Cannabis Concepts is a creative mother/daughter team creating delicious Latin and Mexican-inspired cannabis cuisine. Here, we learn more about head chef, Ginalisa Diaz, and her inspiration in starting Cannabis Concepts:
How did you get into cooking?
I was introduced to cooking by my parents. In the past, we owned a few restaurants- one being in St Croix, Virgin Islands and the other in Vieques Island, Puerto Rico. Before my mother began working at General Motors, she grew up assisting my grandmother in one of Flint, Michigan’s most beloved Mexican restaurants. As a youth, I was able to take part in the bustling atmosphere, flavors, spices and business transactions of this restaurant as well.
I have been professionally cooking for 12 years. I worked in events and as a private chef doing pop ups.
How did you make the transition to cannabis cuisine?
Making the transition was very natural for me. My love of fresh herbs, spices and delicious food with medicinal properties has always been the goal. Clean, fresh, healthy, and delicious eating starts by seasoning your food with the proper herbs and spices. Cannabis is such a flavorful and aromatic herb with so many medicinal properties. It’s a wonderful way to medicate. Also having experience growing organic medicinal cannabis, an extensive background in high-end tourism/event planning and a degree in business have also contributed quite a bit to my transition.
“People love to eat. The cannabis industry is growing and new products are emerging every day. It is about standing out and bringing awareness to your product.”
Are your family and friends aware of your involvement in the industry?
Not only are my friends and family aware, but my mother is my sous chef and fellow Master Grower. Together we prepare recipes that are generations old as well as get dirty in the garden. We love cooking together. The support of both of my parents has been wonderful.
My father’s Afro Caribbean influence comes through in a lot of my dishes. He lends me so many savory recipes. I enjoy being able to explore several different flavors and infuse them with cannabis.
What business challenges have you encountered upon starting out?
The challenges I have encountered are the differences in transparency regarding the laws from state to state. It is also a challenge creating dialogue about cannabis cuisine with a refined gourmet approach and getting people used to the idea of using cannabis as an herb/seasoning.
“The changes I have seen in the industry have been positive for the most part. more awareness, more people willing to break the stigma.”
How do you deal with people who are not open to the use of cannabis in food?
I respect peoples’ decisions to remain uneducated about the many benefits cannabis has. However, it is also all in the approach in educating people about cannabis food. Everyone has to eat. Not everyone has to have cannabis but it makes consuming it far more appealing. It also gives patients with restrictive conditions the ability to medicate when grown properly.
It’s vegan, it’s organic and it’s an herb with medicinal properties, just like chamomile.
Who are your favorite chefs?
Who are your favorite ingredients?
I enjoy using infused oils, keif spice blends and infused butters.
Who is your signature dish?
Our signature dish is our Mexicated Quesadilla. A giant golden freshly grilled 13-inch tortilla layered with your choice of seasoned medicated chicken, ground beef or steak topped with all of the trimmings and medicated condiments.
On the future of Cannabis Concepts:
I see a solid product line going to market and a franchise of cannabis infused restaurants.
What advice can you give to budding cannachefs?
Do your research about the industry first, then explore what style of food you want to do. Get a lawyer. Fine tune your product, network, and develop your brand. Focus on your target audience, stay consistent, and have fun!