Celebrity cannabis chefs will join Blaze St. Louis cannabis consumer product exposition this weekend

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As recreational cannabis legalization spreads across the United States and demand for the psychoactive plant continues to grow, so too does the market for edibles, or foods and drinks infused with marijuana. Commonly found in the form of packaged sweets such as candies, juices and cookies, edibles are rarely what comes to mind when we think of “fine dining.” Challenging that narrative are celebrity chefs Derek Upton, Chris Martin and Mike Delao, trailblazers in the infused foods space who craft cannabis-centric culinary masterpieces that have turned heads on culinary shows and competitions featured on Netflix, The Food Network, and ALTRD TV, to name a few. The chefs will showcase their skills in a series of cannabis cooking demonstrations at Blaze, the upcoming cannabis consumer product exposition taking place on June 3 and 4 at Union Station in St. Louis. 

Chef Derek Upton

Originally a professional drummer, native Californian Chef Derek Upton left the music industry at age 25 to pursue another of his lifelong passions – food. His creative roots, fondness for the industry, and a culinary school education have since made him a pioneer in the cannabis food space as well as one of the top private chefs in Phoenix, featured countless times in the city’s top news shows, food magazines, food blogs and radio shows. In 2021, he was named one of the Top 25 Private Chefs in Arizona. He has also appeared on the Netflix original show “Cooked with Cannabis” as well as in a special “Chopped 420” edition of the ever-popular Food Network show “Chopped,” which is available for streaming on Discovery Plus. Chef Derek specializes in infused dinner parties featuring six courses of cannabis-infused cuisine such as rose poached pear with lemon custard and walnuts, seared sea bass with forbidden purply sticky rice and a smoked vidalia onion jam bruschetta in the comfort of one’s own home. 

Chef Mike Delao

A true pioneer to the cannabis cooking industry, Chef Mike Delao began his culinary training in Southern California before becoming the first chef to cook with cannabis on nationally syndicated television when he appeared on the cannabis advocacy and education television program, Cannabis Planet, in 2009. More than a decade later, Chef Mike remains the resident chef on Cannabis Planet while serving as the executive chef at ChefMike420, his Southern California-based cannabis catering company. Delao is an impassioned advocate for the health benefits of a cannabis-infused diet and is “super excited to bring [his] style of eating well, detoxifying regularly and ingesting cannabis to Blaze in St. Louis.” He aims to make cannabis cooking accessible to all with his widely available recipes such as shrimp a la diabla in addition to his contributions to “The High Times Cannabis Cookbook” and “The Cannabis Kitchen Cookbook.” A two-time winner of Netflix’s cannabis cooking competition, “Cooking on High,” Chef Mike’s pioneering work has been featured nationally on CNN, ABC World News, New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. 

Chef Chris Martin

As the founder of one of the first edible companies, Zonka Chocolates, trailblazing chef Chris Martin brings 15 years of experience in the infused food industry to Blaze. He is now the founder and CEO of Hempful Farms, a multi-store retail and café concept in Arizona that has its own line of CBD products such as hemp suckers, CBD gummies and CBD chocolate bars. Originally from Kansas City, Martin grew up living in foster group homes and on the streets of Kansas City before he was victimized by the war on drugs, arrested and imprisoned for almost a decade. Spurred by his foundational experiences in the system, Martin has since made it his life’s mission to spread awareness of the healing benefits of cannabis and end the cannabis prohibition throughout the United States. “I am excited and honored to be traveling back to the Midwest, where my heart has always been,” Martin said. “Teaching is my love and cooking is my passion. Being able to infuse both with medicine in front of fellow Midwesterners is not only a privilege but an honor.” 

See two of Martin’s famous infused recipes below:

Sweet Potato Biscuits and Turkey Sausage Gravy

Sweet Potato Biscuits
• 8 oz Flour
• 1 oz Hemp flour
• 1/4 cup Hemp seeds
• 3 oz Hemp milk
• 4 oz Butter (infused)
• 2 Sweet potatoes (1 can) 9oz
• Pinch Salt

Mix ingredients, cut out biscuits and Bake at 10-12 mins at 325-350

Turkey sausage gravy
• 1 lb. ground turkey
• Salt/pepper/red fish magic
• Flour
• Hemp Seeds
• Hemp milk/dairy free milk (can be made with cream too!) 1:1
• Butter

Sauté meat with seasoning. Make roux. Add milk, thicken and serve over biscuits

Tomato Bisque
• 4 types of Roasted tomatoes
• Roasted garlic clove
• Fresh basil
• Yellow onion
• Pecorino/park cheese
• Heavy cream/hemp milk
• Hemp seeds
• Olive oil
• Salt and pepper
• Fresh basil
• Shaved parmesan

Roast tomatoes, onions and garlic in oil. Buerre mix ingredients, add cream and simmer. Add cheese and basil.

Blaze: Missouri Brand Showcase is the first-of-its-kind consumer cannabis product expo to be held in the Midwest and is designed to let the general public conveniently and confidently learn more about the region’s legal cannabis programs, products and processes in a familiar expo format. The expo will be held on June 3 and 4 at the Historic Union Station in downtown St. Louis.