A Master of Concept

With Chef Chris Binotto’s extensive experience in fine dining as well as his love for cannabis and creativity, he’s always seeking to create one-of-a-kind experiences. Binotto has worked under famous culinary figures such as chef Graham Elliot and Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto and on many teams that have achieved Forbes 5 Star and Michelin Star awards. Following his experience in fine cuisine, Binotto moved on to become a corporate chef for a company that develops menus for numerous creative pop-up restaurant concepts such as Beetle House (a Halloween and Tim Burton-inspired restaurant with locations in Los Angeles and New York), as well as other pop-up restaurant menus themed around films such as Austin Powers, Star Wars, and Home Alone.

Binotto has also had his hand in the culinary competition scene. He was a finalist on the cannabis-themed Food Network show Chopped 420 in 2021, and, more recently, he was a competitor on season four of BBQ Brawl on Food Network featuring chef Bobby Flay, chef Anne Burrell, and The Kitchen co-host Sunny Anderson.

Courtesy Chris Binotto

Binotto’s day-to-day work is dedicated to two primary projects: pop-up and catering company Embers & Ash and invitation-only dining experience the Cannabis Supper Club. While Embers & Ash offers non-cannabis dining events that channel Binotto’s “primal caveman style cooking” over a live fire, his menus with the Cannabis Supper Club explore a wide variety of infused dishes.

Through both the literal and figuratively intense heat of the kitchen that he’s experienced throughout his career, cannabis has always been a part of Binotto’s lifestyle.

“Cooking Is stressful, and I always enjoyed my partaking,” he says. “[Cannabis] really helps me personally and helps me to focus, helps me to calm and stay centered in a whirlwind of madness that is the kitchen every single day, every night. Cannabis is really just a helpful tool. I used to be a young hothead, and it kind of helped me mellow out a little bit.”

Courtesy Chris Binotto

In 2017, Binotto and his business partner Mark Leibel co-founded the Cannabis Supper Club, which acts as a platform to showcase different cannabis brands, as well as culinary artists, farmers, and other small businesses. Binotto’s role as chef has given him the freedom to merge his love for cannabis with his passion for creating unique dishes. 

“I think being able to bring community together through food, through cannabis, and through all sorts of other mediums of art… I think it’s just something very special that we all share and connect,” Binotto says.

While Cannabis Supper Club menu items are usually paired with flower, Binotto developed a special 7/10 menu recently with both concentrates and flower from Maven Genetics. His multi-course tasting menu included light, summer-inspired dishes using seasonal produce including a “sativa-viche” taco (featuring shrimp marinated in yuzu sauce), smoked watermelon gazpacho, peaches n’ pork (braised bacon with spiced peach chutney), passion fruit boba, coffee mole-crusted New York steak, and a peach tart dessert. This was complemented with a handful of Maven Genetics’s offerings such as Orange Bellini (Orange Truffle Souffle x Peach Cream Gelato), Honey Lemon Hibiscus (Sour Sangria x Lemon Pastries), Grape Ambrosia (Grape Pancakes x Ambrosia), Umami Butter (Gelatti x Black Diamond X), and Goji Berry Runtz (Kiwi Sorbet x Runtz).

Courtesy Chris Binotto

With every menu item, Binotto strives to showcase the sophistication of cannabis as an ingredient, and also elevate the cannabis community.

“One of my goals was to prove that there are real true chefs that work with cannabis,” Binotto says. “And I don’t want to say like, ‘I’m a cannabis chef.’ I’m a chef with many ranges.”

Even with his extensive culinary career, Binotto always comes back to one thing—providing a unique experience for diners.

“I want to create lifelong memories for these people,” he says. “I want them to always remember this menu or this evening, or whatever it may be. But I want to create that because anyone can cook. I mean, not everyone should, but anyone can, you know? And so it’s just like, what do you really want to do? Do you want to cook for a living? That’s okay, cool. Or do you want to create a fucking experience? And that’s what I’m all about.”

This article was originally published in the October 2023 issue of High Times Magazine.

The post A Master of Concept appeared first on High Times.


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