Tonight, Friday May 10, at Farm Kitchen, Red Seal chef Steven Lechmann will be teaching a cannabis consumables course — an introductory class to cooking with cannabis.
Lechmann, and his family, have a long culinary history in Cranbrook, with his family previously owning the Heritage Rose Dining House, and his father a local chef for the past 45 years. Lehmann personally has been working at the College of the Rockies for the past 15 years, running Pita Wrapbit restaurants. Then, the college needed an instructor and Lechmann fit the bill, but he needed his red seal certification to do it, and so he enrolled and gradated in 2010.
He is classically trained in French cuisine, as well as Costa Rican and Canadian, but he says he got into cooking with cannabis because of a need. He’s held a personal use production license for the past 12 years through the government of Canada, allowing him to legally grow and possess his own cannabis.
“This was long before it became legal for everybody else,” Lechmann explained. “So I was an original medical patient. And because of that, I met other people within that community. A lot of those people being a bit elderly. And the elderly people were interested in what cannabis had to offer but they just didn’t want to be ingesting it through combustion, they didn’t want to smoke it.”
To Lechmann, especially as a chef, the next best thing for people who prefer not to smoke their marijuana was of course to cook with it, turning it into medical edibles, or as he’s dubbed it “medibles.”
“Medibles, of course, are medical-grade edibles,” he said. “So we take cannabis, we infuse it with some sort of fat, some sort of protein and then we can go ahead and translate that into our cooking.”
Cannabis can’t just be eaten to receive the desired effects, it requires a process called decarboxylation, which Lechmann explained, changes the THCA to THC — the active ingredient released, usually by smoking marijuana, that produces the effect. Decarboxylation is a big part of the class.
Lechmann has done these sorts of classes before, but only privately, in peiople’s homes with 10 to 12 participants. He goes over some handouts, talking about different types of cannabis, the difference between sativas and indicas, CBD versus THC and how to source cannabis, before getting into the process of decarboxylation.
Some of Lechmann’s favourite ways of doing it are turning it into gummy bears, as it is very easy to strictly control the THC portion sizes, and making canna-butter, which is cannabis infused butter that once made, can be used in basically any recipe.
“Because it’s not readily available on the market yet, people are a little bit leery of it, they’re not sure if it’s legal or not yet, where of course it is. You’re allowed to take your store-bought cannabis and convert it and cook with it and do anything you like with it. There’s no law saying that you can’t. So that’s where I come in.”
Lechmann explains that he wants to teach people that perhaps don’t have access to YouTube or Facebook, who don’t access information or communicate that way and want to physically learn how to do things.
“There is such a broad spectrum of people that this can help,” he said, citing for example the elderly, and people with addictions to things like opiates, or other pain medicines and alcohol.
“It can help you. If you brought me someone that was sick, I can almost guarantee that I can bring them some relief in some way shape or form. Of course I couldn’t cure them, but I can bring them some relief.”
Lechmann said he wants to see this “explode,” — not because he has a yearning to teach, as he already teaches quite a bit at work, but because he wants to get this information out there.
“People need to know that it’s safe and it’s fun and it’s okay for you,” he said.
The course is 19+ and takes place at Farm Kitchen at 1234 2 Street N, on Friday from 7 to 9 p.m. Tickets are $75. Consumption is not allowed and cannabis will not be supplied. Pre-registration is required and can be done at www.farmkitchenconnect.ca or (778)-517-5447.