Chefs High on Cooking With Cannabis
Culinary creators' main obstacles: harnessing drug's taste, effects
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 29, 2014 12:13 PM CST
In this July 10, 2014, photo, Mike Fitzgerald discusses how to prepare a cannabis-infused cooking oil during a cooking class at the New England Grass Roots Institute in Quincy, Mass.   (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

(Newser) – If someone made kale trendy, someone can make marijuana recipes that taste good. So says former Gourmet editor Ruth Reichl to the New York Times about a growing culinary niche: cooking with cannabis. Adventurous chefs are excited to create novel dining experiences, as are culinary scientists toiling to make pot more palatable and control its mood-changing effects—two of the biggest challenges in cooking with it. Cooking with cannabis won't be totally mainstream until "you can give it to someone and not make them a complete idiot," cookbook author Michael Ruhlman tells the Times. But into the mainstream is where it's coming: Once the domain of the High Times kitchen and insider instructionals like The Stoner's Cookbook, there's now a weed-butter recipe on Gizmodo, a Vice marijuana cooking show, a BuzzFeed recipe listicle, and even a Vogue editor who's cooked with pot.

The movement is growing like a weed, with "major New York publishing houses" considering cannabis-themed cookbooks, and underground pot-infused meals served up by chefs here and abroad, the Times notes. "It really won't be long until it becomes part of haute cuisine and ... respectable culinary culture, instead of just an illegal doobie in the backyard," the director of the food studies program at the University of the Pacific tells the Times. And by appealing to those discriminating diners "to appreciate dishes with marijuana the way one appreciates good bourbon," the Times notes, chefs can capture a lucrative market: The chief executive of The Stoner's Cookbook predicts that $10.2 billion is what the legal pot industry will be worth in five years; edible marijuana could command 40% of that share. (Denver's Ganja Gourmet was one of the first eateries devoted to culinary creations with cannabis.)