High Folks Edibles recently started cannabis infused cooking classes hosted at The Freedom Factory art gallery in downtown Toronto. Each class is two and a half hours long, from 7pm to 9:30, with this one on a Tuesday night. Each ticket for the class costs $75 and you’ll make your own infused food to bring home.
When we got to The Freedom Factory the place was all set up and everyone was ready for class to start. There was a workstation at the front of the gallery for Michael Lawrence, the professional chef behind High Folks Edible, to take us through the steps. Along the back wall, in the shape of an “L” were our stations to use. Each station had a basket full of fresh fruits & vegetables, aprones, cutting board, cooking utensils and all the other ingredients you’d need.
Before we got to the cooking, we were given a quick introduction from Michael Lawrence, detailing his twenty years of experience in the kitchen, which lead him to be the head chef he is today. Michael is also a medical patient and grower so he is extremely knowledgeable about the cannabis plant as well. We were introduced and told about our host,The Freedom Factory, an art gallery that operates on 0% commission so the artists gets all the money. At The Freedom Factory they also offer a variety of other services such as yoga, wellness services, massages along with private events. A pamphlet for The Freedom Factory was included in the gift bag so you can follow up with any question you may have.
First we went over the decarboxylation and infusion process, with the different ways it can be done. Decarboxylation is the process in which cannabis is heating to activate the THC so you get the effects most people are looking for. It was recommended to heat the cannabis for 20 minutes at 220 degrees F in an aluminum foil pouch to activate the THC. The infusion process can be done on a stove, crock pot/slow cooker, (on low) and even sous-vided.
There are a variety of different ways you can infuse cannabis into your food; the key component is fat to bind to the THC & CBD. In today’s class we used a 2:1 CBD to THC ratio cannabis to ensure everyone had a good experience. We passed around some non-infused coconut oil, then some infused coconut oil to show the difference in colour and smell. We also saw different strengths of infused oil, some of which (the high CBD oil) we would use in today’s recipes. The legal, lab tested cannabis that was used in the recipe was passed around so people could see the high CBD starting material we would be working with.
Once everyone was ready, we washed our hands and got ready to chop. Starting with the tomatoes we were instructed how to hold the knife, remove the stem and slice it up. There was no pressure to stick to a recipe, with it being pointed out that everyone has their own preferences so chop the tomatoes large or small, whatever you prefer. We worked our way through the rest of the ingredients, getting tips as we did. It was mentioned that all the recipes were included in our gift bag at the end of the class, so we weren’t preoccupied with copying down the recipe.
Once all our ingredients were incorporated we did a quick taste test to see if anything needed to be adjusted. Once we were happy with the flavour we added some infused and regular oil. To my surprise the oil did a big part to help bring the flavours together. It was mentioned that the flavours would develop over night, making it ideal to prepare the day before you want to eat it.
Next we worked on the beef chili as a group. We were called up to the main demo station where we were encouraged to feel the heat from the pan before the onions and seasoning were added. Once the onions had started to sweat, chunks of tomato were added and then finally the ground beef. As the beef was starting to cook we proceeded to cut up our avocados, getting ready to make guacamole. As the beef finished up, some more tomatoes were added to give a bit more liquid. Once tasted, the beef was ready to serve.
The third recipe we learnt was for infused guacamole. At this point we were familiar with the knives and ingredients so it was relatively quick to chop the onions, parsley, green onions, hot peppers, limes and toss them in with the avocadoes. Both the salsa and guacamole called for Worchester sauce and garlic, adding nice flavours I’m not used to in these dishes. The guacamole was also sweetened with sweet chili sauce, which was very tasty. The chopped ingredients were added to the avocados in a bowl and mashed together. We added some infused & non-infused cooking oil and seasoning, as we made any final adjustments.
This was my first time infusing a guacamole or salsa, both of which came together very smoothly and could easily create a large portion to serve multiple people. As we were making the food I learnt cooking techniques, different ways in infuse cannabis and some new recipes to cook with.
Once everyone was happy with the food they made, we packaged it into the provided containers for us to take home and enjoy. As we did this, the group plate of nachos were decorated with the guacamole, salsa and beef chili that were prepared in the class.
We helped our selves to the freshly made nachos to sample our creation. It was stressed that all the samples made to enjoy in class were non-medicated so everyone got home safely. As people snacked on their food, the floor was open for questions anyone may have. At the end we were given custom High Folks Edibles bags to bring home our infused food in. Including were some plain dipping chips with cheese, sour cream, some of the beef chili we made, a print out of all three recipes, and a brochure for The Freedom Factory.
Overall, I really enjoyed my experience at the High Folks Edibles infused cooking class. I was pleasantly surprised with how much I learnt about cooking as well as cannabis. If you didn’t know, you quickly realized the class was run by a head chef who knows what’s he’s doing in the kitchen and is able to answer your questions about cooking and cannabis.
I had a great time at the first High Folks Edibles cooking class and really enjoyed the infused food I got to make. The next classes are scheduled for the following Tuesday evenings from 7pm to 9:30pm. There will also be classes other nights of the week so stay posted. Tickets are available at The Freedom Factory website for more information and to sign up for a class. The chef, Michael Lawrence, can be contacted through Instagram (HighFolks_Edibles) and email (firstname.lastname@example.org) where he offers his service of using your provided cannabis to infuse food and/or cater an event for you.
The folks running the event were very friendly and well organized, so don’t hesitate to reach out and ask any question you may have.