Celebrity chef Todd English is making a foray into the regulated cannabis industry with two new varieties of weed-infused mac and cheese. The new products, from the chef, restauranteur and author’s new packaged food brand LeafLink, are now available at select licensed cannabis dispensaries in California.
In a television interview, the James Beard award-winning chef said that he was inspired to start cooking with cannabis more than 10 years ago when his sister was undergoing treatment for breast cancer.
“I saw my sister and a number of my relatives go through horrible cancer,”
The new cannabis-infused mac and cheese products are infused with 10mg of THC isolate, delivering 5mg of the cannabinoid per serving. Two flavors are available including Classic Macaroni & Cheese with cheddar and elbow macaroni and Pasta Shells & White Cheddar. Both are easy to prepare at home with butter and milk, or they can serve as the basis for recipes available on the
English’s business partner at English Hospitality Group, Keith Burkard, said that the two entrepreneurs wanted to create cannabis-infused foods that are a healthier option than traditional marijuana
“The cannabis industry started out with a lot of secondary food groups like drinks, chips, snacks, chocolates, candies,” Burkard said. “We’re introducing primary food group edibles.”
“Consumers are ready for it, but it’s going to take a little bit of time to get embedded into the marketplace,” he added.
More Infused Products Coming Soon
Besides the two varieties of macaroni and cheese, LeafLink also has plans to introduce a cannabis-infused Classic Olive Oil. Pasta sauces and rubs will also be available in the coming months.
“In a world with so many connected components, it is likely we all know someone who has benefited from the cannabinoids in the cannabis plant,”
English gained wide attention in the culinary world when he was selected as the James Beard Foundation’s National Rising Star Chef in 1991. His notoriety as a celebrity chef rose when he took to television with the shows Top Chef and his own series, Food Trip with Todd English on PBS. He is also the founder of the restaurants Olives and Figs, and in 2001 he was named Bon Appetit’s Restaurateur of the Year. Cannabis-infused packaged foods, however, are a new venture for English.
“As a chef for many decades, I’ve been introduced to many cuisines, however cooking with cannabis is a new angle to tackle,” English told Forbes earlier this year. “It’s a fun but very complicated challenge at the end of the day. Finding the perfect balance of terpenes and seasonings that enhances texture and taste while blocking the cannabis flavor definitely took some time, but we did it!”
“I’m trying to merge cannabis and gourmet cuisine, enhancing the dining experience for the cannabis curious foodie,” he added.
The weed-infused macaroni and cheese offerings from Chef Todd English and LastLeaf are currently only available in California at select licensed cannabis retailers including Cookies, Lemonnade and Culture Cannabis Club. However, English hopes to expand the brand to other markets with legal recreational marijuana soon.
“We’re getting a great response,” he told ABC News Live.