The French Laundry of the Weed World?

Pot cookies and brownies are a psychedelic classic at certain kinds of dinner parties. But no one eats them because they taste good. That's why Thrillist's news that the San Francisco Bay Area–based company Cannabis Catering is creating elegant dinner parties with pot in every course blew my mind, brownie-free. How do they make pot-laced food taste so good that people will pay $100 a head for it? I talked to Cannabis Catering's owner "420 Chef," who also runs SF Catering Connection (where he has a proper name), to find out.

Is what you're doing illegal?

No, because everyone I cook for has to have a photo ID and a doctor's recommendation [editor's note: This is tantamount to a "prescription" for medical marijuana], or an actual medical marijuana card. Not just the hosts, but every single guest, too. Before I will even take a deposit, I have to get all the paperwork for all the guests, and no one is allowed in without that paperwork. What I do is get medicine to people who need it, in a really pleasurable way. I'm trying to make awesome food that's healing.

Pot tastes terrible. How do you cover that taste up?

Well, it's not exactly as much about covering it up as it is making it a background note. When you put pot in a cookie, you're trying to put in enough for a person to get high from eating one cookie. When I'm making a four- or five-course dinner, each course is infused. You don't have to have that much in each course in order for you to get a cumulative effect from eating the whole dinner. I do a Guinness-hash demiglace that tastes like Guinness with some sweetness from the mirepoix, and then a tiny tiny hint of the THC. That's what you're looking for, just a hint. You don't want to overpower the dishes.

You put hash in your demiglace?

Yes. That one uses cold-water hash. You make it with a series of strainer bags. The first bag is called the working bag. You throw all your plant matter in there, you put it in a bucket, and you fill the whole thing with ice and cold distilled water. The cold is an extractor.

This is reminding me of fancy cold-infused coffee.

Yes, it's sort of like that. You end up with a powder, which you put into a blender or a burr mixer until you have something as fine as salt or pepper. And you can sprinkle it on food.

Do you put it on the table like salt?

Oh no, no. I wouldn't want to do that. I'm careful about how much THC I put into the foods; I've learned a lot about that with the parties I've done so far. The first one I did, people got so loaded that they literally had to be helped out to their cabs. I want you to be knocked down but I don't want you to not be able to talk or be hallucinating or in a coma with lipstick on your forehead because you can't find your face. If I've done my job correctly, by the end of the dinner party you will have had about three cookies' worth of pot.

So have you gotten more scientific about the amount of pot you use?

Yes. I have recipes now for my pot butter and oils and tinctures. Those are marijuana-laced alcohols. I do an absinthe one, a Patrón, a vodka tincture. I do a wonderful lemon-infused tincture using lemon Bacardi rum and lemon peel. I might do, oh, a crème brûlée with that, put a little of the lemon tincture into the crème anglaise. With maybe a little bit of dried bud on top as a garnish.

Fancy!

How do you think I am getting people to pay $100 per person for the food? I grow my own pot, too. I'm the French Laundry of the weed world. I'm a farmer, too. I'm professional, man!

You also make pot butter?

Yes, I use that for my mashed potatoes, THC butter. I make it in the Crock-Pot. You put in shake, 15 pounds of butter, you turn it on low, add a little canola oil on top, and leave it for four to six hours. When you come back, you have beautiful green butter. It looks great and it tastes great. And oh, I strain it really well before I cook with it. I have a fine chinoise for making French sauces. Some hippies use cheesecloth, and you still get little fragments, but I'm a professional French chef! I know how to keep crap out of my sauces.

Image source: Flickr member Neeta Lind under Creative Commons