Chef Jessie L.E, is the CBD Gastronomy specialist who is rocking West London fine dining scene with her CBD dinners.
Zeweed went to meet her.
Zeweed : Hello Jessie, please tell us a bit about your background and your experience as a Chef?
Jessie : When I was a kid, I used to watch cooking shows all the time. I loved how chefs and people in the food industry described food & showed passion for something that we must do to survive. It gave me a sense of escapism. My mother adores eating out and socializing and as her only child I was always taken to places far beyond my pallet and exposed to new dishes and experiences. This plus the fact that at home I had complete freedom of the kitchen as my mother wasn’t interested in cooking. She would let me buy whatever I wanted and gave me the opportunity to freely explore gastronomy.
When I was in school I always worked in kitchens but I never went to school for cooking, I went to study fashion. I was always working to put myself through university. Whereas in restaurants or private catering I always had very good mentors.
When I was 18, 20 I didn’t feel like going to school for food, at that age you kind of follow other passions. I have been working as a private Chef for the last 10 years, for high profile individuals and creating bespoke experiences.
I’ve been professionally working in private homes and for events for the last decade. I work closely with the client to create a bespoke and highly personalised food. Everyone is different and having a chef that understands your pallet and is very important to my clients.
At the moment I’m working at the Saatchi Gallery but I only do bespoke experiences there. I am also working for www.hometainment.com and did a CBD dinner for them last week.
How did you come up with the CBD dinner idea ?
I’ve always had the idea of hosting an immersive fine dining marijuana dinner here in London but didn’t have the clientele. What I did have though was a clientele of “yummy mummies” who were just coming round to the idea of CBD and thought that it was a modern twist on dinner parties I was already offering them.
I also met Antoine, the founder of HOMETAINMENT around this time, who gave me a platform to promote this style of dining and the people were receptive to it.
It gave me an opportunity to educate on this beautiful plant and create interesting and original dishes that I wasn’t really show casing in my day-to-day life as a private chef.
ZW-How long have you been offering this CBD dinner experience ?
It all really kicked off summer 2020. I had spent a lot of lockdowns cultivating many organic plants of different origins. The only thing they had in common is that they were all auto flowering. To which I had to do something with. I spent a lot of time researching how to make the purest tinctures and oils and from there I started balancing flavour profiles, effects and strengths. It was my covid project and I honestly was so happy to have something to focus my time on in those unsure times. Horticulture is a beautiful thing!
ZW- Do you find ready to use ingredients or do you create your own mix ?
All the CBD I use personally and for my dinner is home grown here in west London.
It has definitely opened my eyes to what it is that is sold at “dispensaries” & what real quality is. I was really adamant that it was quality that I was looking for.
Its 100% a massive part of what clients appreciate about the dinners. Knowing a product is coming from a trusted source, uses organic mediums, has had limited interference and is first pressing. Appeals to thoughs both experiences and new to marijuana of any kind. I even cultivate some plants using 100% vegan medium.
I make tinctures, I make oils, it’s really about balancing the flavors with the dishes I’m creating.
What strains of CBD are you using ?
For the last 2years I have grown over 3 dozens strains.
Among them are :
- Valentine X
- Cherry wine
- Suzy Q
- Charlotte’s web
- Sour Tsunami
- Crème de la crème
We know about the health benefits of CBD, but is the taste of CBD really important in your menu creation ?
Of course, knowing the benefits and effects of each induvial plant is wonderful but a little nuanced if you’re not familiar with CBD. But having a fabulously tasty dinner with a new ingredient is much more palatable I’ve found.
A plants Terpenes play a major part in creating a dish. Whether it be working with citrus, sea food or white chocolate there will always be a cbd strain that compliments the produce best. I’m experimenting more every time I think of a new dish, I’ve found some fabulous flavour profiles that I wouldn’t of every experienced if it wasn’t for that particular plant’s characteristics.
Give us some examples of dishes that can be part of your CBD menu.
Here is a menu for a dinner I recently hosted :
Organic blueberry OG tinctureYellow fin sashimi / elderflower vinegar / amaranth petals / pineapple and scotch bonnet jam
Organic Jilly bean oil and vinegar/ Crab / pink fennel coleslaw / grated bottega / squid ink rye bread
Organic Orange peel
Ginger and star anise marinated rack of lamb with a hazelnut crust / smoked new potatoes / cavolo Nero / & hibiscus sherbet
Organic Harle-tsu flower indoor tincture & cows die
Cereal milk panna cotta / honeycomb / basil oil
Each dish has been matched with a strain that works alongside it and enhances the flavour. it doesn’t overpower or create an astringent taste on the pallet all while being the cleanest version of itself. It’s been a true pleasure to work with this plant in a professional way. cannabis knows no bounds.
Do you have a signature dish ?
There is one dish, which has been very popular, I have used it in different forms and it is still being requested a lot : pork belly, cooked for 24 hours.
The pork belly is slow cooked in a ginger, star anise, lemongrass and carrot broth for 12 hours, topped up with water as and when. (The key is to ask your butcher for a centre cut piece of belly with the bones and skin removed) keep them as the bones will flavour the stock and the skin will protect the top for the more intense heat)
Then when cooked press the pork belly between two weighted baking trays for another 12 hours so it is evenly set. You will now be able to slice the perfect pieces of pork!
Brush with a paste made of equal parts of agave, gojuchang, garlic powder and freshly squeezed orange juice and pop under the grill for a few minutes till bubbling and charred. serve in tacos, bao or on ramen or alongside garlic cavolo nero, sweet potato puree and with a blackcurrant jus. anyway you decide to eat this, it’s a real crowd pleaser !
How is the customers’ reaction so far?
It’s been nothing but positive. Everyone has been open minded and extremely inquisitive about my techniques and uses. It’s been beautiful for people to see cbd as a real benefit and how there are a pleather of different directions in which you can take it and enjoy it.
Just like anything, it’s not a one size fits all motif. having clients taste and experience a variety of CBD’s and Giving people the opportunity to explore it through the vehicle of the culinary art has as I said make it much more palatable to thoughs who may of dismissed it due to its relationship with THC based flower.
This activity has really taken off, I’ve got an average of 2 CBD dinner parties a week and they’re usually quite big affairs. As the 2 things I love the most are weed and food I couldn’t be happier.
I really try not to repeat the same dishes to keep the experience always exciting.
Do you have any competition in London ?
There have been some THC dinners around, but there is definitely no one doing the same thing I do.
As CBD products are everywhere now, how do you see the future of CBD and gastronomy ?
I think quality will always beat quantity in any and every way.
I’m hoping to see a decline in subpar hemp oil based cbd oil and a real movement toward quality and focus on small local production.
And with this, I hope to see pioneers of the marijuana industry really taking control of the products that are out there and always pushing quality and education.
We live in countries that are yet to legalise cannabis and I hope that with the advancement of that we will see many more young chefs mixing the beautiful worlds of food and weed more often and in environments that promote good times a truly unique experience.
I will be continuing to build upon this idea, I want a boutique general store here in Notting hill where everything is enhanced using 100% organic produce and hopefully in a few years a biodynamic farm in which we can expand into more horticulture and propagating.