On June 22, Netflix debuted television’s first-ever cannabis cooking competition.
Cooking with cannabis is nothing new. In fact, culinary cannabis made its first debut in 1954, when Alice B. Toklas published “The Alice B. Toklas Cook Book” — a creative autobiography-style cookbook filled with personal stories and experimental recipes, including a crazy concoction called “Hashish Fudge,” made with nuts, fruit, spices, and of course, cannabis.
In 1968, Toklas’ recipe appeared in a comedy film titled Love You, Alice B., ultimately paving the way for the release of Netflix’s competitive cooking show, Cooking on High. At least, that’s what I thought before I watched the first episode.
Like most cooking shows, Cooking on High has the basic ingredients — two chefs, a few judges (if you could even call them that), and a time limit. Wondering what’s different? The utter lack of sophistication.
Going in, I was optimistic. After all, cannabis cuisine has come a long way since Toklas’ magical fudge. From prestigious wine and weed pairing dinners in San Francisco to farm-to-table entertaining in Boulder, Colorado, edibles have reached a new level of appreciation. But after barely making it through the first episode, I have just one thing to say: Cooking on High is a part of the problem.
Let’s start with the judges.
Before I watched the show, I imagined high-end cannabis cuisine innovators, such as Opulent Chef owner, Michael Magallanes, and Chris Sayegh, founder of The Herbal Chef. Instead, the show featured surfer dude and rapper Mod Sun and internet prankster Vitaly Zdorovetskiy.
Let’s talk about the set.
Most cooking competitions are set in a dramatically lit space that’s typically far away from the judges. Chopped, for example, has an entire kitchen large enough for four chefs to work comfortably without hearing the judges’ commentary as they cook. Cooking on High looks like it was filmed in an apartment in Brooklyn.
Let’s talk about how the judges commented on the chefs’ creations.
As I mentioned earlier, you’d think these judges would have some knowledge on how to properly cook with cannabis, so they could formulate an educated comment in response to the dishes Le Cordon Bleu graduate Andrea Drummer and Chopped champion Luke Reyes made for them. This, however, was not the case. Instead, one judge admitted to “coming into the shoot kind of high,” while the other said he’d “like, never ate fish before.”
I honestly felt sorry for the chefs at this point. If I were Drummer, I would have left the set. Her expertise is far too advanced for this so-called competition.
Let’s end with the overall viewing experience.
In short, this is a show where two talented chefs cook while four people laugh and make terrible weed puns. Most of the interaction is between the (clearly underqualified) host YouTube vlogger Josh Leyva, known for his ridiculous video titled “Annoying My Girlfriend,” and the internet famous judges.
There’s also a lack of information — Decarboxylating, also known as “decarbing,” wasn’t explained, but brought up several times. (For those of you who are still wondering, decarbing is a process in which the THC is converted from THCA. This process basically means heat-activating your marijuana.)
In the end, the winner goes home with a silk sash decorated with pot leaves and pot spray-painted gold. What a complete waste of talent and time.
Obviously, I think this show has made a mockery of cannabis cuisine. What do you think? Let us know in the comment section below!