Cannabis could be the future of fine dining. As New York state continues to work out recreational marijuana regulations, chefs are getting ready to work with a new ingredient.
“Rosin can be made out of nugs or flour - your typical cannabis flour - keef, or hash,” said chef Nathan Koscielski, an assistant professor at Niagara Falls Culinary Institute.
He started Culinary Cannabis two years ago at Niagara Falls Culinary Institute.
“A lot of chefs talk about working with an animal snout to tail," he said. "I teach all the students how to use every different part of the cannabis plant.”
This is the first and only class of its kind in the SUNY system.
“I had many students tell me that they wanted to learn more about cannabis because they were going to the West Coast, and they didn't know enough about it,” said Koscielski.
It’s not what you might picture.
“A lot of people just think we're a bunch of stoners talking about how we want to get high,” said Claire Antonio, a student in the class.
For students, this is vital knowledge.
“It just opened my eyes up even more to different things,” said Sarah Randall, another student.
“I'm hoping to be able to incorporate cannabis into everything," said Antonio. "There's a lot of health benefits behind it that people don't know about.”
They’re learning the ins and outs of marijuana and are excited about what tomorrow will bring.
“I want to do more of a fine dining kind of twist with it," said Randall. "You can have whole dinner spreads, lunch spreads, breakfast spreads, and they can all be infused with cannabis.”
To do that, you need to know food, but also math, science and technology that you might not come across every day.
“I found overall the best quality is with the brand name called Nug Smasher,” said Koscielski, describing a new piece of equipment they had.
With more than 60 students trained already, Koscielski looks forward to what's on the horizon.
“Some people don't call it the golden age, but they call it the green age,” he said.
He's ready to expand this into a lab class, breaking down stigma and getting people familiar with the flavors of the future.
“Every chef has seen every ingredient that this planet has pretty much to offer," Koscielski explained. "I know within my lifetime I'm never going to have a new ingredient introduced into the kitchen like cannabis is.”
The goal is for that lab class to begin next semester.
Niagara County Community College also offers courses where you can learn how to properly grow, cure and dry cannabis. Koscielski says they are also interested in offering cannabis-infused foods at the restaurant on campus.
Down the line, the goal is to become the country’s first true farm-to-table cannabis model.