Of the many interesting gigs in the cannabis & hemp world, one of the best must be chef. Eating is great, we all know that, but combining food with weed to create sumptuous dishes that tantalize the taste buds and get you high, is nothing short of a dream job.
One of the best in the field is Jeff Danzer, aka Jeff The 420 Chef, referred to by The Daily Beast as the “Julia Child of Weed.” His delicious infused meals are in high demand across the U.S., with requests coming in from celebrities and other movers and shakers on a daily basis… but Jeff is quite discreet and would never tell you who they are.
What makes Jeff special — aside from his terrific cooking, charm, and the fact that he is an out and proud gay dad — is that he’s really an inventor, someone who constantly feels the need to create and pioneer, which has lead him to one of the best inventions since edibles: odorless cannabis and hemp infusions (the invasive cannabis odor and taste found in infused foods has long been the crux of cannabis chefs).
Jeff removes the odor and taste from his cannabis flower, and infuses them into grass fed butter and healthy oils, creating unmatched canna-butters and canna-oils with little to no cannabis after-taste or smell. His upper hand when it comes to negating unwanted cannabis food experiences has made him something of a legend.
BWell had the chance to speak with Jeff about how cannabis came into his life, working with his family, and what’s next for the industry!
When did cannabis/hemp first come into your life?
When I was 16. Like any other 16 year old, I went out with a bunch of friends to the Catskills in New York and we got stoned up there. I was more of a cannabis consumer just whenever it was available, and that pretty much was how it was for me until I was about 50, right around the time when Colorado was getting ready to legalize. And then my best friend’s mom, one of my best friend’s mom got sick with cancer and she was prescribed medical marijuana for her pain and nausea, to keep up her appetite. But the thing was, she didn’t want to smoke anything. As in, the actual smoke she really didn’t like. And I mean, I love to cook. So that’s when I started really exploring cooking with cannabis, for her.
At first they thought the cookies I made tasted terrible, because I really didn’t know how to make properly infused baked goods back then, but the cookies did help her a lot. So it was actually a really good thing that she challenged me to improve the taste so much, because that lead me to release my own line of odorless and tasteless cannabis products and goodies where all you can taste is cookie, and not the flower.
You’re a father of five, so what are your secrets to raising a family while succeeding in cannabis?
I came out later in life, and I made a promise to my boys when I did: no more secrets, no more lies. I think inherently as a parent, you try to shield your kids from certain things, you keep secrets from them. But at that moment, I was just like, you know what? I want my boys to know who I am. So as soon as I got divorced from my ex-wife, we had a conversation about me being gay and out. So we established a relationship of total honesty in that way. Which is really key to making this work so well.
And your son Jared is also your manager. What’s it like working with your family in the cannabis market?
The cool thing is my oldest son is an attorney in Connecticut, a very successful attorney. He’s going to be 30 soon, he just got married. He’s squeaky clean, straight edge. I don’t think he’s ever tried cannabis at all. But he was who I went to first ask what he thought about me becoming a cannabis chef, and he was like, as long as you keep your nose clean and you understand the rules, I support it 100%. So he was totally on board at the beginning. Jared, who’s directly involved with my business, has always been by my side, pushing me to go further with this because this is a really important part of who I am now. I owe a lot of that to Jared.
And then my youngest son, who’s at UCF in Florida where cannabis is not legal yet is medicinally legal, actually has a medical recommendation because he has terrible migraines. So he’s now researching and spending his time in college working with Jared, researching the Florida market, the East Coast market, working out a strategy and a plan for us to get into the new cannabis markets when they finally legalize. He’s meeting everybody in the industry and becoming an industry person himself at a very young age. Jared and I both mentoring him through the process. So we’re a really tight knit family, we work really closely together. And that’s how we’re navigating the complexities of it all.
So what’s a cool product you’ve recently created?
Well at the end of the day, I’m an inventor and I feel like it’s my purpose on earth to create useful things for others. So, I just invented a full line of culinary cannabis herbs. We have OregaNo, which looks and smells and tastes exactly like oregano, but it’s 100% cannabis. We have Rosemary Jane, which again, looks, smells and tastes exactly like rosemary, but its effects are from cannabis. We have a whole line. I remove all the compounds in the plant responsible for odor and taste. I take out the terpenes, flavonoids, the chlorophyll. We have a literal 100% cannabis product ripped from the cellulose of the plant itself. It’s pretty incredible, and enables everyone to cook with cannabis with total ease. Plus measuring out your dose becomes much easier since we label everything… you’ll know exactly how much THC effect you’ll have from say, a teaspoon of cannabis orgenoo!
And in your opinion, what do you think the future holds for the cannabis industry?
I think it’s going to go a lot more mainstream. I think cannabis is the future. I think more and more people are going to want discreet ways to smoke cannabis, which is why I invented odorless cannabis strains so no one around you will be offended by smells when you’re just trying to get medicated. I also really believe that people are going to want to cook with cannabis more and more, which is why I made these odorless cannabis herbs as well. Redefining the cannabis consumption experience to make it simple and easy for everyone is what I think the future holds for us all.