Evolution of the cannabis industry has changed dramatically over the past few years. As cannabis infused dinners are sparking up the scene, Chef Mike Gargiulo’s four-course infused cannabis table dinner, The Elevated Palate, is the perfect introduction to cannabis and cuisine. Upon being diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma, a cancer that impacts the immune system, in late 2016, Mike began developing new ways to consume cannabis to create some relief from the side effects of intense chemotherapy and radiation. After plenty of trials and achieving remission, in 2019 Chef Mike set forth his traveling restaurant with the goal of spreading awareness on the benefits of cannabis. His goal was to show how the plant helps people and creates long lasting memories within the diverse cannabis community.
However, when COVID-19 brought the world to a complete halt, many people were unable to dine out. Ironically this gave Chef Mike another avenue to explore; his private bookings increased because suddenly everyone wanted a personal cannabis chef for hire. This allowed Mike to cook for both prestigious elites and, as lockdowns ended, some epic events.
Culinary Cannabis: An Elevated Experience
As the cannabis industry has expanded, the fusion of cannabis and culinary experiences has grown exponentially more popular. Cooking with cannabis is now fairly mainstream, because the infusion of cannabinoid extracts into butters, oils, and sauces means it’s easier to experiment with a wider variety of dishes and flavors. Not only do the infusions add more nuance to the recipes, but they also allow consumers to customize the meals to their liking without skimping on any of the most enjoyable parts of the process.
What's Most Important for Chef Mike Gargiulo When Cooking With Cannabis?
Chef Mike realizes the appeal that elevated dining has for the canna-curious, so he aims to introduce cannabis at an entry level for all. For him, the key is in the dosing.
“No real cannabis chef takes pride in seeing someone passed out in the corner,” Chef Mike says. “It’s important that you research the cannabis chef of your choosing [and see their] knowledge of dosing.”
First-timers may not know the right questions to ask at a cannabis dinner - How many milligrams are in this sauce? How potent is the strain used? Is it an indica or sativa, and how will that affect me? Could I be allergic to anything in the recipe? So it’s crucial that the chef is able to communicate all the right information to clients beforehand, and adapt to situations as needed.
How Does Chef Mike Gargiulo Handle Dosing in His Culinary Cannabis Experiences?
Mike takes this as a welcome challenge. “Being open to working with your clients to see exactly what they need, makes the experience a once-in-a-lifetime feeling,” he notes, for both chef and consumers.
And if you do feel like you’ve gone a little overboard? Never fear, the experienced canna-chef has CBD available for anyone who is too high. CBD will counteract the THC, bringing a person who has taken too much of the latter back to a neutral safe space.
According to Chef Mike, “The point is always to have an elevated experience allowing you to enjoy the food and cannabis.”
What Makes Chef Mike Gargiulo and The Elevated Palate Special in Culinary Cannabis?
But what sets the French-trained chef and The Elevated Palate apart in an oversaturated market is something one might not expect from a cannabis advocate. His monthly events are smoke-free within the venue, creating a personalized elevated experience for each customer that’s not influenced by a simultaneous flower pairing or secondhand smoke. (For those who love a good blunt with their meal, there is a smoking area available outside.)
With more states legalizing cannabis and attitudes toward the plant changing across the country, it appears the future lies in playing to one’s tastes. As shifts in political policy help more communities embrace cannabis, take the opportunity to discover your own fine dining experience. Through The Elevated Palate, infused experiences can also be delivered straight to your door. You haven’t had an elevated savory menu until you’ve had Chef Mike cook for you!
To book Chef Mike Gargiulo and The Elevated Palate for your event, visit gargiulocaterers.com and use the booking form. You can also reach Chef Mike by calling the company phone line at 646-361-4262 or via Instagram at @chefmikegargiulo.
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Featured image: Chef Mike Gargiulo puts the finishing touch on an infused dish (C) Gargiulo Caterers / The Elevated Palate