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Haute Stoner Cuisine
May 19, 2010 2:10 PM   Subscribe

While it should not come as a surprise that some chefs get high, it’s less often noted that drug use in the kitchen can change the experience in the dining room.
posted by gman (59 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
What are the odds, I wonder, that we'll see de facto pot decriminalization across most of the US in our lifetimes? I'm thinking pretty good, unless I'm just seeing confirmation bias in the articles that make it to the blue.
posted by jquinby at 2:16 PM on May 19, 2010


I'd rather my chefs get high than smoke. It's the difference between this:

STONED CHEF: Oh, man, lots of butter and garlic would be so awesome on this.

SMOKER CHEF: I can't taste anything. Just dump a lot of salt on.
posted by Astro Zombie at 2:18 PM on May 19, 2010 [29 favorites]


SOMEBODY who will remain nameless used to get into a frying-things in bacon fat mood when high. Turns out, yes, everything is better fried in bacon fat. Everything.
posted by The Whelk at 2:19 PM on May 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


SOMEBODY who will remain nameless used to get into a frying-things in bacon fat mood when high.

Somebody had to be high to be in that mood?
posted by runningwithscissors at 2:23 PM on May 19, 2010


writing an article that makes me dislike both weed and food is no small feat
posted by nathancaswell at 2:24 PM on May 19, 2010 [10 favorites]


To be sure, substance abuse and addiction are concerns in the restaurant industry, and any restaurant where an employee or owner is caught with illegal drugs could lose its liquor license.

Next week in the New York Times, a new trend sweeping the tables of even the most prestigious restaurants: diners consume a known psychoactive drug with their meal! Alcohol is now gaining acceptance in kitchens across the nation, where adventurous chefs even tailor the food to its taste while running the risk of losing their marijuana license.
posted by infinitefloatingbrains at 2:24 PM on May 19, 2010 [13 favorites]


i never knew there was a proper culinary word for cheesy chips with gravy : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poutine

having worked in a kitchen, i would hate to be stoned in one. it is all noise and heat and hot oil and shouting and metalic banging and haste and hurry. after work would be a different story.
posted by marienbad at 2:25 PM on May 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


They had to be stoned in order to think of the idea of going to Sicily to get olive oil? Idiots.
posted by The World Famous at 2:27 PM on May 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


diners consume a known psychoactive drug with their meal!

Exactly. The Times has suddenly discovered that chefs like to smoke pot, and have come up with culinary and business ideas while stoned.

This isn't news.
posted by zarq at 2:27 PM on May 19, 2010 [4 favorites]


Poutine!! God, just thinking about poutine makes me miss Canada. That and Swiss Chalet.

(Yes, I know, my standards aren't very high.)
posted by kmz at 2:28 PM on May 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


*some* chefs, that is.
posted by zarq at 2:28 PM on May 19, 2010


I've worked in a few kitchens. Every one was well stocked with baking soda, water, fire, and coke dealers.

Thanks NYTimes for over-explaining the joke.
posted by peeedro at 2:29 PM on May 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


People smoke pot, some of them are chefs. The NYT, in a vain attempt to appear relevant, tries to spot an emerging trend by stringing together a few data points and quoting a few celebrities.
posted by doctor_negative at 2:29 PM on May 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


i never knew there was a proper culinary word for cheesy chips with gravy : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poutine

It's a fuckin' staple here in Canada. Smoke's Poutinerie has like 20 different kinds, and these guys do a brisk business as well.
posted by gman at 2:29 PM on May 19, 2010


Poutine!! God, just thinking about poutine makes me miss Canada. That and Swiss Chalet.

I miss Marche Mövenpick in Montreal. Wish they had one here in NYC.
posted by zarq at 2:30 PM on May 19, 2010


I worked in the kitchen of a gourmet takeout/fancy food place when I was in high school. While I was there I got to experience working for and learning from a chef and her sous who were both pot smokers (and generous), and a different chef and his sous, who used coke. The pot-smoking chef made much better food and rarely fucked up the ordering. The coke-sniffing chef was occasionally brilliant in the kitchen, but was an asshole when he was high and incompetent when he wasn't. On the Tuesday before one Thanksgiving, with hundreds of people coming the next day to pick up their Thanksgiving orders, he put a stock pot of gravy into the walk-in. He was out of coke and didn't want to wait to get to his dealer.

