Cannabis Cooking with Chef Andre

by Shanti
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I met Andre months ago through a mutual friend and colleague. When I discovered he was a cannabis chef my curiosity got the better of me. How could I, with a limited culinary experience, make cannabis edibles at home? So, I reached out to Andre and waited.

I wasn’t looking for edibles I could buy anywhere. I wanted something new, fun, and simple. Something kids wouldn’t be drawn to and something I could store for later use. And most of all a recipe even I could make with ease that tastes great!

After a few months of waiting, Andre said yes.  He would take me through one of his cannabis creations.

Day 1: My Shopping experience

My adventure began with the shopping list. The small town I live in has limited resources so I anticipated running into difficulty. I wanted to replicate the recipe as closely as possible, but there were a few ingredients I was uncertain I’d find. Namely, the rice paper, yuzu lemon candy, and hemp seeds. The pot would be easy to get from my connections.

A trip to the supermarket and a direct line to the chef, put my fears to rest. I found every ingredient except whole hemp seeds and yuzu lemon candy.  Andre gave the go-ahead to replace the yuzu lemon candy with ginger candy which was easy to find and turned out to be a delicious replacement.

Lets Begin

Andre suggested round metal baking pans so I bought two 9-in round pans for baking.

To prepare for the next morning I converted all measurements to the U.S. standard using an online converter. For example, 200 grams of honey is ½ cup + 2 tablespoons.  200 grams of white (powdered) sugar is 1 ½ cups. Since each material has a different density the measurement for each ingredient must be calculated.

Day 2: Cooking

Over the years of marriage, I’ve learned how to boil water and make a few simple dishes my family will eat. Cooking does not come naturally to me. I’d much rather eat at Andre’s restaurant for a fantastic meal. Since that’s not happening anytime soon I’m ready to attempt preparing a gourmet dessert for the upcoming festivities.

Following the recipe (and with some prep-talk from Andre) I combined and heated the ingredients and lined the round pan with parchment and rice paper. When the filling was ready (and after a small taste test) I poured it into the pan and put another rice paper on top.

The top rice paper began to curl up so I reached out to Andre who suggested I use a plate to hold the rice paper edges in place.

No baking, no difficult steps, and delicious. The inclusion of nuts and seeds kept my sugar-crazed kids away. And a good thing. The cannabis content makes this dessert one for the adult crowd only.

While the torrone set I got a chance to discover a bit more about Andre and what makes his cannabis cooking so damn delicious.

Chef Andre

One of the first things I noticed about Andre was his love of cannabis cooking. For Andre, cannabis cooking is more an art than it is anything else. And like an artist, Andre finds inspiration from life in East Westphalia. And from time spent abroad.

In his time as a chef, Andre’s been to more than 20 countries from the Medditterainnian and the Island of Mallorca to the Caribbean and even Vietnam.

But Andre never considered himself a traveler.  “A lot of travelers like to eat their known foods in western-like restaurants and hotels…I am different! I go local! I eat with the people, and what the people eat” Andre told me.

It was during these stays abroad that Andre discovered new flavors to incorporate into his recipes. “In Vietnam, I learned a lot of Asian flavors….fruits and vegetables never known by me before.”

And new uses for spices too. “Cinnamon for example…in western cuisine we use cinnamon mainly in sweet winter dishes….the use of cinnamon as spice started for me during my times in the Caribbean.” Using the knowledge he’s learned from his time living like a local in foreign lands Andre’s been able to create recipes with the right fusion of flavor from around the world.

“Whenever you travel to a country and you eat certain local dishes (best with the locals or even private) you will always keep the taste, the experience in your head. As a chef, I try to tell my life and its flavor experiences on your plate.”

For Andre, it’s about really getting the right flavors together. This includes cannabis.

Andre’s use of cannabis is based on other flavors present in the dish. For some dishes, decarboxylated cannabis throws off the balance. In those recipes, he adds cannabis without the psychotropic active ingredient THC.

For others that flavor is complimentary or can be masked and does not affect the taste of the dish.

Terpenes, Temperature, and Dosing

Another consideration Andre makes when it comes to cannabis cooking is the essence of the flower. Terpenes found in cannabis can come in a variety of flavors from lemon to pine. Knowing how these terpenes alter the flavor of the final dish is something Andre takes seriously.

“Cannabis has a nearly never-ending variety of flavors, not only to smoke, for cooking as well! You won’t find such variety in any other plant….- with cannabis it is different….more comparable to wine with its wide range of flavors, influenced by location, humidity, soil…and the connoisseur of course .”

But in Chef Andre’s world, there’s more to adding cannabis than flavor.  Temperature, mixing and the heating substance matter, Andre tells me.  “For the torrone, I thought of decarboxylating the flower material within the sugar and the honey, but the temperatures are getting too high in the sugar.  It is almost like oil, once it is hot enough it will start to cook itself. I was afraid the high temperatures could burn and destroy cannabinoids, and the short time of cooking wouldn’t be enough to decarboxylate it all and propper. That is the reason why I decided to use it as an herb in this case.”

There is one more consideration. . . the dosage. Andre always creates his recipes with a note on the amount of cannabis used and the number of servings the recipe can make. Every serving has equal shares of cannabis.  No surprises!

Day Four:

The results? Delicious!!! I’m impressed with the ease, the taste, the quality, and the health factor. This nutrient-packed great tasting edible has delivered everything I’ve asked and more. It’s easy to make, adult-only, and storable.

A 10 out of 10.

After having my second piece I feel pretty good about cannabis, cooking, and life in general.

And I believe that’s what Andre intended.

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