- The Herbal Chef, aka Chris Sayegh, has made a name for himself as the chef in Los Angeles for cannabis-infused fine dining.
- Beyond just infusion, Chris has mastered proper cannabis-dosing of his dishes, allowing diners to enjoy their experience without getting too intoxicated.
- His 10-course events can cost up to $500 per customer but average about $100 to $250.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Joe Avella: These gourmet dishes not only taste amazing but also give you a euphoric feeling because they are infused with cannabis. Chris Sayegh, aka The Herbal Chef, is a pioneer of cannabis-infused fine dining. Through his catered events, he’s raised the bar on what is possible when mixing cannabis and high-end cuisine.
Chris Sayegh: It’s more of a slight elevation rather than a overwhelming experience, and we have measurements in place from our staff to our food so that you don’t get overwhelmed. I’m gonna show you how we incorporate CBD, THC, and terpenes throughout the meal.
Joe: His hard work and vision are paying off. He recently announced the opening of Herb in Los Angeles, a one-of-a-kind restaurant that will serve his cannabis-infused cuisine. We visited Chris at his home to learn more about his culinary cannabis journey.
Chris: I was studying molecular cell biology, going to medical school, but I wanted to be in preventative health. So, with that, I left, and I started to cook in kitchens.
Joe: Chris experimented on his own with cannabis in cooking, making elaborate, beautiful meals with minor THC dosage because he wanted to actually enjoy his meal instead of feeling too heavy or high.
Chris: The most paramount difference for all of this is what infusion is verses dosage. Infusion is putting a herb into a fat and then heating it up, and that infuses flavor and the THC and CBD into that. Great. Everybody and anybody can do that. What dosage is is infusing the herb and the flavor and the components into the fat at a consistent measurement. So, that way, you can know exactly how much THC, CBD, and terpenes you’re providing to the customer in the meal.
Joe: Chris uses a nanotechnology that allows the THC and cannabinoids to absorb more efficiently into the body. Adding the cannabinoids doesn’t affect the cooking process much, but a crucial step is at a stage where the lipids, or fats, will homogenize properly for even THC distribution.
Chris: If you don’t homogenize correctly, which means to mix everything thoroughly and spread it out evenly, then one person’s gonna get a big glob of the THC and another person’s not gonna get anything. One person is gonna be in a fetal position and the other person is gonna be chilling, saying, “Why did I just pay for nothing?”
Joe: Chris was kind enough to whip up a few dishes for us to give us an overview of what he offers at his dining events. The events are usually 10 courses and include wine and spirits.
Chris: One of them is going to be a crab salad with a tabbouleh relish. And then there’s going to be Wagyu dusted with caramelized onion and charcoal powder. And then there is a striped sea bass with a Broccolini and dashi soda. There is going to be a palate cleanser with peach and cream. For a vegetable course, we’re going to do a mille-feuille of different root vegetables along with a compound black pepper and thyme butter. The whole idea is to use cannabis in all of its different forms, showcasing what we’re able to do as we strive and push forward to hopefully earn a Michelin star in the future.
Joe: At a Herbal Chef event, each diner starts with a questionnaire to help Chris and his team gauge their tolerance and plan that diner’s specific dosage.
Chris: So, we have many first-timers come to our events and to eat with us. Their biggest apprehension across the board is, “I’ve never tried it; I don’t want to get too high.” And it’s totally reasonable. The whole idea is we want to take you along a journey. We want to take you along an experience rather than you go out for a quick bite to eat.