Jessica Catalano is a Professional Cannabis Chef, cannabis edibles expert, food writer, the pioneer of strain specific cannabis cuisine, founder of TGKR, and author of The Ganja Kitchen Revolution: The Bible of Cannabis Cuisine published by Green Candy Press. She is a Medical Cannabis and Cannabis Lifestyle advocate who has combined her two loves of food and cannabis into stylish medicated dishes for Medical Cannabis patients. Catalano pioneered strain specific cannabis cuisine for flavor; the first chef in the world to publicly
do so by infusing terpenes into cooking and baking via strain specific recipes to elevate the taste in the edibles she creates.
OOV: What did you do before you got involved in the cannabis industry?
Jessica: I was working in the health care field as well as the culinary arts/pastry arts. But I was also still working closely with cannabis both on the black and white market.
OOV: How did you get into cannabis? Where did it all start?
Jessica: I first ventured into the world of cannabis when I was in 7th grade and it has been a love affair ever since. It all started when I was with one of my girlfriends from Catholic school during summer break. She offered me a toke from some classic east coast weed and I was very excited to oblige.
OOV: What would you say has been the most difficult aspect of being in this industry? What are some roadblocks?
Jessica: With any industry, there are going to be difficult aspects that people will find themselves navigating. Everything from sexism, to political climates, to religious blocks, charlatans, tail coat riders, and a number of other negative facets. Therefore, for me personally, I think the most problematic piece are the people in this industry who are not in this for the right reasons or direct themselves with a slightly broken compass.
OOV: What motivates you to be a leader?
Jessica: Normalizing the love and knowledge of cannabis through food is what motivates me to be a leader. I truly believe in the multifaceted physical and mental health benefits that this plant brings to the table. Combine that with food, and you have created the ability to heal yourself from the inside out.
OOV: What advice would you give to a friend wanting to break into the industry?
Jessica: The best advice is to follow whatever interests you in the industry with complete passion. Follow that passion and never let it falter. And remember that anything is possible in this world if you want it badly enough.
OOV: Tell us about your first experience with cannabis.
Jessica: It was summer and I was with my girlfriend hanging out in her room as we waited for some friends to come over. Tool was blasting in the background as the summer breeze blew through her white linen curtains. She pulled out a sandwich baggie with a smile that had an 8th worth of solid sticky nugs in the bottom of the bag. She looked about her room and realized she had lost her pipe and became quite panicky. After a vain attempt to find her beloved pipe, she settled for a makeshift pipe made out of a pop can. She cleaned out the can, bent the middle, pierced a bunch of tiny holes in the bent space, and added a carb on the side. Not the best way to smoke your first time, but definitely the most interesting way to smoke your first time.
OOV: Favorite strain/product on the market right now and why? (Other than your own)
Jessica: My favorite product on the market right now is from the dispensary IGADI in Idaho Springs, CO. They are CBD pills at a 2mg THC: 22mg CBD ratio that I find very effective for reducing inflammation in the body. As a patient, you can start with one pill and see how it affects your body and increase the dose as needed. I normally gravitate towards Indica edibles or strains, so I was very excited when these pills worked well with my body chemistry.
Catalano is the Food Columnist for the international SKUNK Magazine and former Tokin’ Female of the Month. She also is a contributing editor to Diane Fornbacher’s LadyBud Magazine and contributor to the national Cannabis Now Magazine. Catalano was also named Stoner Girl of Winter 2015 by the Stoner Girl’s Guide. She is the Cannabis Chef at Cultivating Spirits teaching the Cooking with Cannabis Class as well as the Sensational Fusion Private Dinners. She cooked for and co-hosted the first cannabis pairing dinner at the 2015 Aspen X Games with the Cultivating Spirits family. Catalano has cooked for celebrities such as Snoop Dogg in Aspen and has served as a judge for the Denver Hightimes U.S Cannabis Cup in 2012, 2013, 2015, and 2016 for Edibles, Topicals, and CBD products. She has appeared on TLC, Munchies VICE, and Al Jazeera. Her work has been mentioned in Vogue Magazine, Vice, Al Jazeera, Brazil’s Carta Capital Magazine, Buzzfeed, the Associated Press, Culture Magazine, Skunk Magazine, Cannabis Now Magazine, Ladybud Magazine, FSR Magazine, Denver Westword, the Aspen Times, the Summit Daily, the Cannabist, the Stoner Girls Guide, and many more. She has also done food writing for StickyGuide, Releaf Magazine, Smell the Truth, The Nug, PROHBTD, Whaxy, Stuff Stoners Like, the Smoking Bud, and Colorado’s very own weed-rag The Daily Doobie.
Book: The Ganja Revolution