'This is not a fad': Kelowna chefs learn to cook with cannabis

Cannabis is gaining more popularity in the kitchen.

So much so that one of the leading cannabis chefs in North America is now travelling across Canada hosting workshops and teaching chefs how to properly cook with it.

“This isn’t a fad. This isn’t a niche,” said chef Travis Petersen. “This is going to be here to stay. This is the new frontier in the culinary world”

Petersen made an appearance on the MasterChef Canada reality TV show before launching The Nomad Cook, a culinary brand focused on introducing the culinary world to cannabis.

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“When most people think of culinary cannabis, we think of the brownie,” he told Global News. “There’s nothing wrong with the brownie but it’s just gotten so much more elevated than that.”

This week, Petersen made a stop in Kelowna, where he held a workshop at the Vice and Virtue brewing company for local chefs to teach them how to cook with cannabis responsibly.

The goal of the workshop is to certify chefs with a culinary cannabis certificate.

“Never before has one ingredient carried so much responsibility. You need to be very confident in the dosages you’re creating,” he said. “We all react to cannabis differently so each person has to have a tailored meal or dish to them.”

Petersen said there are some misconceptions when it comes to cooking with cannabis, something he hopes to change.

“It’s more about how can I elevate your experience as a diner. How can I deliver a new flavour to you. How can I, how can we can we incorporate THC and CBD to make you feel a bit better while you’re sitting down, so some people think it’s about coming and getting stoned but it’s so much more than,” he said.

As part of the Canada-wide tour, Petersen is also hosting pop-up dinners, where diners can experience culinary cannabis.

He said the events are so popular, they sell out fast.

“My average age is 39 years old and 57 per cent female and actually 15 per cent of my guests are first-time cannabis users, so there’s a huge demographic out there that are very interested in this.”

Petersen said while Canada was the first country to fully legalize cannabis, the cannabis culinary side of things has not advanced with it.

“We haven’t progressed or moved forward at all with the edible side of things,” he said. “We are now starting to see states like Arizona, which has only been legal for three months, start to surpass what we’ve done in Canada in three years.”

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Petersen is hosting 18 workshops across Canada with the hopes of 200 Canadian chefs receiving their culinary cannabis certificate.

“My goal really is to wake up the culinary institutions of Canada and say it’s time that we start to offer these programs,” he said.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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