Charles Karel Bouley II
Edibles just got upgraded to the top of the Foodie chain and in the process are making a celebrity chef out of their innovative creator. In The 420 Gourmet The Elevated Art of Cannabis Cuisine; (Harper Wave) by JeffThe420Chef the food is the star, not the high, and Cannabis becomes just another ingredient and not the focus of the flavor.
Focusing on Canna-cooking wasn't something Jeff had on his hot list of things to do with his life and career. As we sat talking for #CannabisCorner on my TV show Karel: Life In Segments; it became clear this started as a labor of love.
"The jury is no longer out on whether or not Cannabis can help with a variety of medical conditions and issues," JeffThe420Chef started. "And that's what really got me in to it very discreetly," he continued. "A friend of mine, her mother started going through cancer and all that goes with it: the nausea, the inability to eat, the pain...and the drugs for these just made it worse. So, we wanted to explore edibles," he added.
And that's when Jeff discovered the biggest complaint in the edible community: the taste of the cannabis often overwhelms the dish; and the second biggest problem, inconsistent dosing. But how to solve it?
Solve it he does through a new way to process the cannabis that will become the oil or butter that will make the dish medicated without tasting like medication.
Photo credit: Leela Cyd
"The 420 Gourmet" breaks it down from the beginning and teaches the home chef how to prepare, how to control the dosage and how to make food that will hold up to the toughest Foodie scrutiny that also will allow you to function after dinner and make it through dessert.
"I learned about micro dosing along the way, a way to medicate in a variety of dishes and ways throughout the day that won't overwhelm, and also about using different strains of cannabis for different infusions and results," he continued.
The book is full of easy to understand recipes that elevate edibles to Top Chef status and signals the normalizing of cannabis in world culture. While states still wrestle on recreational use, every day new research shows what doctors prior to the 1930s knew, which is Cannabis and its derivations can assist in a host of medical conditions. And as for recreational some may want a glass of wine after dinner, others may enjoy Maple Cream Canna-Puffs or a slice of Poundin' Amaretto Pound Cake (both in the book).
And the book is a journey. It starts with Butters & Oils, the basics of canna-cooking. It then moves to Sauces and Dips, Breakfast and Brunch, Small Plates, Appetizers, Soups, Salads and Sides, Vegetarian Mains, Meat and Fish Mains, Pasta, Breads, Sweets, Snacks and the final chapter on entertaining. It's a tome that may prove to be as historic as Julia Child's Art of French Cooking; to the acceptance of cannabis as another ingredient in the kitchen like any other.
JeffThe420Chef is passionate about two things: cooking and helping people feel better through food.
"Food IS medicine, as we know," he added. "The concept of food as medicine is as old as, well, food. Many modern-day medicines are derived from plants, from foods and the combination of both for me has been the most rewarding thing ever," he said.
The book is a must if you use medical cannabis and enjoy cooking. It's a revelation for those that think brownies, cookies or other such sweets are the only way to consume edibles. On the contrary, JeffThe420Chef makes everything from Hummus to Latkes, Beet and Watermelon Salad to Sweet Mango Rice, Whacky Mac & Cheese to Coconut Curry Chicken.
To date I have not seen a more comprehensive, professional, informative cook book utilizing Cannabis that takes the food as seriously as the medical conditions the eating of it helps. And once Cannabis is legal in all 50 states, these recipes and the process for the Cannabis to remove the harsh flavor will become the gold standard for Canna-cooking with JeffThe420Chef being the first, albeit reluctant, Celebrity Cannabis Chef.