Tomorrow, that’s January 10th at 7:30 p.m., chef Andrea Drummer brings her brand new cookbook Cannabis Cuisine: Bud Pairings of a Born Again Chef right into our cozy little bookshop. (And Jeff Sessions can’t do anything about it.) Here’s an introductory chat with this cutting edge culinary artist.
Eric Larkin – You’re a Cordon Bleu chef; that’s the apex. How did your passion for food develop? Was there a particular moment when you knew you wanted to be a chef?
Andrea Drummer – I have always been creative in the kitchen and had an interest in cooking at a very early age. Even as a young person, I would return from a “date” and recreate the menu items. I didn’t understand then that I had an advanced palette. I assumed everyone could identify specific spices and herbs. To that end, I had never considered it as a career option. It wasn’t until I committed to a career revamp that I seriously gave thought to the things that gave me complete solace and satisfaction. The choices were food or fashion. Culinary won out.
EL – Great timing on Cannabis Cuisine. I know this kind of cooking has been growing, but is there anyone else at your level doing this? How did you start down this particular path?
AD – There certainly are a good number of well-versed chefs in the industry that are instrumental in moving the agenda of cannabis cuisine and the normalization there of. The push for me was understanding the medicinal benefits and how substantially more beneficial the properties are when ingested in edibles (vs. smoking or vaping). After some time in the kitchen and developing sciatica and other lifestyle altering pains, shifting to cooking with cannabis was an easy sell. That coupled with my disdain for prescription medications. I’d been given tons of painkillers and the like, and they would all end up in the trash. I thought that I would be confined to a life of chronic pain. I’m glad I was wrong.
EL – It seems like cannabis is extremely versatile. When I look through the slideshow at the website for your company Elevation VIP, I see an incredible variety of dishes (and no brownies). Can you compare it to another type of food, in terms of the many ways it’s useful? Or is it pretty unique?
AD – I simply regard it as any other medicinal herb, plant, or spice that we’ve championed. Turmeric. Ginger. Chamomile. Ginseng, etc. From that perspective, I pair the different terpenes with appropriate flavor profiles of dishes. Some things are more experimental than others, but there’s definitely a science to it all. Its uniqueness is only as good as the artist, but the potential of infusing is boundless.
EL – For your average person, could it ever be as simple as heading down to Trader Joe’s to grab some bud for dinner? Or is selecting the perfect Ingredient more complicated than that – like the way sushi chefs go to the fresh fish market and hand select every fish?
AD – I think the future is inclusive of every aspect of cannabis cuisine. I’m not a sushi chef, so I research the best and dine at their establishment, while another consumer may choose Gelson’s over Trader Joe’s pre-prepared rolls. There’s absolutely room for pre-packaged store items, fine dining, catering services and your own personal in-house chef.
EL – As a chef, do you have any cooking advice for someone like me, who cooks a lot, out of necessity, but isn’t really all that excited about it? Is there a way to ease into a deeper appreciation of the culinary arts?
AD – That’s a tough one. While innately I’d want give you a piece of great advice to help you embrace the process, the fact is that some people just don’t like it. I cooked for my sisters recently, and my youngest sister looked on with fascination. Finally, she said that it’s unreal to her how engrossed I am with preparing food and the many steps I “add”. Ha! When the truth is that we’ve over time taken much liberty and far too many shortcuts in preparing food. So I guess to embrace the process one first has to fall in love with the ingredients and the possibilities. I’d rather create a bbq sauce than buy a bottled one. The idea of knowing every ingredient that goes into that pot and the steps I took to make it excites me in a way that’s unnatural for some people. Ha!
Food and weed. Are you cool or what? See you Wednesday night at 7:30.