Chef Gigi Diaz serves up ‘Mexicated’ cannabis-infused cuisine 

Imagine yourself having a leisurely meal of cannabis-infused offerings. Each plate offers a low-dose delight that is a sensual treat, as well as a cannabinoid receptor stimulant. The strain of cannabis is celebrated with foods that match its flavors, as well as a bit of the bud or a few dabs of the same in a seamlessly coordinated culinary experience.

Chef Gigi Diaz, executive chef for Cannabis Concepts and 2017 High Times Cannabis Cup Michigan Top Chef, could serve that up for you. Diaz seems to do it all with her catering, event planning, aesthetician, infusing business.

"I host different dinners, private dinner parties, cooking demos, things of that nature," she says. "I do different pop-ups as well as five-course gourmet dinners when I host my monthly private events. I do cooking demonstrations. People can hire me to come to their home to do cooking classes, catering, that type of thing."

Diaz is known for her Mexicated offerings of tacos, burritos, quesadillas, and more at cannabis gatherings. Most of her offerings have low doses of THC, although she assures that if you want a lobster dinner with 250 milligrams of THC delivered to your house, she can ... well, deliver.

"All of the dosages are adjusted to what the client prefers," says Diaz.

The amount of knowledge she brings to bear is impressive. The versatility Diaz demonstrates is rooted in making her own infusions instead of depending on someone else's product. She makes oils, vinaigrettes, salts, marinades, rubs, and seasonings. The form of infusion can vary, and it can be layered through different aspects of the dish, from an infused cooking oil to the various spices applied before or after cooking. Generally, dishes will contain two to five milligrams of THC so customers can have an enjoyable experience and still function, but she'll cook with high-dose Rick Simpson Oil for patients treating cancer.

That's just the food end of the business. Diaz is also a licensed aesthetician and lends her skills to infusing a variety of skin, nail, and hair treatments with CBD and hemp oils. The combinations of possibilities seem endless with Diaz's skills. Imagine a bridal party or spa day with infused smoothies and snacks, as well as facials and massages.

"The thing about cannabis is it loves everybody who loves it back," says Diaz.

Diaz has always worked in the events and hospitality business, throwing the flavor of her Caribbean background into the mix. Since adult-use legalization last fall her business has picked up and everybody seems to want to know more. And it's not just the cannabis for Diaz — she focuses on locally sourced foods with a farm-to-table emphasis of organic meats and vegetables. That menu can stretch to include vegan offerings such as a hemp milk cheese and raw alkaline recipes. There are a wide variety of cannabis users in her customer mix. Diaz's clients span the metro area. Not all of them are interested in THC and the high. Sometimes the order is for CBD or for hemp.

"People have these preconceived notions, a lot of people who contacted me don't fit the stoner image," says Diaz. "I've yet to find myself in a compromising situation. People want to know how to cook with cannabis. They want to know what it does. A lot of people who are interested are not your stereotypical stoner."

Diaz comes to the food business through her family. Her father owned a restaurant in the Virgin Islands, and her mother "grew up in the taco houses of Flint." She's moved back and forth to the Caribbean but has stayed in Detroit the past eight years. Her history has been working in the service industry and cooking, managing hotels ($36 million worth of properties at one time), and teaching culinary arts.

"All my background and experience has brought me to this place," she says.

This seems like a very good place to be with Diaz's skills and inclinations. She shows that there are ways to move into the cannabis business without having to grow it or own a dispensary or have a half million dollars to throw at licenses and property development. Getting a little Mexicated can be a good thing in a safe place. Chef Gigi can handle that — from dinner for two to more than 200. It's the kind of business we're ready for around here. You can contact Diaz on Instagram at Hightimes_Topcannabischef_gigi.

CBD and a video

There is a sign outside Family Video on the corner of Coolidge and Catalpa in Berkley that declares "Inside family Video CBD sold here!" It's a heck of a sign leaving no question as to where to get your CBD, and it adds a little excitement with the exclamation point.

Video stores have nearly become a thing of the past, and Family Video has met the challenge by diversifying its product line to include other products and various forms of CBD, including for pets.

Top THC strain

Marijuana growers are always looking for ways to increase the THC content of plants. Cross breeding is one way to do it, as well as manipulating the growing environment and various fertilizers. Another way is the blind luck of genetics — you know that one seed that grows something you've never experienced before. High Times magazine has reported that a strain of Brownie Scout grown by Green Thumb Industries in Illinois was found to have 37.5 percent THC. That's the highest percentage of THC ever reported in a plant. According to leafly.com, the most potent strains test at just shy of 30 percent, and most high-potency strains are in the 18-20 percent range.

Personal note

I had a couple of interesting cannabis interactions right on my street recently. I've been getting busy in the front yard with the warmer weather and preparing for summer. While I was raking leaves at the curb one day, a passing car pulled over. It was a neighborhood friend who surprised me by pulling a bud out of a container and passing it to me before driving off. I guess I was in the right place at the right time for that one.

Another neighbor who is retired approached me to ask if I used marijuana. We've been neighbors for more than 20 years, and have interacted a lot. I told her that I do. I'm pretty sure that she doesn't. The subject never came up before, but it's pretty obvious since I write this column. I think we're still good with each other, but I'm not sure.

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