Photos by Michael Cassini
Kristal Chamblee knew working for Denver-based marijuana tourism company Colorado Cannabis Tours would be different, which is part of why she rolled up to her interview “dressed like a unicorn.” The company, which takes visitors through some of Denver’s most weed-friendly spots and encourages toking, has spread operations since launching in 2014, hence Chamblee’s gig in the Silver State of Nevada. Chamblee leads CCT’s Puff, Pass & Pastry brunch cooking classes in Las Vegas, where she says there’s no such thing as a “normal” day.
MERRY JANE caught up with Chamblee to talk about her experience working in the burgeoning field of edibles, as well as her time spent in culinary school. We also chatted about why wings are simultaneously the ultimate dad food and ultimate stoner food before the dank chef shared an infused recipe with us. Enjoy!
1/2 cup honey
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 clove garlic
⅛ teaspoon powdered ginger
2 tablespoons cannabutter
Salt, pepper, chili flakes, to taste
Preheat oven to 375 degrees and cook wings until crispy — approximately 45 minutes. Combine sauce ingredients and heat to a simmer then remove from heat. Add butter and stir. Toss with wings.
MERRY JANE: Tell me a little about how you got involved with Cannabis Tours. What's a normal day on the job like?
Kristal Chamblee: I was working in an edibles production facility when a mutual friend introduced me to [Cannabis Tours founders] Heidi Keyes and Mike Eymer via social media. Cannabis Tours was looking for a Las Vegas chef upon their expansion here, so I went over to the studio space to meet everyone and introduce myself. I showed up in a unicorn onesie, but they all still loved me — probably more because of it, actually. It’s a company with a lot of characters and personalities. We’re all pretty original and laugh a lot. I have been the Las Vegas Puff, Pass & Pastry chef ever since, and I also assist with Puff, Pass & Paint and Puff, Pass & POTtery, two of the company’s other events.
As far as a day in my life — we don’t really have normal days. I’m a chef, a pot smoker, and an entrepreneur, so I both work and play all the time. I mean, I showed up to my job interview as a unicorn. Normal for me is weed and food, so that is what I do. At a cannabis cooking class, I give you the best of both worlds: food that tastes like real, delicious, healthy food — not gas station munchies. All of my recipes have a safe, measured, and enjoyable infusion that makes edibles an experience, not just a high.
What would you tell someone who's trying edibles for the first time who may be nervous? What are some remaining hang-ups or fears people have for weed-infused food?
To anyone who has never tried an edible, please start low and go slow — but don’t be scared! Edibles last longer and tend to have harder hitting effects than smoking, so if it’s your first time, please microdose (5 to 10 milligrams of THC is a good place to start). Remember that feeling the effects may take two to four hours, so just relax and don’t make the mistake of eating more too soon.
When it comes to infused food, your body is your own. You may not have the same reaction as other people, as everyone metabolizes THC differently. It may take you a different about of time to feel the effects. You also may not experience the same high as someone else. If you are getting your edible from a dispensary, I suggest you talk to your budtender to make sure you get all of the dosing info and recommendations on what you’re specifically looking for.
Above: Chef Kristal Chamblee in action
Can you tell me about some early lessons you learned when first experimenting with cannabis in cuisine? What are some of your greater culinary triumphs in the THC vein?
The first time I ever made edibles, I was still in culinary school, which perhaps made me a tad over-confident. I just added infused butter I had gotten from a friend into chocolate cupcakes. Three of my friends and I waited and waited to feel the effects, but nothing happened — and we wanted to be high! It turns out that the butter I added was very low dose. I didn’t know my THC percentages, so my math was completely wrong. We made 40 cupcakes and each one was only 0.5 mg. It was a good cupcake, but with no high! Math matters, whether you’re a home baker or a culinary pro.
My absolute favorite infused dish is cinnamon rolls. I’ve have won awards for my from-scratch cinnamon roll recipe. I’m so proud I actually have a cinnamon roll tattoo on my arm. The infusion is in the frosting, which makes for accurate dosing, and I use kief and real vanilla bean. A pan of these hot from the oven disappear like lighters at cannabis meetings.
Tell me about the dish you're sharing with us today. Any pairing suggestions?
Wings are a simple and loved dish, and also very versatile. My best advice is to pair with infused extra-crispy fries, or a side of vegetables with infused butter. These wings are always super tasty when roasted in the oven on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and a cooling rack (if you have it). The rack will separate the chicken from the pan and make the wings super crispy. Line the baking sheet with parchment paper to make clean-up easy.
And how does this dish fit — if at all — into Father's Day? Can you tell us about any experiences cooking with cannabis for families? It's my dream to eat an all-weed meal with my dad.
Well, Father’s Day is just around the corner, and chicken wings are a universal dad and stoner food. A little advice when making an infused meal: Make your infusion work for you. I prefer to leave the main food non-infused and instead infuse the sauce, which allows for you to carefully regulate your THC intake. Now you can enjoy your entire meal and control your dosing, so you don’t end up feeling way too full and way too stoned. You just let me know — if your dad is ever down, you both always have a seat open in my kitchen! It doesn’t have to be just a dream, a delicious and infused meal is waiting here for both of you.
For more on Colorado Cannabis Tours, visit the company's website here
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