With cannabis legalization efforts quickly spreading around the country many folks have begun to incorporate the wondrous plant into their cooking. While cannabis being used for cooking is certainly nothing new, for example pot brownies have been around for decades, it is becoming more mainstream as people are gaining more access to cannabis than they ever had before. Given the popularity of cooking shows in the past few years it comes as little surprise that media venues are starting to get in on the action.
One of the most popular and acclaimed series of this kind is Viceland’s “Bong Appétit,” a cooking show that was nominated for a James Beard award last year, one of the highest honors in the culinary world. The first couple of seasons focused on finding the best local ingredients, tutorials on how to infuse various items with cannabis and, all followed by a psychedelic dinner party at the end of each episode. Cannabis chocolatier and the show’s co-host, Vanessa Lavorato, said of the series “If you’re stoned, it’s highly entertaining…You can’t hide it. You’re just really high on camera, which hopefully is funny for people.” Bong Appétit will be back for a third season next year with a new competitive format similar to shows like “Chopped” along with several additions to the cast, including Cypress Hill frontman B. Real and famed cannabis chef Miguel Trinidad, whose clandestine marijuana dinners have been covered by periodicals like The New Yorker.
Netflix released its own cannabis cooking show earlier this year called “Cooking On High” which pitted two chefs against one another to create cannabis infused dishes for a panel of judges. The show also featured cannabis education by way of stoner comedian Ngaio Bealum. Unfortunately, Cooking On High was a failure with critics and will very likely not see a new season. However, both Bong Appétit and Cooking On High demonstrated that there is a viable market for cooking shows that involve cannabis although major players like Food Network have shied away from these types of shows due to cannabis’ unfortunate status as a Schedule I substance in the eyes of the government.
Never the less, the new genre is quickly gaining traction in places where cannabis use has been legalized like California where startup company “Prohbtd Media” is currently producing a cannabis cooking series on the web called “Pot Pie.” The series, which will feature cannabis infused dishes of all kinds, will be hosted Brandin LaShea who stated “Having a digital platform is the new wave…I have freedom that I don’t think I’d have at a large network.” However, the responses from most cable networks can be frustrating for chefs looking to get the genre going in a big way. Chef and Bong Appétit veteran Leather Storrs, who is also the owner of the Portland, Oregon restaurant “Noble Rot,” articulated this best when he said “Most of the TV people come back and say, ‘We love you, we love the concept, we’re not ready.” Storrs, who wants to host a travel-oriented cannabis food show, similar to Anthony Bourdain’s work for The Travel Channel and CNN also stated that “I feel like they’re looking at the middle of the country, and when you live on the coasts, it’s different.”
Have you watched any episodes of Bong Appétit or Cooking On High before? Would you be interested in watching a new cannabis cooking series?