The 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."
“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.
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.”
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.”
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."