Cannabis sales have been thriving as a result of the coronavirus, with people clearly getting the most out of their self-isolation downtime. This makes the launch of a new Netflix cannabis cookery show – which is co-hosted by chef and ‘Milkshake’ singer Kelis – at the height of the pandemic feel like inspired timing.
Each episode of Cooked With Cannabis features three weed chefs competing for a $10,000 prize as they cook dishes for very stoned guests including Ricki Lake, Too $hort and El-P (of Run The Jewels). Food is cooked in peri peri sauces and avocado oils that get you baked, while Kelis, who insists in episode five that the show is all about “taking weed out of the dorm rooms and elevating it”, exchanges awkward banter with hugely irritating weed chef Leather Storrs.
The premise is a little basic, while the production values will remind you of a show your bored gran might watch on The Food Network during an afternoon weekday. Yet even if the overly-nice atmosphere fails to replicate the sheer ultra-competitive drama of a Hell’s Kitchen or Masterchef, the show just about holds your attention by pushing some interesting ideas around the science of weed.
Each contestant isn’t just judged on the taste of their three courses, but also on how their plates balance THC, the psychoactive compound in cannabis that gets people high, and CBD, which doesn’t get you high but does heal and relax your body. Watching the chefs plate up with carefully considered doses of these two compounds is a clever touch, and they tend to get diners stupidly high with the main course and then smooth out their ride with more CBD for dessert.
— KELIS (@kelis) April 17, 2020
This is about educating mainstream viewers on the benefits of weed and showing that eating food enthused in the drug can go beyond ingesting dodgy space cakes at a festival. Each episode has a different theme, inspiring dishes such as Gazpacho with a thin layer of bong smoke (a lot yummier than it sounds, promise), a rib-eye steak submerged in garlic butter mixed with the euphoric strain Wedding Cake, and even a carrot gel loaded with THC. In this regard, it’s not a million miles away from The Great British Bake Off, but less about baking and more about getting baked.
Yet sadly, not all of the themes work, and watching people try to cook with weed enthused-meal worms and grasshoppers as part of a futuristic food task will make you feel like you’re about to have a whitey. Beyond Cynthia, a hippie who likes to say fuck a lot, and Harold, a passionate afro-fusion chef likely to compare one of his dishes to Malcolm X, the contestants are also a little dull. However, if Leather was swapped for someone Kelis didn’t look like she hated, the format was made more competitive, and there was more obvious information on how stoner viewers could cook these dishes themselves at home then Cooked With Cannabis could shift from just okay to compelling. At the moment, it feels like the early iteration of a format that’s waiting to be improved and turned into a staple.
‘Cooked With Kelis’ is streaming now on Netflix