Thanks to the new techniques of modern cuisine, cannabis has crept into haute cuisine kitchens to let us enjoy its organoleptic qualities in a new sensory dimension. With the help of private chef Xavi Petit’s creative cuisine and the Hash Marihuana & Hemp Museum, enjoy a delicious gastronomic trip with cannabis!
Cooking is more fashionable than ever. There are more and more foodies out there, and the trend extends to cannabis users and enthusiasts. As a result, our appreciation for gastronomy has improved considerably. We are increasingly aware of what is delicious and nutritionally healthy, in addition to being more critical and demanding of the products we eat and how they are presented to us.
With new culinary techniques of modern cuisine, cannabis has crept into haute cuisine kitchens in a purely recreational role. This allows us to enjoy its organoleptic qualities in a new sensory dimension. Get ready to start using the whipping siphon and the Roner sous-vide cooker to make foam and cannabis-smoked plates or to add terpenes to your dishes. Combining the modern and creative cuisine of chef Xavi Petit, and cannabis expertise of the Hash Marihuana & Hemp Museum, this exhibition will give you the know-how. Meet the chef’s cannabis cuisine menu and enjoy a gastronomic trip with cannabis.
Modern Cannabis Cuisine
Cannabis Cuisine, the exhibition that the Hash & Hemp Marihuana Museum inaugurated on April 20th, 2017 at its Barcelona headquarters, is now on at the museum in Amsterdam. It runs from December 1st 2017 to February 25th 2018. In addition to showing the use of the plant as food since antiquity, the exhibition also explores the relationship between the sensory pleasure of food and the psychedelic enjoyment of cannabis, throughout history.
To push the experience further and put it into practice, the Hash & Hemp Marihuana Museum joined forces with innovative private chef Xavi Petit. Ana Rodriguez, manager of the Barcelona Museum, presented a talk this past October at the World Cannabis Conferences 2017, held during Spannabis Madrid. Chef Xavi Petit attended that talk. Petit and Rodriguez then shared an entertaining and instructive moment getting to know his work, and modern, creative culinary proposals, to prepare haute cuisine cannabis menus.
Contrary to typical brownies and cookies, which are known and made all over the world, the use of the plant in modern cuisine is not limited to a recreational component in recipes. Nor is it limited to hemp as a superfood, which is used in flour, oils, etc. The plant and its wide range of varieties offer us a world of culinary possibilities that allow new flavours and aromas in our dishes – especially today, thanks to the techniques and tools currently used in modern cooking.
Xavi Petit, a Very Creative Private Cannabis Chef
The work of chef Xavi Petit embodies all of the above when he incorporates cannabis in his recipes: the recreational aspect, the nutritive and gastronomical pleasures, both visual and gustatory. This restless chef – who has a long career as a chef and entrepreneur – has been working as a private chef for 7 years in Ibiza. He now also runs an agency in Formentera (the island next to Ibiza), called Marewa, which offers all kinds of private gastronomic services. The cannabis cooking services he provides are only a fraction of his work.
The logical progression is that a modern-day chef, who has also been a cannabis user for a long time, goes further in incorporating cannabis to his cuisine. And that is what Xavi did. After studying and understanding how cannabis is transformed by heat, and how all the organoleptic qualities of the plant could be extracted through a fat made of oil and alcohol, he began to apply this new-found knowledge to the dishes and recipes he was already preparing.
Cannabis Cuisine via mutual agreement
Xavi’s experience in the private sector gives him the opportunity to develop his cannabis cuisine, and offer it to customers. Legally, at the moment, he cannot offer his services in a restaurant or in a club. But privately, it is a service that is given through mutual agreement, in a very personalized way. His cannabis catering always taking into account who will attend, what type of experience they have with cannabis, the ages of the guests. These are fundamental aspects of preparing a menu tailored to the guests.
That is how it all began. Last winter, chef Petit set up a clandestine restaurant in a flat in Barcelona where he organized private dinners, meals and events. Some of those private events had cannabis as a common thread. At the table, a maximum of 12 guests could enjoy the delicious dishes and cannabis cocktails prepared by the chef, while seeing him work in the kitchen.
Pleasant in every respect, the experience is also didactic since all the dishes are presented and explained in detail to the guests. The experience is about understanding and knowing what you eat, what ingredients comprise the dish and what techniques are used to prepare it. “A very familiar atmosphere is created, because you are constantly working with the client and for the client“, explained Xavi Petit at the conference.
