Breaking news: Chefs smoke weed.
I know, I know. This is very hard to imagine. It’s so unfathomable that the New York Times felt compelled to publish a rather extensive piece on the topic last week. The article is good and has some decent quotes from Anthony Bourdain and many other culinary heavy hitters. The thesis on “Haute Stoner Cuisine” is as follows:
“…a handful of chefs are unabashedly open about marijuana’s role in their creative and recreational lives and its effect on their restaurants.”
Great. Good for them. The idea that an altered state can positively impact your work is not ground breaking. Ask the musicians of the sixties. The food world is now just the latest beneficiary. It’s long been common practice for chefs to reinvent dishes and update the classics. Now the trend is stoner-junk food. Shit you’d eat after ripping a bong and raiding the fridge. But instead of the same old munchie fair, chefs are elevating the food and coming up with dishes like cereal-milk soft serve ice cream and breakfast burrito pizza. It doesn’t really seem to matter whether a dish is conceived high or not; restaurants are targeting familiar and good comfort food.
Chefs work long hours, like to party, and have their vices. If weed works for professional chefs on whatever level–creatively, personally, spiritually–then I’m all for it. If the food tastes great, who cares. This article is just a microcosm of a larger sea change taking place. It’s just marijuana. A plant. Several states have already de-criminalized the drug and there is a real movement across the country to legalize pot so that we can also tax it and make billions of dollars. I don’t even smoke and I recognize that this wouldn’t be a bad thing.
Politics aside, this just another example of harmless people doing what they want. I believe in certain personal freedoms. If you want to spark a joint and go sick on the pantry, knock yourself out. If I want eat at Momofuku or Roy Choi’s taco truck and stuff myself stupid, that’s my prerogative. And if the New York Times wants to label the latest hip trend “Haute Stoner Cuisine,” then so be it. Whether you’re cooking or eating stoned, always remember: taste, taste, pass.