusions. Infusing the oil in this way prevented the presence of that tell-tale cannabis smell and allowed Lo to use the infused oil as a base to make multiple cannabis dishes at once.

Creating her own edibles allowed Lo to manage her pain and launch her blog, Sous Weed, where she began documenting her experiences and collaborating with others in the industry, such as farmers, cannabis entrepreneurs, chefs, and edible makers.

Regarding her cookbook’s focus on sweets, Lo referenced the impact of the pandemic on medical and recreational edible consumption. Now more than ever, consumers are choosing edibles (largely gummies and candies) over inhalable cannabis.

A report generated by data-analytics firm Headset shows that sales of edibles have continued to grow in popularity, with gummies dominating the 2021 marketplace in California, Colorado, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington state.

“It’s far more cost-effective to make your own infusions and treats at home, especially as dispensary prices are on the rise,” Lo said. “Edibles are a low barrier to entry—everyone eats, and who doesn’t love sweets? Dispensary edibles often have preservatives to extend their shelf life. When you DIY, you can make your edibles without the commercial preservatives and also customize the dosage to your body’s needs.”

Lo’s publishers fully supported her creative vision. In addition to writing the book, Lo designed it herself and shot all of the food photography. The recipes draw upon classic, nostalgic flavors, including a few inspirations drawn from her Asian-American heritage.

Courtesy of Monica Lo

“I was pregnant when I signed the book deal, and I delivered the manuscript the same week I delivered my son,” Lo said. “It truly was a labor of love.”

Lo recognizes that many consumers are interested in learning more about cannabis-infused cooking, but might feel intimidated. She points out that many recipes in the cookbook don’t require special equipment—and her alcohol-based cannabis tinctures don’t require cooking at all.

The Weed Gummies Cookbook is made to be accessible for all levels, and the book is set up by different types of confections. Gummies are by far the easiest; hard candies and brittles require more practice to perfect,” she said.

While many folks might opt to head to their nearest dispensary for edibles, Lo points to the many advantages of cooking at home, aside from saving a bit of cash. Novice home cooks creating their own edibles can control their dose and go beyond dosage limits enforced in dispensaries. Cooking at home also allows people to get strain-specific by using their favorite flower rather than being limited to what the dispensary has in stock, and the options open up immensely.

“Plus, it’s always nice to gift homemade cannabis treats for special occasions and holidays,” Lo said.

Cooking with cannabis also comes with additional considerations, like childproofing and safety labeling, but Lo has that covered in her new cookbook too, with an additional section for educational resources. This section encourages readers to shop responsibly and support BIPOC cannabis brands and organizations.

“I think it’s so important for us to understand the history of cannabis, not just the origins but also how communities of color in the U.S. have been disproportionately harmed by the War on Drugs,” Lo said. “There are far too many people still incarcerated for nonviolent cannabis offenses while so many others are building immense wealth off this plant.”

Lo will also donate a portion of The Weed Gummies Cookbook proceeds to the Last Prisoner Project, an organization dedicated to cannabis criminal justice reform.

As a special treat for High Times, Lo shared the cookbook’s recipe for gemstone gummies, based on a Japanese rock candy called kohakutou.

“It’s a stunning-looking treat with a crunchy exterior and gummy center,” Lo said. “You can really have fun and get artsy by swirling around your favorite colors. Once the gummy is cured, it will form a crystallized crust and look like a gemstone.”

Courtesy of Monica Lo

Gemstone Gummies

Makes 32 pieces


  • 8-inch square baking pan
  • Fine-mesh strainer
  • Toothpicks
  • Disposable gloves


3 cups granulated sugar

6 teaspoons agar-agar powder

2 cups cold water

1/4 cup cannabis-infused sugar*

1/2 teaspoon super-strength candy flavoring of your choice

Food coloring of your choice


1. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with a sheet of parchment paper. Crease the corners along the inside edges and leave a 1-inch overhang on each side of the pan. Lightly coat with nonstick spray.

2. Add the granulated sugar, agar-agar powder, and water to a medium saucepan and stir with a silicone spatula to combine.

3. Turn the heat to medium and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 8 minutes to activate the agar-agar and thicken the mixture, stirring often. Remove from the heat and add the cannabis-infused sugar and your candy flavoring of choice, stirring until the sugar has dissolved into the mixture.

4. Pour the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into the prepared baking pan. Using toothpicks dipped in food coloring, make colorful swirls in the mixture while still warm. Transfer to the fridge to cool until firm, 1 to 2 hours.

5. Remove from the pan by pulling on the parchment paper. Slice the slab into eight 1-inch strips. Wearing disposable gloves, roughly rip the gummies into 1 x 2-inch pieces and place onto a parchment paper–lined baking sheet.

6. Allow to dry in the open air at room temperature for two to four days, rotating sides each day, until a hard sugar crust has crystallized on the exterior. Store in an airtight container or candy bags for up to a month.

*The cannabis-infused sugar recipe can be found in The Weed Gummies Cookbook by Monica Lo. Pre-order available anywhere books are sold.

Excerpted from The Weed Gummies Cookbook by Monica Lo, courtesy of Ulysses Press.

This article appears in the July 2022 issue of High Times. Subscribe here.

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