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Marijuana and haute cuisine: Toronto chefs on how some top kitchens are going to pot

Who's hungry? (Image: Torben Hansen)

The correlation between marijuana and the munchies is no secret, but a New York Times article that went viral a few weeks ago is taking the link to new heights. In the Big Apple’s “new kitchen culture,” haute cuisine is being influenced by chefs and kitchen staffers who find culinary inspiration by indulging in a little weed. We talked to a few Toronto chefs about the emerging trend and its breakthrough potential in Toronto.

“I wouldn’t say everyone, but a lot of people [smoke],” says Tawfik Shehata from Vertical, who as a non–pot smoker says he is part of the minority in the culinary community. “One of the things about this industry is that we finish work at midnight. We want to wind down… Creativity and winding down go hand in hand.”

Author, television host and chef Anthony Bourdain went so far as to tell the Times that everybody smokes up after work, “people you would never imagine.” The effect is making its way into dining rooms and is also creating an entire sub-industry of restaurants—like Montreal’s famed Au Pied de Cochon—that cater to stoned kitchen staffers looking for a bite after work.

“I’m not a smoker, but some of my cooks are,” says Cowbell’s Mark Cutrara. He agrees that pot can enhance creativity, but being high on the job is out of the question. “It’s dangerous to be high when you’re working in the kitchen. There are lots of dangerous things: wet floors, hot stoves, sharp knives.”

Still, all this talk of stoner cuisine is whetting our appetite for some pizza—maybe topped with french fries and Oreos. And chips.

Marijuana Fuels a New Kitchen Culture [New York Times]

  • mattagascar

    Let me get this straight…Toronto Life pays someone to re-hash the work of another writer? Oh that’s right they did some in depth, independent research of their own to enhance the story..what a joke.

  • mattagascar

    I just realized I said “re-hash”. Man am I clever. Maybe I can get a writing job at Toronto Life.

  • Scott Honeyman

    But you read it. And commented on it. Sucka.

  • mattagascar

    Oh….Scott, you are even more clever than I. Congrats.

  • bobo

    i like turtles

  • Jacob Perius

    Being high in the kitchen? That is terrible! We as culinary artists are supposed to enhance the diners experience through the use of culinary ingredients, not drugs. If people want to use marijuana, let them, but just not in the kitchen. It can be so dangerous to everybody, besides, how can we expect the same quality of food from somebody who is not ‘in control’. Imagine if the executive chef was high. Food would come out alive! Hey, if you like food, check out my blog.

  • mattagascar

    Jacob, you’re a douche.

  • perry

    Jacob really does sound like a total douche.

  • mattagascar

    Just check out his blog. Douchetacular.

  • Eatidor

    What a douche. I feel lamer for just having perused his blog.

    Little does he know that most chefs partake after hours. That most artist of any kind use drugs or alcohol.
    That most people are on some kind of drug.
    That drugs can be good for you. ‘Sobria Ebrietas’, and all…