Three local female chefs go head to head tonight on the "Eggs and Bakin' " episode of Viceland’s Bong Appétit, with guest judge and rapper D.R.A.M. sampling rounds of canna breakfasts that all include a base of Jilly Bean-infused cannabutter in each challenge brought on by series regulars B Real, Vanessa Lavorato and Miguel Trinidad.
Star pastry chef Nicole Rucker of Fiona, Ria Dolly Barbosa of the Paramount Coffee Project and Highly Likely Cafe’s Kat Turner try to find the right balance of weed and feed in dishes like savory bread pudding with red-eye gravy and russet and sweet potato hash browns with lemon tree flower and buttermilk gravy with lemon terpenes (a perfect pairing with the mandarin citrus notes of the Jilly Bean cannabutter.)
"Watching competition shows of any kind gives me such deep anxiety that I vowed never to go onto one myself," Turner tells L.A. Weekly.
"But I adore Vanessa, so when she called it was hard to say no. Then I found out that I would be sharing the kitchen with Nicole and Ria who are both wonderfully talented and cool, so I got pretty stoked. That being said, even with the copious CBD that I took to calm my nerves, there's nothing like a ticking clock, cameras, a few surprises and judgement to crank up the pressure."
Incorporating the cannabis felt natural to Turner, even though she’d never cooked with it before.
"It was exciting to be presented with a library of not only new tastes and scents, but potentially mood-altering ingredients. In hindsight I think the biggest challenge was restraining myself and choosing what to infuse and sprinkle where. Oh, and not getting too stoned throughout the process," she says.
Highly Likely is installing a new a soft serve machine after Turner fell in love with the way terpenes play with fats and sweets. Since cannabis is fat-soluble, an ice cream base would be a perfect vehicle for dosage and would work well with the café's coffee program. Cannabis and caffeine make for a fun hippie speedball, she says.
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So how did the chefs determine the right amount of infusion and how much is too much?
"Omg, there was so much THC flying around," Turner admits.
"I tried to even out the THC with non-psychoactive CBD and terpenes to create balanced dishes around 5 mg or so. Considering how many dishes the judges had to taste throughout the episode, anything more could start to get a little to freaky (and keep in mind they were high already). Thankfully Ro, the cannabis producer, gave us a thorough rundown of the incredible Bong Appétit pantry and made sure to walk us through each ingredient step by step; plus any time we had a question she was there to advise and make sure we didn't send the judges into outer space. Most of products had specific dosage instructions, so it was easy understand coming from the culinary world of weights and measures. However, having so many fun new ingredients to work with? It was easy to get carried away!"
The winner of tonight’s Bong Appétit all day breakfast edition moves on to the finals and will be pitted against the winner of the puff puff pastry episode.