The food industry is constantly changing and the revolutionary topic on the scene is food/drink infused with cannabis. As cannabis is becoming legal in certain states the concept of how to infuse fine dining with weed is buzzing throughout the culinary community.
I sat down with Stacy Primack, Recipe and Development Consultant, of Tarukino, LLC. Tarukino, LLC is a technology driven group of innovators creating cannabis infused products. Stacy’s job is to work with one of Tarukino’s innovative products, Pearl2o, to create edible items/meals. Pearl2o is highly different from any other product in the market because it does not have the smell or taste of weed. How is that so? Did I peak your interest? Check out my sit down interview with Stacy as we discuss how she stumbled upon this new career path and where she envisions the culinary merge with infused cannabis products in the near future.
Tavi J One on One interview with Stacy Primack – Recipe and Development Consultant of Tarukino, LLC
Stacy, can you tell us a little bit about your professional background/schooling?
I was professionally trained at the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in Hyde Park, New York. The CIA program is for two semesters and then you’re allowed to do your externship anywhere in the world that will accept you as a CIA student and that the CIA accepts. I decided to do my externship in Hawaii cause it’s warm and who wouldn’t want to immerse themselves in Hawaii? The externship allows you to work in a real kitchen for a semester, which is around a 4 month time frame. I did my externship at Roy Yamaguchi Kahana Bar & Grill. Chef Yamaguchi is an alum of the CIA and a Japanese-American Celebrity Chef. I worked as a pastry cook at his restaurant.
How did you get into the Pastry Field?
When I was a kid around freshman/sophomore year I babysat my brother friends. The woman I babysat for made these elaborate/intricate Gingerbread houses during Christmas. For example she made the windows of the houses with stainglass from melted lollipops. This was my first experience of viewing food as a work of art. From then on out I knew this is what I wanted to do. In High school I did the Vo-Tech (Trade School) program where I trained in the culinary vocation and won most outstanding student. I inquired about going to culinary school. There were some pretty tough prerequistes, but when you have your heart and mind set on something you make it happen.
Where did you go after your externship?
After my externship I went back to culinary school to finish out my last two semesters where it’s mostly teaching you about the ins and outs of business law, wines, menus, etc. You get to create a fake restaurant from the ground up. During my final semester I attended a job fair that helps you get placed into different restaurants throughout the country.
That’s awesome! Where did you end up after completing the culinary program?
I was supposed to start at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, but that fell through because the Chef I was supposed to be working under left. I have a hustler spirit in me and instead of getting down I interviewed all throughout Las Vegas and ended up working at Emeril Lagasse New Orleans Fish House at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas. I worked with executive chef Michael Jordan who was also a CIA graduate.
Briefly tell us you how you ended up in the wonderful city of Chicago?
After working at Emeril Lagasse I took on my first Executive Pastry Chef position back East near my hometown at Max Downtown. It’s a high end steak cigar bar. I then did another brief stint in Hawaii working for Chef David Paul at the Colony Surf Hotel. I then took a little hiatus from the industry to reenergize and perfect my craft. I went to the New England Culinary Institute (NECI) in Vermont. From there I moved to Florida and worked at The Office, a few high end country clubs, The Ritz Carlton…..and then I decided it was time to move and my choices were between Austin, Texas and Chicago, IL. I chose Chicago because when I was working in Naples everyone I kept running into was from Chicago and Chicagoan’s are the sweetest people.
Where did you work at in Chicago?
I moved to Chicago in 2015 and worked at Nellcote and RM Champagne as the Executive Pastry Chef. I also worked at Graham Elliot Bistro, Four Corners restaurant Fremont, and GT Prime. After GT Prime I then started with Tarukino LLC.
I’m friends with the CEO of the company and he approached me to see if I would like to work for their company. This was a really cool opportunity and definitely something different. With my pastry experience and everything having to be so precise this was a good fit.
For those that don’t know about the Cannabis industry can you tell us a little bit about the product Pearl2o?
Pearl20 adds precise and consistent amounts of CBD (Cannabidiol) and THC (Tetraydrocannabinol) to your cooking and beverages. THC is the psychoactive component in marijuana that gives you the loopy effect. CBD is the non psychoactive component that relaxes you. Pearl20 uses a one to one ratio of CBD to THC. Pearl20 is different from any other product on the market because it does NOT have the weed taste or smell like other products on the market used to infused foods. Tarukino, LLC has figured out a way to take that oily substance from the plant and turn it into water. Pearl2o is served in 10mg dosages or more.
What are the effects of Pearl20?
It sort of gives you that happy high…. giggling, talkative, and smiling. Not everyone is going to feel the same. The consensus from the dinners I throw are people enjoying themselves. Sort of the equivalent of having a couple glasses of wine.
I have been to one of your legendary dinner parties you throw across the United States. For those who haven’t can you give them a little insight?
I host Cannabis dinners for the canna-curious (never tried weed before) to people looking to have a good time and enjoy themselves. I make sure everyone knows they’re in a safe and comfortable environment. I don’t reveal the location to anyone. It’s a private event I throw or someone else hires me to throw. I like to highlight different chefs whatever area I’m in and we have a really good time! Everybody is feeling great….I don’t want anyone on the floor…that’s not the purpose. It’s not something to be afraid of. It’s not like buying weed from the local drug dealer. The doses of cannabis are very regulated and precisely measured. By the end of dinner you’ve had anywhere between 10 to 15 milligrams of cannabis. Sometimes there’s even entertainment. Like a hip hop violinist or a comedian. You never know what to expect. Each party is between 10 to 40 people.
If weed is legalized in Chicago, what effects do you think it will have on the restaurant and bar industry?
When it’s legal, I don’t think it will change anything that quickly. Weed is legal in Seattle and LA and they’re still really struggling with getting a cannabis restaurant up. It’s due to weird restrictions and regulations. For example, in Seattle you are not allowed to act as a third party distributor. Which means it’s illegal if a restaurant owner were to buy weed, bring it to the restaurant, and then turn around and charge people. A future loop hole may be to grow weed and cultivate it on the premises yourself.
Some people say that weed is a gateway drug. What do you think?
Do you think alchohol is a gateway drug? I have to say I don’t think anyone will try cannabis in food and think “this is great I think I’ll start doing harder drugs.” Here’s another thing….. there are so many studies that are saying components of marijuana are good for you. Just look at the medicinal industry where it helps ailments and serious diseases people are battling.
Is there a big underground cannabis community in Chicago?
YES…I don’t know how big but, it definitely exists. Federally it’s not legal anywhere. It’s a felony. Some states are operating differently and each state has different laws.
If there’s one thing you want people to understand about Cannabis what would that be?
I want to elevate the perception of cannabis by providing guests with a safe and comfortable space where the food is the star and cannabis enhances the experience.
How can people get in touch with you for comments, questions, and to find out when/where the next dinner is?
Email me: email@example.com