THIS ARTICLE FIRST APPEARED IN THE PHOENIX NEW TIMES
It used to be that the goal with cannabis was to mask the taste, but in the hands of trained chefs, cannabis is being celebrated as an ingredient in gourmet cuisine and elevated in epicurean edibles.
Throughout the country foodies are taking gourmet dinners and events to a higher level as the popularity of culinary cannabis events grows. Marijuana dinner parties aren’t’ new, private chefs have been doing them for years, but with continued legislation legalizing cannabis they’re coming out of the culinary shadows. In major cities throughout the United States its not hard to find multi-course dinners with cannabis infused into haute cuisine. As demand continues to grow, it’s easy to envision a time when cannabis dinners are as common as wine dinners.
Cannabis Culinary Events
For 4/20, several cannabis foodie events are planned in Phoenix.
Cloth & Flame, the private catering company known for its experiential dining in the desert launches the first dinner in its new Verde Series on April 20 and 21 in downtown Phoenix.
The Homegrown dinner designed in partnership with Copperstate Farms, home to the largest cannabis greenhouse in the country at 40 acres under glass, celebrates the plant with a cannabis and culinary extravaganza under the stars in downtown. The five-course meal prepared by Industry trailblazer Chef Teresa Hansen along with Chef Nick Rusticus and the Cloth & Flame culinary team infuses Copperstate Farms cannabis into each course. Chef Hansen is the founder of High Vibe Kitchen Collective and General Manager at Good Things Coming edibles. She has over 10 years experience cooking with cannabis, hemp and other adaptogenic plants.
During the eclectic evening guests will be treated to music from HI-DREAMS and a visual art experience curated by local artists Joey Dougherty and Malia Hee. A portion of ticket sales goes to benefit the Last Prisoner Project, a nonprofit organization focused on cannabis criminal justice reform.
For a less formal foodie event head to the 4/20 Tasting Experience at The Clarendon Hotel and Spa in downtown. Held on the hotel’s hip rooftop, the free cannabis infused tasting features bites prepared by AZ Cannabis Chef Derek Upton. Guests can also sample free dabs from HOLOH Extracts and pre-rolls from 1937 and Elephant Head Farms.
This complimentary sampling event is just the first step in an upcoming robust menu of cannabis related programming at The Clarendon. Expect to see six-course cannabis dinners twice a month at the hotel. Each dinner will focus on a specific wellness theme and feature multiple points of infusion, utilizing terpenes, concentrates and flower. It will be similar to a gourmet wine paired dinner.
Chef Upton is a big believer in the power of the plant after it helped him with a variety of health issues and helped in his journey to lose more than 150 lbs. Through his culinary cannabis Chef Upton is hoping to show others how beneficial the plant is and how marijuana is about way more than getting high.
Prior to starting his own professional chef company, Two Taste, Chef Upton worked at some of Phoenix’s top tables including Café Monarch, Beckett’s Table, Evo and The Breadfruit. His private clients have included Larry Fitzgerald, David Spade, Henry Rollins and Michael Rapaport. He was one of the chefs featured on Netflix’s Cooked with Cannabis.
With cannabis now legal for adult-use, expect to see more culinary events and gourmet-focused cannabis brands hitting the market in the near future.