Glendale chef fills people’s stomachs and brains at cannabis-infused dinner event in Ridgewood

Photos by Anthony Giudice/QNS

On the day known across the country for celebrating marijuana use — April 20, better known as 4/20 — a chef from Glendale showed people a completely legal way cannabis can be used to enhance food as well as their quality of life during his “Prohibition 420 Secret Dinner” event.

Leighton Knowles, who calls himself the Culinary Ninja of Glendale, partnered with MileHigh PMP CannaConsulting, Crucial Biology, and BullsEye Farms to bring the Prohbition-style dinner event to The Keep in Ridgewood where he served over 50 people delicious foods infused with cannabidoil (CBD), a non-psychoactive component of the cannabis plant.

The event was billed as the “first-ever legal CBD dinner in New York City,” Knowles said, but the use of CBD in the food made some people a little uneasy. One day before the event there needed to be a change in venue because the owners of the original location backed out at the last moment, leaving Knowles scrambling to find a new place to hold his dinner.

Luckily, Megan Tomes owner of Crucial Biology, got The Keep — located at 205 Cypress Ave. — to step up and opened their doors for the event.

Matthew Kipp of MileHighPMP CannaConsulting assured that the event was 100 percent legal, and even sent information and lab results to the 104th and 90th Precincts, outlining their event and what they would be serving and selling.

“What we’re trying to do is, we’re trying to show that there really is a legality to this,” Kipp said. “There is a way to be safe. There is a way to represent. There’s a way to educate and give knowledge, and the benefits of tonight is, we’re not just teaching people about CBDs tonight. All the food that we made has been specifically designed around cannabis.”

Knowles served a three-course meal, meticulously prepared with 250 mg of CBD in each meal. The CBD isolate that was infused in the meal was provided by Crucial Biology, and all the meat and produce was supplied by DiMarco’s of Glendale.

Chef Knowles, and his kitchen team of James Scott and Chef Sweetz, worked with the ingredients to masterfully mask the distinctive scent and taste of cannabis in each of his dishes. There was barely a trace of cannabis flavor in any of the food Knowles served.

The first course was the “Spring Into Summer” salad consisting of mixed greens, citrus flavors, blue cheese, bacon lardons and a fruity dressing. The CBD infusion for the salad came in the dressing. The salad was a fresh and colorful start to the meal that got everybody chatting.

The main course was the “Mother Clucking Chicken,” which was sliced chicken breast topped with an apricot ginger salsa (which had the CBD in it), and new potatoes. The chicken was moist and tender, and the salsa added a splash of color and sweetness to the dish.

For dessert, Knowles served “Holy Choc,” a rich chocolate mousse, with CBD infused in the chocolate.

Although marijuana is still considered illegal under federal law, the drug currently enjoys varying levels of legality across the states, with several states already legalizing recreational use of marijuana. New York has legalized medical marijuana, but only in liquid, vapor or pill form, and has also decriminalized possession of small quantities of the substance.

CBD, however, is known to have medical benefits and is linked to easing anxiety, reducing pain and inflammation, even helping with seizures, and a host of other ailments.

One attendee of the dinner came to Ridgewood from Richmond Hill to see how CBD could help manage her pain.

Colleen Halat has fused vertebrae in her spine as well as debilitating migraines that plague her daily life. But halfway into her CBD dinner, her symptoms were gone and she was enjoying her time out.

“I’ve never smoked pot or anything like that before,” Halat said. “I wanted to see it if would help and calm down my pain. I feel better already. It seems to be calming down without any psychoactive effects.”

After everyone enjoyed their dinner, they were invited downstairs to visit with Jeff Gauthier to purchase legal CBD products from BullsEye Farms.

Knowles, Kipp and the crews from BullsEye Farms are looking to hold more events across NYC to serve up more delicious foods and spread the word about CBD and its medicinal properties.