Like many other herbs, cannabis is a food-friendly plant that is full of aromas, flavours, and nutrition. Whether you’re planning to cook with CBD or THC, there are several techniques that you can use to ensure your infused foods turn out well after baking, mixing, and heating. Inspired by his own experience, the “Stoner Chef” (as he is now known) started his journey of cannabis infused food looking for a cure for his chronic pain.
Danny Raposo followed his father’s footsteps and pursued a career in the food industry, but has developed his own very particular characteristics as a chef. Danny and his family, who are Guinness Record holders in the culinary arts, have served Danny’s food at many major events. With his participation on the first season of Master Chef Canada, Danny finally got the national exposure he deserved. Also an entrepreneur, the chef was once again in the spotlight with his participation on Dragon’s Den, showing his creative talent and presenting a branded food truck to the Dragons. We talked with him about the secrets of cooking with cannabis and how to safely introduce this herb to our barbecues.
Milénio Stadium: You started cooking cannabis infused food about 12 years ago. Can you describe this personal experience that inspired you to include this ingredient in your dishes?
Danny Raposo: I was addicted and abusing my pharmaceutical pain killers. One day, a friend baked peanut butter cookies that were made with cannabis butter. I didn’t know that they had cannabis in them and ate 3 of the cookies. Each one was 300mg, so in total 900mg. Well, it was the worst feeling in the world once it all kicked in, but in the morning I felt unbelievable. No pain whatsoever, didn’t have to take any pharmaceuticals the next day or two. It was at this point I decided to try to use this to my advantage. So I started with very low milligrams and worked my way up. Low and slow for the beginners.
MS: What benefits can we get from cannabis / THC edibles?
DR: There are many different benefits from using cannabis and hemp. To name just a few, it helps with stress, depression, inflammation, swelling, ADD (attention deficit disorder), cancer and many more. I can go on and on.
MS: When we speak of cannabis infused food, we often think of THC. However, CBD is also popular for its benefits. When you cook, can you choose to include only THC, CBD or even balance the levels of both?
DR: Great question, everyone’s body is different. As for myself, I use many different cannabinoids within the plant. I start my mornings with a CBD 100mg and CBG 100mg breakfast. Like, some scrambled eggs with a little THC 25mg butter on my toast. Then I will have a little CBD 200mg lunch, like a quick chicken breast and vegetables, then at night I take a heavy THC 250mg and CBN 100mg dinner. Like a nice healthy pasta made with a cannabis pesto. Start all over again the next day.
MS: Do you usually work with the cannabis plant itself or use oils and extracts as well?
DR: I use the whole plant. So that means, from the bottom (roots) to the top (flowers) and everything in between (leaves, sticks, steams). But I also use the extracts and oils for more potent foods and medicine. You can consume it in many different forms.
MS: When cooking, can you use the same leaves people use to smoke or is there a specific grade of weed for culinary purposes?
DR: Yes, of course you can use the flowers (buds) to cook with. There is no cannabis grade for cooking. You can cook with the whole plant. There are many different cannabinoids in the plant that are for different illnesses. I cook with the roots and it helps me with my inflammation and swelling in my bones.
MS: This week, we are exploring barbecues. So, how would you integrate cannabis, THC or CBD in different barbecue recipes?
DR: I love the BBQ. It’s a tricky thing when making cannabis BBQ. If you are not a trained person in cooking with cannabis, I would recommend using the oven. You must keep the temperature needed not to burn off the medicinal purposes. I will use the sear and indirect method. For instance, if I was making burgers from scratch, I would use a THC and CBD olive oil in the burger meat mix. I would get my grill as hot as possible, turn it to low and sear both sides of the burgers. 2 minutes tops. Then move them to the end of the BBQ where one of the burners is off. Set the BBQ temperature to 350ºF and close the lid. Once the burger has hit the temperature needed (medium), remove the burger and let it rest for 3 minutes and serve with your favourite ingredients.
MS: Can anyone cook cannabis-infused food at home? From your experience, what safety recommendations and advice do you leave?
DR: I would recommend doing your research first if you don’t know how to use cannabis in food. This is very important. You can really get sick if you consume too much of it at a time. Low and slow is the best way to start. Please contact someone like myself about how to go about getting cannabis into your daily routines.