Cannabis Menu: Chef’s Suggestions
To prepare his cannabis dishes, the chef gets the raw material through several associations in Barcelona, with which he has different agreements. There are various options: attendees can choose to taste a single variety or many throughout the menu; a terpene can also be used for flavouring the dish. Similarly, the use of THC and CBD can vary throughout the menu.
The techniques are also quite diverse. Cannabis can be infused in oil, for which the chef not only uses the flower, but the whole plant, including the stem and any waste. To flavour the dishes, Petit uses the terpenes contained in the leaves of the plant, both dry and fresh.
For the safety and peace of mind of all attendees, the chef and his team test all the cannabis used for cooking, to determine how much to incorporate. As each plant is completely different, the final result is never the same. The chef recommends that whenever cannabis is used for cooking, it should be tested before being served. This is very important because the effects of ingested cannabis can be felt more intensely.
All cannabis dinners begin with a cocktail, followed by an aperitif at the bar. There begins the delicious gastronomic and recreational experience that guests will enjoy through Xavi’s modern, creative and recreational cannabis cuisine.
Here are some of the chef’s interesting and delicious suggestions, along with a short introduction to the use of some of the most used modern techniques in cuisine:
Cocktail: Pina Calada (Soaked Pineapple)
This version of the famous Pina Colada produces a solid cocktail. The rum is infused with lemongrass and fresh vacuum-packed buds, a technique allowing for a controlled temperature and no loss of scent. Infused at 55 degrees centigrade for one hour, the mix is then kept in the refrigerator for 3 days to keep the fresh buds from fermenting.
The chef shows us how the vacuum bags are submerged in a cooking thermos or Roner – which can nowadays be acquired at very affordable prices. The rum is then strained and used to infuse the vacuum-packed pineapple to prevent it from losing its texture. When making a vacuum with a liquid and a fruit, we get rid of the air and let the liquid soak the fruit, without changing its usual appearance.
The infused pineapple is accompanied by coconut milk foam which has been infused with the leaves and gelatine, all made directly in the Roner, which according to the chef “is very easy to use.” The pineapple is set at a temperature of about 70/80 degrees to dissolve the gelatine; it is then strained, put in the whipping siphon, which is charged a couple of times to make some foam, and then served.
Although there are different types of vacuum food packaging machines, sous-vide vacuum machines yield the best results. However, these are only made for professional kitchens due to their size and high prices.
A Roner is used for vacuum cooking at low temperatures. Created by the great Joan Roca, this very popular tool is regularly used by modern chefs. This cooking technique respects the natural structure of the food. There is no evaporation or dilution of the flavours. Food is cooked in its own juice, which accentuates its taste and that of the condiments used, and the absence of oxygen prevents oxidation.
The chef also describes another very easy and quick way to aromatize alcohols by using the whipping siphon – one of the most used devices in modern cuisine. In this case, everything is placed directly in the siphon, two fast charges are prepared, one to extract the air and the other to extract liquids. Once there is no more air, all the solids can be removed. The result is a very quick aromatization which leaves a fresh aroma.
Starter: Happy Chicken Eggs
This delicious starter consists of eggs cooked at a low temperature with sobrassada parmentier, crystallized honey and sobrassada crumbs. To make this dish, the chef uses the oldest and most basic technique, the decarboxylation of the cannabis bud or flower. After the flowers are well ground, they are put on a tray and into the oven at a temperature between 115-120 degrees (not higher, to prevent the cannabis from burning) for about 30-40 minutes. The purpose is to activate the cannabinoids, including THC.
Cannabis can be incorporated in different dish elements with two different techniques, although the chef recommends the use of only one technique per meal. For example, honey can be infused with cannabis by using soy lecithin, which makes it emulsify much more and gives it a very different texture, and sous-vide packed at 80 degrees for about one hour. The result is THC-infused honey.
The same technique can be used for all types of oils, butters and fats. In the case of Ibizan sobrassada, which has lots of fat, the chef separates it and infuses it with cannabis, to be added to the meat later. The result: a regular-looking sobrassada, but with “different” taste and effects.
Main Dish: CBD
We arrive at the main course of the menu. Chef Petit offers us a low-temperature lamb dish with sweet potato puree and a demi-glace – fat reduction in cooking sauces and bone juices. He has called this dish “CBD” because of the elements of which it is made: lamb (cordero), pumpkin, sweet potato (boniato), demi-glace, and of course, CBD.
