Sativa Shrimp & Ganja Grits

Cannabis chefs love classic American comfort food, which is easy to understand because the effects of a relaxing, cozy edible high brings comfort and contentment to people. Loosely defined as food that evokes nostalgic memories, comfort food includes dishes like mac n’ cheese, meatloaf and mashed potatoes—all of which lend themselves to being infused with cannabis due to the high fat content.

Raised on this type of fare, Chef Esteban from Crowned Catering relishes adding cannabis to his favorite family recipes. A recent arrival to Los Angeles from Chicago, Esteban traveled the world as a young Army brat, sampling traditional cuisine from diverse locations and learning to cook for his large family.

“I lived in Germany for a time, so I grew up on schnitzel which I consider a comfort food,” Esteban shared. “It’s food that draws up emotions, and while it’s not always the healthiest, we focus on being unapologetically comforting.”

After getting some culinary education at Washburn Culinary Institute in Chicago, Esteban decided to pursue his dreams in L.A. after reading about other chefs integrating marijuana into their meals. Currently running a mainstream catering company, Esteban is working to launch a cannabis catering business in 2017 that will provide medicated meals.

“I only add about 10 mg of THC per item,” the chef remarked. “I want a little bit of punch so that you feel the THC and taste the cannabis infused with the food.”

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Cannabis Cup Edibles Judge

EDIBLES MMJ07I've been reviewing edibles for the High Times Cannabis Cup competitions since 2012, and have sampled over 500 sweet and savory infused items. Edibles are evaluated according to their taste, appearance, potency (as assessed by lab testing), originality, healthiness and quality of packaging and labeling information.

One of the objectives of the HIGH TIMES Cannabis Cup competitions has been to raise the bar for makers of infused products. In the edibles category, judges reward not only the competitors with the most professional packaging, but also the tastiest and most innovative new items.

When shopping for edibles, it’s best to find a treat that is dosed appropriately for you, meaning the recommended serving size should deliver your desired amount of THC in a portion that will satisfy a sweet tooth. Avoid the super-strong tiny truffle that needs to be sliced into razor-thin pieces for a decent dose, along with the huge slice of cheesecake that only delivers a small THC payload. The ideal edible is something that will neither get you too high or too fat, but please your palate with a dose that’s “just right.” Start with 20 to 50 milligrams if you’re a seasoned smoker, and nibble only 10 mg of THC if you’ve never used the herb before.—2013 Best Edibles List