You might know Chef Joe Sasto from Bravo’s “Top Chef,” but you’ll remember him for his
cannabis pairing dinners. Autumn interviewed Chef Sasto at our
Autumn Brands family farm. Our full-course conversation was savory, sweet, and everything
in between. Below, you can feast on his take on cannabis cuisine.
Q: When did cooking with cannabis start? Why?
Most chefs and cooks hit the bars after work, I prefer to smoke a joint. I prefer to smoke
cannabis before a great meal. I knew if I enjoyed that, then there had to be others who
felt the same. I fill a niche in the industry –a professionally trained chef who has worked
at two- and three-Michelin starred restaurants and understands the healing and
elevating properties of cannabis.
Q: What are unique ways you use cannabis?
I prefer live rosins, vaporized in a device like the PuffCo. There isn't any combustion of
the plant, and it isn't over- or under-heated, allowing your mouth to become coated with
the flavors of the strain and terpenes rather than smoke or plant matter. Live rosins
don't have additional solvents or additives diluting a strain’s natural flavor. That’s the
future when pairing cannabis with food.
Being introduced to the terpenes of different cannabis strains is like painting with a new
set of colors. When hosting infused dinners, I take dosing very seriously. I dose to one’s
specific tolerance. That way Snoop Dog and Martha Stewart can sit next to each other
and have a great time.
Q: Where have you done these dinners?
Secret locations in downtown Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, Vancouver and
Edmonton, Canada. Cannabis and food bring everyone together, so the crowds are
very diverse, which really puts a smile on my face. Sometimes there’s a table of
someone who is 75 sitting next to someone who is 25 hugging and laughing during
dinner. By the end of the meal they’ll have exchanged phone numbers. It’s really great.
Q: What’s next?
I love hosting dinner parties where people can smoke cannabis in a safe, non-
judgmental space. I’ll try to continue to evolve — possibly moving into more visually
stimulating experiences with art, music, and lights along with food. It’s important for
myself and other like-minded chefs to help remove the stigmas of the cannabis industry.
Education is key; education about anything helps people understand. I, myself, can
always learn, grow, and evolve. Plus, hosting dinners is a ton of fun.
Q: Any advice for a cannabis infused dinner at home?
Take it easy! Let the medicine do its thing. Don’t overdo. Let yourself feel the healing of
cannabis. Experiment with whatever dosage feels best for you. Everyone is different.
Move from just adding an infused fat or oil to a big batch of something, because the
flavor of the plant is not always enjoyable or desired. Rather, the terpenes of the plant
make the best pairings.
Q: More info, please.
I usually announce dinners a month or so in advance, so follow me at @chef.joe.sasto,
or sign up at www.lunaafterdark.com. And be sure to follow @AutumnBrands on IG for