Haute cuisine is going green: Mindy Segal, a James Beard Award-winning chef, is creating a line of high-end marijuana edibles.
Segal, who won outstanding pastry chef in 2012 from the James Beard Foundation and runs Chicago's highly praised Hot Chocolate Restaurant, announced she's partnering with massive Illinois cannabis cultivator Cresco Labs to bring a line of fancy edibles to medical marijuana dispensaries around Illinois, where the state just approved 3,600 new medical marijuana patients, and five additional states.
Looking at a February distribution kickoff, the first round of products includes chocolate brittle bars, infused granola bites and an infused chocolate drink — one of Segal's specialties.
The demand for weed edibles is increasing since states began legalizing recreational marijuana in 2012. "It really won't be long until it becomes part of haute cuisine and part of respectable culinary culture, instead of just an illegal doobie in the backyard," said Ken Albala, director of the food-studies program at the University of the Pacific in San Francisco, according to the New York Times.
But this isn't just a party upgrade. Segal, who suffers from chronic migraines and back pain, she sees this as a way to bring relief to patients with chronic illness — and provide a service the current edibles market doesn't offer. "Imagine what we can do for people who have cancer and no appetite, or epilepsy and seizures," Segal told Mic. "I find that extremely interesting. That's part of why I'm doing it: I just want to help people."
"Imagine what we can do for people who have cancer and no appetite, or epilepsy and seizures," Segal told Mic.
The process, Segal said, is still in the ideation stage, and she hasn't even started with the tough part. While most edibles are cooked with butter, Cresco has a state-of-the-art facility that can extract THC oil for cooking. But now Segal has to figure out the right ratio of ingredients.
"The challenge of using butter and not having a science lab, so to speak, is not knowing the perfect dosage for the right amount of effects," Segal told Mic. "We need to find the correct strain of flower to get the right combo of CBD [cannabidiol] to THC. This is different than recreational. We're getting down to milligram portions, so someone with a prescription will know exactly what they're ingesting per dosage. Aside from that, it has to be phenomenally tasty."
For now, you'll have to stick with Segal's non-THC-infused desserts if you don't have a medical marijuana card. Currently, recreational marijuana use is illegal in Illinois.