Poultry stock and gravy go bad if you look at them funny; he should have put it up in shallow hotel pans so it would cool down quickly in the walk-in. When I came in at four the next morning, I found the stock pot full of sour, bacterial gravy. And he called in sick. I got the baker to drive me to a grocery store when one opened and we bought every jar of turkey or chicken gravy they had, and then went back to work and doctored the hell out of it. It was pretty good.

tl;dr: pot in kitchen good; coke/meth bad.
posted by rtha at 2:32 PM on May 19, 2010 [13 favorites]


does highly depend on the kitchen whether you can get stoned or whether it's speed only...
posted by yoHighness at 2:33 PM on May 19, 2010


Now I remembered that day last year when my pal was working at the hot dog stand on acid. So useless!
posted by yoHighness at 2:36 PM on May 19, 2010


The NYT, in a vain attempt to appear relevant, tries to spot an emerging trend by stringing together a few data points and quoting a few celebrities.

I liked the desperation evident in the Momofuku cereal-milk part, where the Times is all, "They were probably HIGH when they invented this! Ha ha ha!" and the cooks are like, "uh we were not high, no"
posted by Greg Nog at 2:40 PM on May 19, 2010 [13 favorites]


They had to be stoned in order to think of the idea of going to Sicily to get olive oil? Idiots.

No, they happened to BE high when they HAD the idea. One does not necessitate the other. This kind of logic-stunted puritanism in regards to enjoying psychoactives has always baffled me...

"Ohhhh, you have to have DESSERT at the end to enjoy your MEAL?" :: sneer sneer sneer::

"No, but I like a slice of NY cheesecake now and again. Fuck off, will ya?"
posted by FatherDagon at 2:45 PM on May 19, 2010 [7 favorites]


Holy shit! I just looked to see what else this woman wrote, and it seems she's also responsible for the abominable "lol butchers are like rock stars" article! Kim Severson continues to suck as she grasps at the last straws of relevance! I can't believe the NYT is paying her money!
posted by Greg Nog at 2:46 PM on May 19, 2010


Now this....surely I would buy a newspaper for thhhahhahahahahahaha
posted by One Thousand and One at 2:49 PM on May 19, 2010


Given that one of the pictures includes in its description "to flaor quail eggs", it looks like the Times copyeditors might also be enhancing their creativity.
posted by ooga_booga at 2:54 PM on May 19, 2010


"Duane Sorenson, the founder of the coffee roaster Stumptown, said that fat buds of marijuana often end up in the tip jar at his shops."

That's the grossest thing I've ever heard. Does he have any idea how dirty money is? I hope he doesn't try to smoke it.

Also, mmmmmm, poutine.
posted by oinopaponton at 3:06 PM on May 19, 2010


huh... you would thing that a chef might include a doobie with the appetizer... "Everything tastes great, man."
posted by Drasher at 3:06 PM on May 19, 2010


think, even
posted by Drasher at 3:06 PM on May 19, 2010


man
posted by Drasher at 3:07 PM on May 19, 2010


wut?
posted by The Whelk at 3:09 PM on May 19, 2010


Dude, I'll have the reeferied beans on stoned wheat thins and the baked alaska. And a Bud.
posted by twoleftfeet at 3:19 PM on May 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


SMOKER CHEF: I can't taste anything. Just dump a lot of salt on.

Almost. I find that any dish is rendered far more flavoursome via the addition of hot sauce and chilli flakes.
posted by turgid dahlia at 3:25 PM on May 19, 2010


have you ever really looked at your dinner

i mean really looked at it
posted by boo_radley at 3:39 PM on May 19, 2010 [12 favorites]


I'm in Central Jersey. Where can I go to get some of this "poutine?" Ideally, the primo stuff with real gravy and cheese curds.

