Chef Spotlight: Coreen Carroll of the Cannaisseur Series
Meet the Talented Chef Behind the Bay Area’s Hottest Underground Infused Pop-Up
(Photo Credit: Dope Magazine)
Imagine an evening of small infused bites, curated cannabis pairings, and a gourmet meal prepared by one of San Francisco’s most talented canna-culinary chefs. Meet Coreen Carroll - also known as the Fraulein Chef - who has created a dining experience like no other.
After launching the Cannaisseur Series in 2015 with fiancé and ganjapreneur Ryan Bush, Carroll’s four-course meals including three intermezzo flower pairings have enchanted Bay Area foodies who wish to elevate fine dining by incorporating cannabis into their cuisine. Offering dinner, brunch, and mixer-style events, this underground pop-up series includes low-dose infused hors d’oeuvres followed by a non-infused meal paired with artisan flower provided by local growers. Each event has a unique theme and menu combining the non-psychoactive ingredients from the plant including terpenes, CBD, THCA, non-decarbed flower, canna leaves, and more. Guests are also provided with education and have the opportunity to meet an array of cannabis producers and manufacturers.
The Cannaisseur Series is only a part of Carroll’s fascinating story. Born and raised in Germany, her love for the gourmet world began at a young age as she learned to cook beside her mother and grandmother. As a devout foodie, she later followed her passion to San Francisco where she attended the San Francisco Cooking School, worked as a butcher’s apprentice at 4505 Meats, assisted with the pop-up restaurant Sub Culture Dining Series by Chef Russell Jackson, and helped run the classes and catering department at The San Francisco Cheese School where she became an expert of international cheeses.
Throughout these experiences, Carroll learned the ins and outs to creating a successful culinary business. She also discovered a unique way to differentiate herself - cooking with cannabis.
(Photo Credit: Discovery Network)
We were fortunate enough to catch up with Coreen Carroll to hear more about her incredible story and the Cannaisseur Series. Included below is her favorite cannabis and cheese pairings, tips on preserving terpenes when cooking, two foods she cannot live without, and much more.
Tell us about yourself and why you launched the Cannaisseur Series?
I was born and raised in Germany and moved to the United States when I was 13. After college, I did a stint in the corporate world and quickly realized that is not where I wanted to be. I moved to San Francisco in 2012 with my fiancé. While I was in culinary school in 2013, he went to Oaksterdam University in Oakland to learn about entering the cannabis industry.
When I graduated school, we founded Madame Munchie, an infused edibles company making gourmet French macarons with two other partners. We immediately entered the High Times Cannabis Cup and won the ‘Best Edible’ category 1st Prize! That really helped launch our business and gave us a lot of credibility out of the gate.
After running that for a year and a half, I decided it wasn’t giving me enough of a creative release so we decided to sell our interest in the company to our partners and I would focus on creating the Cannaisseur Series.
We started this event series in 2015 with a dinner because there was really nothing like this out there. We wanted to show what responsible social consumption could look like. A place where people could enjoy great food and great conversation while sharing some of the best cannabis on earth. We have a really vibrant cannabis community here in Northern California so we also wanted to showcase some of the great entrepreneurs, creating some phenomenal cannabis products and give them a chance to mix and mingle with the folks consuming them. We’ve since expanded the series to include brunch and an array of different mixer-style events as well.
With your extensive knowledge of international cheeses, can you recommend a cannabis and cheese pairing?
The pairing possibilities are endless. Cheese is, in my opinion, the best pairing for cannabis. The taste, smells and textures just go along well with so many flower varieties. It’s like picking a favorite child in my eyes, but if I had to, I am really into pairing a Strawberry OG with a Point Reyes Bay Blue used in a Strawberry Field Green Salad with Endive. I also love a good Brilliant-Savarin with a citrusy Tangie Flower and a glass of unoaked Chardonnay. It makes a great poolside snack.
We love your philosophy of infusing CBD into your middle courses. For those of us who cook at home, what strains work best for creating a more mellow infusion?
Unfortunately, good quality CBD strains are a little harder to find at a lot of the local dispensaries, so there just aren’t that many choices if you don’t have some friends who grow it. I do have a few strains that we work with pretty regularly. Harlequin is the most popular strain usually in the 3:1 CBD to THC range, so there’s still a little of that THC high in there. If you’re looking for something with almost zero psycho-activity then ACDC is a great strain that usually tests in the 20:1 range.
Can you recommend any cooking tips on how to best preserve terpene profiles?
The best trick is to do the least amount to it. Terpenes are very sensitive and lose their luster rather quickly when heated or agitated. Use them as a last addition to ice cream, popsicles, cocktails, sauces, etc. I don’t recommend baking with them or using them in long cooking dishes. Just finish your dish off with some terpenes and enjoy the aroma and flavor.
What are two foods you cannot live without?
Just two?!? I would have to say cheese and cannabis. Is cannabis a food? Oh yes, I like taking the non-psychoactive portions of the plant and using them in my cooking. Candied canna leaves or Parisian gnocchi with the canna leaf herbs. Or using the terpenes and undecarbed flower for flavor. I want people to see the plant more as another vegetable or herb. Something to use in cooking as normal as using chives or basil. From plant to plant the flavor of the leaves change, which is a Candyland for someone like me because it gives me a whole new set of flavors and aromas to work with.
(Photo Credit: Michael Rosati)
Special thanks to Coreen and the Cannaisseur Series team for bringing their one-of-a-kind dining experiences to the Bay Area. Her passion for cooking and sharing gourmet food with the adventurous palate is truly inspiring.
To attend a Cannaisseur Series event, please visit cannaisseurseries.com to view their upcoming events.
To learn more about recipe development, food styling services or to book private catering, please visit coreencarroll.com.
Peace, Love & Cannabis,
The Herb Somm
(Photo Credit: Craig Hackey)