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Marijuana's role in creating a new kind of cuisine

x021The piece explains how marijuana is inspiring chefs and restaurants to create a new kind of cuisine, making its claim after interviewing "a handful of chefs [who] are unabashedly open about marijuana's role in their creative and recreational lives and its effect on their restaurants.


Pot does at least two things to the restaurant experience: It inspires creativity in the kitchen, and it stimulates the appetite for a certain kind of food. No less an authority than chef and author Anthony Bourdain gives examples of places serving such food for the "slightly stoned, slightly drunk chef after work," as he puts it. There's Au Pied de Cochon's poutine of foie gras, Crif Dogs' deep-fried cheese-steak hot dog, and "the entire genre of mutant-hot-dog stands."

Marijuana&Kitchen Culture

“Everybody smokes dope after work,” said Anthony Bourdain, the author and chef who made his name chronicling drugs and debauchery in professional kitchens. “People you would never imagine.”

So while it should not come as a surprise that some chefs get high, it’s less often noted that drug use in the kitchen can change the experience in the dining room.

In the 1980s, cocaine helped fuel the frenetic open kitchens and boisterous dining rooms that were the incubators of celebrity chef culture. Today, a small but influential band of cooks says both their chin-dripping, carbohydrate-heavy food and the accessible, feel-good mood in their dining rooms are influenced by the kind of herb that can get people arrested.



So while it should not come as a surprise that some chefs get high, it’s less often noted that drug use in the kitchen can change the experience in the dining room.

In the 1980s, cocaine helped fuel the frenetic open kitchens and boisterous dining rooms that were the incubators of celebrity chef culture. Today, a small but influential band of cooks says both their chin-dripping, carbohydrate-heavy food and the accessible, feel-good mood in their dining rooms are influenced by the kind of herb that can get people arrested.

 

Stoned Kerean food

Roy Choi, who owns the fleet of Kogi Korean taco trucks in Los Angeles, likens the culinary culture that has grown up around marijuana to the one that rose up around the Grateful Dead years ago. Then, people who attended the band’s shows got high and shared live music. Now, people get high and share delicious, inventive and accessible food.

“It’s good music, maybe a little weed and really good times and great food that makes you feel good,” he said.

“We’re not like Cypress Hill,” Mr. Choi said, referring to a rap group known for being outspoken advocates of pot use. “It’s not like a campaign to make food out of hemp, but it is a culture. It’s a vibe we have.”



Mr. Choi, who recently opened his first restaurant, Chego!, said he uses marijuana to keep his creativity up and to squeeze in quick breaks in the midst of 17-hour workdays.

“In the middle of a busy day, I’ll smoke,” he said. “Then I’ll go to the record store and hang out and clear my mind or pop into a matinee movie and then come back to the streets.”  

Wake and bake

Duane Sorenson, the founder of the coffee roaster Stumptown, said that fat buds of marijuana often end up in the tip jar at his shops.

“It goes hand in hand with a cup of coffee,” he said. “It’s called wake and bake. Grab a cup of Joe and get on with it.”



Yet this is not the ’70s stoner culture of a thousand basement rec rooms, with chefs sprawled on the floor saying, “Dude, where’s my entree?” Some of the haute stoners claim that marijuana gives them an intense focus.

“We smoke quote-unquote the working man’s weed,” Mr. Falcinelli said. Mr. Castronovo added: “I’m not spacey at all. It gives me energy.”

For many out there, the good ‘ol wake and bake is a tried and true method of getting through the day. Some people, feel the need to give their brains a handicap in order to handle their unchallenging jobs. The unemployed, on the other hand, might feel the need to immediately get stoned after waking up in order to handle their unchallenging lives.

While employed folk have to carefully balance how they act and what they say while high, the unemployed have nothing to get in their way of enjoying a little escape now and then. It’s not to say that all unemployed people are stoners, most probably don’t have any desire or means to smoke, but sometimes, after waking up at 2pm and “accidentally stumbling upon” their roommate’s stash, they might just feel like they have nothing to lose by firin’ it up.

"Ganja Gourmet" - Marijuana Restaurant In Denver



It all started when the real estate market collapsed last year. Horowitz had been making and selling fridge magnets for realtors, but when bankruptcy loomed, he decided to get into marijuana.

"Once I started checking out dispensaries, I realized no one was specializing in edibles. I love to eat marijuana -- it's a much better buzz, it's a much different buzz, a more alert buzz. And I'm a restaurant connoisseur, so I decided to get a license and open up and have the best edibles around."



Horowitz has developed an extensive menu of marijuana-based munchies, ranging from lasagna to jambalaya, with a $12 white sauce panama red pizza, the "green" green salad at $7, $4 for the chocolate peanut butter cookies, or $8 if you just want a simple pre-rolled joint to puff with your pastry.

But all this reefer madness isn't creating a wild, nightclub-like atmosphere or anything, as Horowitz explains: "Our main objective is not to create a party restaurant, but to improve our patients' lives," he says. "That's why we've opened up this fun, social place where they can meet other people with ailments."



He adds there is even a financial aid program in place through which Ganja Gourmet can provide for people with disabilities and veterans.

With an estimated 65,000 medical marijuana licensees in Colorado, you would think there would be pandemonium at the most exciting establishment on Reefer Row, particularly since Ganja Gourmet stays open until 9 p.m., two hours after the dispensaries close up. Not quite, says Horowitz: "They're not banging the door down yet. There may be 10 to 15 people a day at this point -- it's not mind-blowing."


source
http://www.nytimes.com
http://www.slate.com
http://www.asylum.com

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