Something very important to keep in mind – and that chef Petit never forgets when making his menus – is the progression in the concentration of cannabinoids in the menu dishes, based on the levels of THC and CBD. Both the chef and the guests want to be able to go home walking quietly, after having enjoyed a great evening. Hence, it is recommended to leave the part of the menu with higher THC content for the beginning of the meal and then lower the dose.
In fact, we are used to the opposite, to ingest the cannabis incorporated in desserts. And that is fine if one does it at home or at a friend’s place under one’s own responsibility, but not in foreign premises. So, what the chef does is incorporate all the THC at the beginning and then reduce the dosage, or simply use CBD directly, as in the case of the lamb. By increasing the amount of CBD in the main dish, the effects of the previously ingested THC are balanced.
The CBD not only blends with the lamb, but with the lamb’s remaining juices, the vegetables and bone broth. Using these, the demi-glace is made. This mix yields a black and very concentrated sauce. We can use cocoa butter with CBD instead of regular butter when mixing the demi-glace. That way, there will be CBD in the lamb and in the sauce. To finish his dish, the chef smokes the leftovers of the plant, like the leaves, with the smoke bell.
Although the protein used in the dish is meat, which makes it unsuitable for vegetarians or vegans, it can be replaced with something else. Cannabis can be incorporated in any food using the same techniques.
Dessert: Enchanted Forest
Dessert is always the sweetest moment of the menu. In this case, chocolate. In addition to having a delicious appearance, it is a visually beautiful dish, like all the other dishes the chef has been showing us; meals full of colours and textures that make up a very artistic and suggestive composition.
There is something else that the chef tries to maintain throughout the menu. Dishes that contain more THC and that, consequently, produce more cerebral effects, need to taste less like cannabis. To contrast with this, he tries to ensure that all the dishes having less of this psychoactive substance, like dessert, have a strong cannabis taste. This is achieved with terpenes, of which many kinds can now be found.
This beautiful Enchanted Forest is made with regular classic sponge cake with terpenes, which is frosted with a whipping siphon and is cooked in the microwave. The result is a kind of moss, with a strong fresh weed smell. What resembles sand is a crumble made with carob flour and caramelized hemp seeds with cocoa. The final product is a dessert low in psychoactive substances that tastes a lot like cannabis, to finish the meal calmly, relaxed and in control.
Farewell: Laughter Cigarillo
To end the evening and just before dismissing the guests, the chef designed an amusing trompe l’oeil – a very fashionable term in today’s cuisine, and which is nothing more than a dish that is not what it seems to be. This little Laughter Cigarillo has cannabis coconut oil, which is a little stronger, mixed with chocolate sand and chocolate Pop Rocks. When one eats it, it explodes in the mouth.
The paper with which the Laughter Cigarillo is made imitates transparent cellulose paper, but in reality, it is obulato. This is a type of paper that is used by the pharmacies in Japan to wrap medicines. It is pure potato starch, which melts at the slightest contact with any liquid. The nozzle is like a mass of cloud, cut to look like a filter. The cigarillo is eaten in one bite, and has a rather sweet taste due to the chocolate and cannabis oil. You put it in your mouth and it disappears. Undoubtedly, Xavi Petit’s guests go home with a great taste in their mouths and with an excellent memory of this recreational experience, to the fullest extent of the word.
Creative and Recreational Cannabis Cuisine
Since the closure of the apartment restaurant last winter, chef Xavi Petit works in Ibiza and Formentera with his events company. There he continues to give free rein to his creativity, and to use cannabis to innovate in the kitchen. What this chef has taught us is that cannabis cuisine can become serious. It can be taken to a different level, in which new modern cooking techniques allow us to enjoy everything that the cannabis plant offers on culinary and recreational levels.
From a delicious cannabis mojito to rustic dishes, such as a quinoa salad with hemp seeds and oil or a cannabis gazpacho, “once you know and understand how to use oil or butter, you only have to incorporate it in the recipes you already know,” Xavi tells us at the conference.
Hesitate no longer! You too can be creative in the kitchen and enjoy the new flavours, aromas, colours and textures of your cannabis dishes. Incorporate terpenes, smokes, foams and other new cannabis culinary techniques in your recipes. Discover new cannabis flavours that are more elegant and refined, thanks to the new cuisine.