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Chef Thu Dec 10 2015
Food heals, figuratively, but starting next year, figurative will become literal in Illinois. And it will be sweet.
Cresco Labs, Illinois's largest cannabis cultivator, and James Beard Award-winning chef Mindy Segal (Hot Chocolate) announced early this week their partnership on a line of edible products. It is the first partnership for both in the medical marijuana edibles industry (that's a legit thing), and a bold move for Chicago. The line, which will include a chocolate brittle bar, infused granola bites and an infused chocolate drink intended to be warm, is set to roll-out at licensed dispensaries across the state starting in February.
If your head is spinning, this is not a vision out of Half-Baked; ever since Colorado legalized recreational marijuana, edibles have become what some call the future of the industry, by providing traditional non-smokers with an alternative way to ease the pain.
While several chefs have jumped on board in Colorado with cannabis-themed dinners and cookbooks, Segal is the first high-profile chef to attach her personal brand to a cannabis product. "We've all heard the expression 'it tastes like medicine' but there's no reason it has to," Segal said. "With my recipes and Cresco's technology, we're developing this line of products to be consistent every time and absolutely enjoyable to eat."
Don't run to Hot Chocolate hoping to get a contact high, as Segal won't be baking out of her kitchen. Consistency of drug delivery has been an issue in the edibles industry, and delivering the exact dosage requires more than just a KitchenAid mixer and a box of brownie mix. To ensure that consistency and adhere to regulations, all production will be out of a special kitchen built by Cresco Labs outfitted with regulated extraction tools and dipping machines.
For those who remember Big Star before it was Big Star (aka Pontiac Cafe,) you might remember Shirley -- the muffin lady who made some really, really good muffins. While she was a bit ahead of the growing edibles industry and the law (details, details), I'm sure she'd be proud.