Founder of Aspen Culinary Solutions and Dope Sauce, Inc., private chef Randy Placeres is one of the pioneers in upscale cannabis dining. Purist catches up with the tastemaker.
How do you cook with cannabis? What’s your process?
The way I cook with cannabis today is very different from four years ago, when I was one of three chefs who helped start this movement. Oils and butters were the main components that would carry THC into food. Oils and butters—that’s essentially the base of French cuisine (vinaigrette and beurre blanc). I would sear a brie and Port Salut grilled cheese sandwich with cannabis butter then wrap it with prosciutto and drizzle it with an infused pomegranate syrup. Today, I am all about the terpenes, which will change the culinary dynamics in many kitchens around the world. A terpene is the essence or fragrance of a cannabis flower. CBD is also something very important to the wellness and medical world. I usually do a CBD course at every dinner. And aqua drops are cool to play with. This is a water-based THC and CBD liquid created by progressive companies like Ebbu based out of Evergreen, Colorado. The decarboxylation process is when you add heat to cannabis to release the THC and psychoactive element. After I decarb the cannabis, I infuse it into something lovely. But my basic process includes quality cannabis, beautiful food and love for what I do.
What do clients typically look for out of these cannabis-infused dishes (aside from getting high)?
My clientele varies from super gangster to the multibillionaire CEO. The one thing they have in common is the mutual respect for this amazing plant. My most important dinner to date was cooking for a friend of a friend who flew into Colorado from North Carolina with stage 4 cancer. All this gentleman wanted to do was come to a state where he could enjoy legal weed. I did six courses of super-medicated food with THC, CBD, THC-A and tons of love.
What’s your go-to, signature cannabis-infused dish?
A Chilean sea bass soaked in my sweet Thai ginger magic Dope Sauce™. It’s Heidi Klum’s favorite seafood dish, or so she flatters me. randyplaceres.com
In June 2017, Richard Kilstock formed 215 Partners—a private equity investment fund focused on the worldwide cannabis industry. Here, he shares a few words and statis tics about the miracle plant.
In 2010, I read an article about the history of medical cannabis in California. I was fascinated by Proposition 215 and how it became law in 1996 as the Compassionate Use Act, superseding the federal Controlled Substance Act at the state level. A subsequent understanding of the 10th Amendment convinced me that cannabis was an industry that could proceed at state level without any change to federal law. With this legal understanding in place, I looked at the moral and health matters, and soon became convinced that cannabis is significantly safer for human consumption than alcohol. The product is unique as it represents two parallel paths to market that have rarely been found together elsewhere, claiming to be medically good for you while being recreationally enjoyable. Popularity will grow as more adults are exposed to appropriate strength and dosing, which will accentuate positive user experience while diminishing the likelihood of negative experiences reminiscent of the pre-legal market era. 215partners.com
BY THE NUMBERS
Approximate number of full- and part-time workers employed by the cannabis industry.
Percentage of the nation in favor of medical cannabis; 60 percent are in favor of recreational use.
Number of states that have legalized medical use only. Eight have legalized recreational use.
The estimated economic value injected into the economy for every $1 consumers spend at cannabis dispensaries and stores.
TOAST THE SEASON
It’s designed to mimic the effect of one glass of champagne, minus the hangover. Meet Toast, the first professionally manufactured cannabis cigarette, which contains a tobacco-free cannabis blend of curated strains, both low in THC (the euphoria-inducing chemical compound) and high in CBD (cannabis’ calming compound).
“We wanted to design a strain, product and experience that both compliments and enhances social occasions or gatherings,” says Toast’s CEO and co-founder Punit Seth. “A pack of Slices [their name for a single cigarette] is meant for sharing with friends or family, much like sharing a bottle of wine or fine scotch.” The Slice can be recognized by its regal purple-colored filter and gold butterfly insignia perfectly packaged into size-varied boxes. But Toast is now celebrating a new line of Slice (sporting gold-colored filters) called Toast Gold, which is a lighter blend than Toast Original, providing a larger dose of CBD therefore increasing the calming effect. Toast Original and Toast Gold are available in two-packs ($20), five-packs ($45) and 10-packs ($85) at select authorized dispensaries in Colorado. wetoast.com —Charlotte DeFazio