The Upstarts

Michael Magallanes

Chefs have been migrating to the cannabis realm for several years but only recently reached critical mass. Culinary schools don’t keep numbers, but they hear anecdotally that graduates head directly into the business while others drift in after clocking in time at restaurants. It seems like a natural interest based on a chef’s inclination to explore the complexities of ingredients and the ingrained desire to make people happy with food.

Here’s a snapshot of Michael Magallanes, who has trained at some of the country’s most renowned restaurants.

Magallanes is a thinking man’s chef, which is not surprising considering he holds a degree in philosophy. He started cooking with cannabis only a few years ago. Magallanes has made up for lost time with cold water-extracted hash and using physics and chemistry to completely alter food shapes, flavors and textures.

“After months of experimenting, sending samples to labs, I’ve come up with various methods to balance the terpenes and manage the THC levels,” he says of the achievement that’s instrumental to layering flavors. Alcohol is absent from his pop-up dinners.

“You can have a more cerebral experience with cannabis than with alcohol,” he says.

These days he’s experimenting with packaged edibles. “Higher-end confections are on the board. Later this year, we’ll hopefully launch a product.”


Culinary Cred

– Former chef at Michelin-starred Aziza and Mourad.

– Pairs specific cannabis strains with flavor profiles of food, but typically favors terpene profiles found in sativas.

– Decarbs very gently to preserve terpenes.