California chef brings cannabis to fine dining

As California prepares for the possible legalization of recreational marijuana in November, Los Angeles-based chef Chris Sayegh is on a pioneering mission to take haute cuisine to a higher place with his cannabis infused menus. Sayegh, who is 23 years-old and cut his teeth in the kitchens of top restaurants in New York and California, explains that infusing cannabis into his recipes creates a whole new experience for diners. SOUNDBITE Chef Chris Sayegh saying (English): “To me, this is a cerebral experience. Whether you are choosing to intoxicate yourself with wine and have a different perception which is what alcohol does. And then cannabis is doing the same thing, you’re eating with a different perception with each bite, with each course, you’re literally changing your brain chemistry and you are viewing this food differently than you did five minutes ago, ten minutes ago.” Edible marijuana products are nothing new and the market for them has evolved into a multi-million dollar industry. Cannabis dining, on the other hand, is a relatively new concept and Sayegh wants to bring it to the masses. SOUNDBITE Chef Chris Sayegh saying (English): “You’ll never taste the cannabis in my cooking unless I specifically want you to taste it and it’s because it’s not a pleasant taste. And also, tasting that oil, you really…it throws off the whole flavor of the dish.” A typical first course of carrot confit gnocchi with cannabis infused pea emulsion, a main course of New York strip steak with parsnip puree and a medicated red wine reduction. And for dessert, there was a sticky toffee pudding with toasted coconut and medicated chocolate. Sayegh stages pop up banquets around Los Angeles and further afield with a cost per head of between 20 to 200, depending on the menu.

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