As edibles continue to grow in popularity and more states legalize recreational weed, the need for quality culinary cannabis professionals will grow as well.
It’s safe to say the cannabis culinary palate has moved beyond brownies. In fact, the flavors and cuisine involving marijuana has become so exciting that several talented chefs have packed up their knives and left jobs at Michelin starred restaurants to pursue a life in culinary cannabis.
Accordingn to CNBC, edibles chefs normally make between $50,000 to $100,000 per year, depending on the experience level and job requirements. This salary range is similar to that of a restaurant chef. But unlike typical restaurants, which have faced a plethora of difficulties and red tape throughout the pandemic, the life of a cannabis chef seems to be infused with more opportunity every day.
In 2021, the documented legal sale of edibles continued to skyrocket, reaching almost $3.6 billion. This growth is expected to continue. “Sales of food and beverages infused with cannabis are expected to increase to an estimated 8.24 billion U.S. dollars by 2025,” according to Statista.
The market has grown so much that even higher education has grown hip to the developing need for cannabis chefs in the workforce. The American Culinary Federation (ACF) now offers a certificate that culinary students can earn in order to make them proficient in cooking with cannabis.
The “Specialized Certificate of Culinary Cannabis and Edibles” was created to prove that the chef possesses the “proficiency on the skills, knowledge and competencies for safely handling culinary cannabis and edibles,” according to the American Culinary Federation. One of the biggest names in culinary cannabis right now is Andrea Drummer. This LA based chef is making waves and headlines with America’s first legal cannabis restaurant, Original Cannabis Cafe. This popular West Hollywood eatery “represents the first of what many potential legal cannabis cafes and lounges around the country could look like,” according to Food & Wine.
There is also great “side hustle” potential for cannabis chefs that can grow into blossoming businesses. The cannabis culinary world is churning out everything from private dinners to cannabis cookbooks, and the masses are biting. Jessica Catalano is dubbed “the pioneer of strain specific cannabis cuisine,” and her website goes in detail about the “hemptarian diet” she created. Catalano has turned legalized recreational marijuana into her culinary playing field – testing new waters and becoming successful in navigating these new waters. She has even published a popular cookbook “The Ganja Revolution: The Bible of Cannabis Cuisine.”
Chef Miguel Trinidad’s “99th Floor” is one example of a respected chef creating a lucrative side hustle by utilizing cannabis. The 99th floor is an exclusive private dinner club in New York City whose mission is “Destigmatizing Cannabis through the Universal Language of Food.”
99th Floor’s Facebook page also hints at a line of edibles that should be available in dispensaries soon. Now that New York has legalized recreational marijuana, chefs like Trinidad, who have been working with edibles and growing a local reputation, will have a leg up on the competition in this highly lucrative market segment.
The life of a chef is never dull, and thanks to legalized marijuana, it has become increasingly exciting in many states. As edibles continue to grow in popularity and more states legalize recreational weed, the need for quality culinary cannabis professionals will grow as well. Perhaps it is time to dust off that chef’s coat and get in on the ground floor kitchen.