SONOMA COUNTY (CBS SF) — Over the weekend, an unusual first-of-its-kind gala took place in Sonoma County where a remarkable gourmet meal was served at a secret location with a secret ingredient.
More than 150 guests mixed and mingled in a redwood grove as they listened and grooved to live music performed by the psychedelic-roots rock band Moonalice.
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In their hands, the cocktails were cold, but inside the kitchen at the spacious location, the action was hot with pot.
“We’re really on the cutting edge of something new this is the end of prohibition,” exclaimed Chef Jeff.
He’s known as “JeffThe420Chef,” a Ganja Gourmet who has been described as “The Julia Child of Weed.”
On this night, he cooked a huge feast with dishes infused with cannabis. This is no ordinary potluck; it is a feast for the “canna-curious.”
“We’ve elevated the experience. It’s no longer your typical chocolate-chip cookie, brownie or cupcake that’s infused with cannabis. We’ve taken it to a whole new level where we’re catering fine dining meals,” explained Jeff.
On the menu were cannabis-infused cocktails including an Irish cream, aqua de jamaica, and Revive Hibiscus Kombucha. The food courses started with a canna-watermelon gazpacho appetizer before a main course of roasted Cornish game hens with onion drenched roasted potatoes and CBD zucchini-green papaya nests, with or without a raw quail egg.
For the vegans and vegetarians, there were stuffed portobello mushrooms. Each course includes — if the guest requests — a tiny dose of cannabis. Chef Jeff uses a proprietary method that removes the grassy, herbaceous taste.
“Everything we’re infusing we’re infusing with anywhere from 1.5 to 2 milligrams,” the chef explained. “So by the end of the night, everyone is going to have only 10 milligrams. That’s the most that I’ll serve and that basically will make you feel like you’ve had a glass and half to two glasses of wine on an empty stomach.”
Guests were instructed that they could order a “virgin” version at any time and were advised to pace themselves.
“I thought it was delicious. You couldn’t taste the cannabis,” exclaimed guest Shannon Hattan.
“I had the mushroom. It was light and refreshing!” said diner Oceania Shatere.
Chef Jeff is a trailblazing chef when it comes to cooking cannabis. He began cooking for a friend’s mother who was very sick after she found that his cannabis cuisine stimulated her appetite.
He has even written a gourmet cookbook. The Los Angeles resident explained how it is not just the dose, but also the strain that counts.
At this event, he used a strain of cannabis called sativa. The effect, he explained, won’t make guests sleepy or too relaxed. He said guests will feel more uplifted and in a creative mood.
The strain he acquired is called “Super Lemon Haze,” which came from Oakland dispensary the Harborside Health Center.
Victoria England tried one “canna-cocktail” as she dug into her virgin meal.
“Yeah, it kicked in about 45 minutes ago and it’s really mellow. I feel, like, slightly elevated,” described England.
The event was thrown to celebrate a landmark time for the cannabis industry in the state.
“In California we’ve just passed adult use, so we’re gearing up in 2018 to open up those doors.” said Elise McRoberts, the executive producer and event planner for the event known as the NorCal CannaCuisine Gala.
DeAngelo was the gala’s guest of honor. He is a nationally known activist and longtime advocate for cannabis reform as well as the founder of the Harborside Health Center.
“We’re celebrating this new era that we’re going into,” said Steve DeAngelo.
“The last election cycle was this really bizarre result for the cannabis movement. On the one hand, we ran nine cannabis-reform movements in nine states nationwide,” said DeAngelo. “We won eight of those nine and we won in places like North Dakota, Arkansas and Florida. All red states!”
While the law has changed in California, DeAngelo cautions those in the cannabis industry are very concerned about what the federal government under the current administration could cook up.
“I hope that people who pull the strings in the Trump Administration understand that their voters support cannabis reform. This is not just a Democratic, liberal issue,” said DeAngelo. A recent CBS News poll shows how the majority of Americans now support legal pot.
“There’s always a little worry, but we’re supported by our local government here in California. And the movement is so strong that you can’t put the genie back in the bottle,” said McRoberts with a laugh.
After a dessert of some decadent s’more brownie pillows garnished with ice cream, fresh berries and cannabis-infused ganache, the guests headed back out to the redwood groves.
Not a drop of alcohol was served at the gala. Each ticket cost $175, and required a medical cannabis card for entry. In addition, each guest was urged to spend the night, take Uber or designate a sober driver for the lift home.
Everyone KPIX 5 spoke to after dinner thought it was worth it. No one appeared in our eyes to be intoxicated or out of control.
“I had a great time,” said Betsy Kabacher, who works with the companies Kabaked and Harvest.
“The vibe is definitely laid back. People are really friendly ” remarked Ella Alpina, who is with branding and marketing firm 7Rays Marketing.
“People are feeling good they’re feeling energized,” said Brandon David, host of Infused, a podcast dedicated to cannabis.
“This is something that everyone should try,” exclaimed Michelle Dizitser, owner of Kannibox, an online subscription service for sample size boxes of marijuana products and accessories.
Chef Jeff and his team were thrilled by the response. The Chef said he and his team could not go wrong with some of the best produce and weed that the nation has to offer.
“Bay Area cannabis and Bay Area produce are at the top of the list,” laughed the chef.