Cover Story: Elevating Edibles

Mindy Seagal

Mindy Seagal in the kitchen at Cresco Labs in Joliet, Illinois, March 3, 2019 (Photo by Jeff Haynes)

For years, a number of award-winning and deeply experienced chefs have been curating private, cannabis-infused meals for high-rolling clients.

Now, more of these trained chefs are leveraging their know-how to craft branded lines of infused edibles and beverages, either on their own or in partnership with large cannabis businesses.

Their entrance into the industry is likely to elevate infused products, said Mindy Segal, a James Beard Award-winning chef and the creative force behind Mindy’s Artisanal Edibles and Mindy’s Kitchen-branded products for Chicago-based Cresco Labs, a vertically integrated multistate cannabis operator.

Experienced chefs lend credibility and brand-name recognition to their products, said Segal, who has the best-selling gummy product in Nevada, according to Seattle-based Headset, a data analytics firm.

She likened branded cannabis-infused, ingestible products to well-known consumer packaged goods, such as Orville Redenbacher’s popcorn and Newman’s Own salad dressings.

That brand recognition is important to consumers, she noted.

Trained chefs also bring to the cannabis industry years of experience in culinary science and know-how about trends in traditional food and beverage markets, said Ezra Malmuth, the founder and CEO of Atlas Edibles in Berkeley, California.

Malmuth studied culinary nutrition at Johnson & Wales University and worked in Michelin-rated restaurants, including Chez Panisse in Berkeley.

He said experienced chefs are poised to bring “thoughtful interpretations,” inventive flavor profiles and innovative ways of crafting ingestible products to the industry.

Segal predicts other accomplished chefs will lend their names and expertise to ingestible products. She’s also eager to craft edibles with savory flavors, further explore microdose and CBD products and continue to expand her brands to new markets.

“We’re always looking ahead and always working on new products. And I really believe that the future of these products is going to be more mainstream,” she said.