Not snark. I'm tired of hearing about it without trying it.
posted by mccarty.tim at 3:40 PM on May 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


also this is pretty spectacular
Mr. Choi, who recently opened his first restaurant, Chego!, said he uses marijuana to keep his creativity up and to squeeze in quick breaks in the midst of 17-hour workdays.

“In the middle of a busy day, I’ll smoke,” he said. “Then I’ll go to the record store and hang out and clear my mind or pop into a matinee movie and then come back to the streets.”
A "quick break" isn't a fucking movie! "where the fuck were you, choi? we were slammed!"
"yeah, but check out this Bitches' Brew I got on vinyl!
posted by boo_radley at 3:42 PM on May 19, 2010 [11 favorites]


Holy shit! I just looked to see what else this woman wrote, and it seems she's also responsible for the abominable "lol butchers are like rock stars" article! Kim Severson continues to suck as she grasps at the last straws of relevance! I can't believe the NYT is paying her money!

I wonder if they had a photographer take some nice shots of bongs + kitchen supplies and got her to create an article around it.
posted by wcfields at 3:45 PM on May 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Slate called this their "bogus trend story of the week."
posted by pecknpah at 4:08 PM on May 19, 2010


I'm in Central Jersey. Where can I go to get some of this "poutine?"

I don't know about Jersey, but if you make it up to NYC, Pommes Frites on St. Mark's has a pretty good version. I usually pass it by in favor of just their regular french fries, accompanied by their smoke eggplant mayo. There was also a place called T Poutine that served only poutine and nothing else. However, they just closed, which delighted the hell out of me, as their poutine was fucking terrible.
posted by Greg Nog at 4:16 PM on May 19, 2010


Poutine only makes sense if you're stoned. If you're not, it's an emetic.
posted by fourcheesemac at 4:25 PM on May 19, 2010


I will also add that I worked in quite a few good kitchens (and the fine wine trade) in the 1980s, and everyone smoked cigarettes, did coke, and got high, and most were also hard drinkers.

Also, I know more than a few a chain smokers who can tell you which vintage of Chateau Petrus they are tasting blind. So I've never really bought the bullshit that cigarettes significantly affect one's ability to taste anything. As I think about it, I can't think of a chef I've ever worked with who was *not* a smoker. Or a coke head.
posted by fourcheesemac at 4:27 PM on May 19, 2010


Poutine only makes sense if you're stoned.

No way! It's also great when you're Montreal drunk*.




*Montreal drunk is about twice as drunk as normal drunk, on account of the FUCKING COLD
posted by oinopaponton at 4:28 PM on May 19, 2010


all i know is that i smoked a lot of pot when i worked at burger king. unfortunately, i didn't feel that creative towards the food.
posted by lester's sock puppet at 4:41 PM on May 19, 2010


You don't get breaks in a restaurant if you don't smoke cigarettes.

And yes, virtually every chef or high-end cook (or low-end cook, for that matter) I've ever known was a stoner. Quick, someone call Bourdain and have him state the obvious!
posted by vibrotronica at 4:42 PM on May 19, 2010


Worst is when you go to a restaurant where there are junkies on the staff. The spoons always go missing & you have to eat your soup with a fork.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:42 PM on May 19, 2010


I went to one of these once, in Mesa. Totally by accident. I'd just gotten to town for a conference and wanted a vegan sandwich. Cartoon rasta guys and HURRRRR DURRRRRRR pot jokes plastered all over the place. The sandwich was, needless to say, mediocre.

