Guests do the baking at Edmonton's first cannabis-users dinner club
For $55, people who have partaken will get a gourmet experience to quell the munchies
Edmonton chef Daniel Huber hopes his new venture doesn't go up in smoke.
In fact, he's asking attendees of the Edmonton Cannabis Dinner club's inaugural event on Oct. 20 to do the smoking before they arrive.
"Everything has to be on the up and up, of course," Huber said in an interview with the CBC on Friday.
'There's going to be no consumption'
"There's going to be no consumption on site but we've already given the instructions for the attendees to come pre-prepared, if you know what I mean, and then we take over with the five courses."
The website for the event is a little more direct: "Guests are expected to come pre-baked," it says. "We do the rest of the cooking!"
The $55 dinner will come with a side of funny. Local improviser and actor Donovan Workun has been tapped to host the event at a secret location.
"I personally reached out to him because I find him hilarious and he's fun and a very welcoming host," said Huber. "Secret location is strictly for dramatic purposes."
Huber wouldn't snitch but did reveal it will be held at a restaurant.
"It's a location downtown that's one of a kind," he said.
"We're going to meet up beforehand in a controlled environment, make sure no one is driving over. Safety is important to me."
Huber, a 39-year-old NAIT graduate and Red Seal-certified chef, has timed the event to coincide with cannabis legalization three days earlier.
'It does enhance flavours'
"I think the general consensus is that it does enhance flavours as far as food is concerned," said Huber.
"I wanted to, after legalization, develop a food club in which people felt comfortable being able to partake in that but then at the same time have food that was orientated toward the cravings that come along with it."
That doesn't mean Pizza Pops and Doritos are on the menu but it's not a complete departure from stoner food — potato chips, Jolly Ranchers and Sour Patch Kids are among the ingredients to be used.
"We picked five courses covering the five prominent tastes which are umami, salty, bitter, sweet and sour," said Huber.
Some delights to be enjoyed by the red-eyed patrons, and the tastes to be evoked, include:
- For umami, a smoky Alberta bisque, made of beer and smoked beef broth, whipped potato and boar bacon.
- For salty, there's a "Bar Snacks" trio including salted, brown-butter Rice Krispie squares, a Cajun BBQ nut mix, and buttermilk ranch fresh pretzels.
- For bitter, an IPA-fermented house sauerkraut atop beer-boiled bratwurst served with whole-grain ale mustard. Sides include latke with rosemary crème fraîche and molasses and ginger-candied carrots.
- For sweet, stout chocolate potato chip s'mores
- For sour, Sour Patch Kid-dusted grapes and Jolly Rancher brittle
Noticeably absent from the ingredients on the dinner menu is THC, the main psychoactive compound found in cannabis.
"A lot of chefs for some reason or another are cooking with THC which, great, good for them," said Huber.
"But anyone who has ingested it knows it's a really hard flavour profile to bury in good food," he said.
"I'm just kind of cutting out the middle-man and just cooking good food for people who happen to have partaken."
Huber said some of his peers are focused on putting THC in food, but he wonders about the risks.
"Due to the fact that the consensus is that everyone metabolizes it differently, that seems like a most foolhardy and dangerous place to start and I hope everyone pulls back from that."
'We're half sold-out already'
So far the dinner seems to be a big draw.
"We're half sold-out already," said Huber who's hoping for around 100 guests and already thinking of future gatherings.
"I'm going to plan for a monthly engagement. Based on ticket sales, to be completely honest with you, we might be able to do it every two weeks."