take that, liver.
While many of us have experienced some kind of bud-food fusion (often in the form of dubious baked goods), it’s a whole new world out there when it comes to cooking with cannabis. And an up-and-coming contributor to the scene is Chef Buds, aka Dave Wais.
We were lucky enough to meet Chef Buds at the CBD Dinner we sponsored at Parlor & Yard back in July, where he contributed his 16-hour smoked pork shoulder to an epic night of food and education.
Like many young chefs-to-be, Dave’s first inspiration came from his family kitchen. His mother and aunt grew up in the shadows of Eastern Europe’s Carpathian Mountains, where everything was homemade from scratch. After emigrating to New York, they shared their Eastern European culinary traditions with young Dave. He developed a love for his ancestral cuisine as a way of connecting with his family and his history.
As he got older and decided that he wanted to cook for a living, attending culinary school seemed like the next step. But the debt that would have come with that education gave him pause.
Instead, he decided to forge his own path.
Pro tip: don’t ever let anyone tell you that you’re wasting your time by watching cooking shows. Dave supplemented his early cooking education with the Food Network, learning about world cuisines from traveling chef pioneers like Anthony Bourdain and Andrew Zimmern. He honed his technique by watching experts like Bobby Flay and replicated their recipes at home with his own unique twist.
As a regular recreational user, cooking with cannabis was something that he was interested in trying. But his first taste happened almost by accident.
While hanging out with his brother and a few friends one night in New York, he tried his hand at an infusion of flowers in oil. The next morning, one of his buddies made eggs, unwittingly using the infused oil.
They learned the hard way that it was important to get your dosing right. Because of the way the body’s liver metabolizes weed when eaten rather than smoked, people are often hit much harder by edibles. Through trial and error, Dave started to work out the strength of his infusions.
He found that this marriage between two of his favorite things opened up a new world that he was eager to explore. In 2012, Dave moved from New York to California, where he could dive into cannabis culture and cooking in a more open way.
Now, he creates his own recipes using homemade THC and CBD oil infusions, store-bought versions like Pot d’Huile, and flowers. The nice thing about oils, he says, is that it’s really easy to get your dosing consistent. He also likes to make infused clarified butter (butter with water and milk proteins rendered out).
But he doesn’t only cook with infused oils. Dave likes to use flowers too, as you get more medicinal value from the unprocessed plant. His tip for cooking with flowers? A thorough rinse. Simple water will get some of the chlorophyll out and reduce that pungent cannabis flavor.
For beginners who may want to start cooking with weed, he suggests that you play around to see what works for you. And start out slow as you figure out your ideal dose. You can always add more, but you can’t take it away.
When he got started, there weren’t as many resources out there for the home chef who wanted to cook with cannabis. Now, there are cookbooks like JeffThe420Chef’s The 420 Gourmet, and websites galore.
And you can get tips from Chef Buds himself on his YouTube channel where he makes recipes like CBD Avocado Toast and “Some Type of Pizza”.
On camera, he marries a New York accent with California ease. In fact, he seems to have adopted the California vibe easily. When I called him to chat, he was in the middle of a yoga sesh. And one of his videos shows him using lemons straight from the tree outside his apartment because “We don’t pay for lemons up in this bitch.”
Dave is optimistic about the future of marijuana. He anticipates legalization across the country, especially now that hemp has crossed the first hurdle. And of course, with legalization will come major regulations. But the culture has already become much more open and accepting, and he expects that trend to continue.
As for his own use, he described a GRAV piece that he uses as his daily driver. “It kind of looks like a vase...it’s a short stem with a fat wide base.” Further research proved that it was our Small Wide Base Water Pipe.
When he’s not developing new recipes, Dave works as a private chef and cooks for influencers and celebrities. He’s cooked for rapper Kush Papi, Instagram violinist @IamTHMPSN, and actor Peter Dante, to name a few.
His newest venture is a loft space, FourOneOneLA. There, he’ll host supper clubs, cannabis meditation sessions, sound baths, yoga, and wellness events.
He’s also adding more recipes to his website and more videos to his YouTube channel. And there’s another project in the works — a travel food show inspired by the legends that he used to watch.
For this chef, it’s all about sharing what he’s learned. As he says in one of his videos, “If you can spread some knowledge, do it. Don’t be stingy on knowledge.”
To keep up with Chef Buds, you can follow him on Instagram at @chefbuds and @fouroneonela. To watch his cooking videos, check out his YouTube channel. And visit his website at www.chefbudsofficial.com.