This article is just as embarrassing as a Cheba Hut, but not in quite the same way. It's a difference of kind, not of degree. sorry, sorry
posted by clavicle at 5:41 PM on May 19, 2010


OTTO: A talking dog?? What were you guys smoking when you came up with this?
WRITERS: We were eating rotisserie chicken.
posted by drjimmy11 at 5:43 PM on May 19, 2010


Jeremiah Tower, a celebrity chef and early contributor to the food design at Chez Panisse, talks in his memoir about sequencing menus including courses of nitrous oxide, ether, pot, coke, etc. (Not at Chez Panisse.)
posted by StickyCarpet at 5:43 PM on May 19, 2010


Echoing oinopaponton... Poutine is a food staple for crying out loud.
posted by Short Attention Sp at 5:44 PM on May 19, 2010


I don't how you could eat anything on nitrous what with all the frantic giggling and running around.
posted by The Whelk at 5:45 PM on May 19, 2010


Oh man. I don't know if it's a great or terrible idea to get stoned and head for Au Pied de Cochon, but now I sure as hell want to. Thanks, NYT!
posted by Devika at 7:04 PM on May 19, 2010


That article is a big ole bag of duh, but I've definitely benefitted from chef pot-headdery on a number of occasions.
posted by solipsophistocracy at 7:26 PM on May 19, 2010


Weed or coke in the kitchen?

This is a false dichotomy.
posted by vapidave at 8:54 PM on May 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


jquinby: "1What are the odds, I wonder, that we'll see de facto pot decriminalization across most of the US in our lifetimes? I'm thinking pretty good, unless I'm just seeing confirmation bias in the articles that make it to the blue."

Depends. How old are you?
posted by gingerbeer at 9:00 PM on May 19, 2010


that spike in 1984-Just Say No War On Drugs Era is interesting.
posted by The Whelk at 9:16 PM on May 19, 2010


I can feel my face. ON MY FACE. ON MY PLATE.
posted by bam at 10:05 PM on May 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Poutine only makes sense if you're stoned.

Poutine only makes sense if you live in a freezing freezingplace.
posted by LobsterMitten at 10:49 PM on May 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


I had a part-time job at a mexican restaurant (it doesn't get a capital because it was in Ipswich, Australia and I have a vague feeling that nothing we were serving was anything close to authentic Mexican food but I pigged out on it and loved it anyway) for about 8 years and the boss/main cook was high for about five of those years. It was great!

The restaurant moved to a place which was directly behind the local police station and the boss became paranoid about the pot smoke which was being blown into the exhaust fans above the stove so those hazy, crazy nights eventually became fairly rare. I don't think he ever came up with anything particularly spectacular as far as the food goes, but damn we had some great conversations for a while there.
posted by h00py at 3:00 AM on May 20, 2010


Also, I know more than a few a chain smokers who can tell you which vintage of Chateau Petrus they are tasting blind. So I've never really bought the bullshit that cigarettes significantly affect one's ability to taste anything.

That's my impression too, fourcheesemac.

Just the other day the British chef Marco [wiki: "the youngest chef ever to have been awarded three Michelin stars"] Pierre White "outed" himself as a cigarette smoker in some silly article.

(Which is a bit rich - since tons of early pix of the guy show him squinting his enfant terrible eyes attractively with a fag in his mouth!).

Smokers can't judge their own fug very well - but the nasty habit doesn't seem to affect their palate.
posted by Jody Tresidder at 7:38 AM on May 20, 2010


Okay, I get that you are all much more attuned to the current happenings in the civilized world than I am, but I honestly didn't know any of this. I had no idea that all these chefs were smoking pot and coming up with cool recipes as a result.

It all makes perfect sense now that I actually give it some thought, of course, but I haven't spent much time in NY restaurants.
posted by misha at 10:40 AM on May 20, 2010


It all makes perfect sense now that I actually give it some thought, of course, but I haven't spent much time in NY restaurants.

It doesn't have to be NY. It all comes down to an unrepentant dedication to excess and hedonism. The towns who have a large dead head, or pot-head, or culture have the best cooks and the best restaurant food. In the U.S. I have found this rule to always be true.

Not only that, but I'll also generalize and say that genius chefs are all, in one way or another larger than life unrepentant dedicated hedonists that will eat you, drink you, smoke you and snort you under the table. Any table, anywhere, until the first light of day.
posted by Skygazer at 11:33 AM on May 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


A knife, a fork, a bottle, and a cork,
That's the way we spell New York, man.
You see, no matter where I treat my guests
They always like my kitchen best.

posted by clockwork at 3:05 PM on May 20, 2010


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