Whether it’s thanks to nationwide legalisation in Canada, or the growing number of American states who seem to be more comfortable with stoners, cannabis is going through something of a renaissance. As the science behind recreational use becomes ever more compelling for advocates, companies across many different fields are experimenting to see how they can fit marijuana into their business model. Naturally, cooks are also keen to get in on the action. Once upon a time, a funky brownie was about as adventurous as you could get. Now, all sorts of new limits are being explored in the kitchen.
To the casual observer, it might look like the only countries at the coal face of pot testing lie across the Atlantic. But, as an innovative restaurant in Brighton is busy proving, Britain may not be too far behind the businesses currently stealing the headlines. Opening this December, “The Canna Kitchen” will be the first ever British restaurant to serve a vegan menu, with almost every dish created with the cannabis compound cannabidiol.
According to the kitchen’s director, Sam Evolution, the restaurant will revolve around the best seasonal British ingredients, all “infused with the healing properties of cannabinoids.” Some of the dishes on display include “zaa’tar roasted cauliflower”, “hemp heart tabbouleh”, “smoked aubergine” and “sesame cavolo nero”.
Speaking to The Argus, Evolution revealed that he and the team are interested in all facets of the cannabis plant, beyond just what tastes good. He wants to “change the way that people view cannabis”, and states that “The numerous beneficial properties of the cannabis plant” have long been an inspiration for him. He added that “It is one of the most versatile crops in nature, with potential applications in almost every area of our modern life. It also happens to be the most nutritionally complete human food source on the planet, with a host of therapeutic benefits.” The more holistic approach afforded by a plant-based restaurant means that the new venture can genuinely claim to be about more than just eating.
Head chef, Charlotte Kjaer, agrees with this attitude. Speaking about The Canna Kitchen’s ever-changing menu, she said that she “enjoy[s] cooking with the seasons and in harmony with nature, a diet rich in seasonal plant based food is not only nutritious for the body, but also beneficial for the planet.” With new ventures like this finding their feet, could this signal the start of cannabis’ status as the ultimate health food?
Though the implications of a marijuana-based diet are still up for debate, it has been made abundantly clear that the restaurant will not cater for diners who are just looking for a legal and delicious way to get high. Staff have been quick to point out that all of the ingredients used at the restaurant have been treated to remove any of marijuana’s psychoactive characteristics. The only way to get stone at The Canna Kitchen is if someone hasn’t properly prepared an olive.
It remains to be seen whether the new restaurant’s revolutionary ingredient and preparation method will be a hit with British audiences. Marijuana is still a controversial topic for many in the UK. But, if Canna can make a success of it, the future may be bright for weed in the kitchen.