Interview with Chef Christopher Sayegh, Founder & CEO of The Herbal Chef
I’ve had the pleasure of working with Chef Christopher Sayegh on the Cooking with CBD event, debuting in Philly this Thursday, July 11. Here, he discusses his background and path to becoming one of the top Infusion Chefs in the world and Founder & CEO of The Herbal Chef.
Tell us about your background, and how you got your start as a Chef.
My journey started while studying molecular cell biology at the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC) on my way to medical school and eventually a doctor. I became fascinated with the plant and how my studies were intertwining with a broader world view. I had a realization one day after an experience with psilocybin that I was meant to heal people, but through food using plant medicine. I had always worked with my grandparents and parents cooking food as well as food jobs here and there, but my first real introduction to cuisine was at 2 Michelin Starred, Melisse in Santa Monica. That really formed and shaped me as a cook. I think by starting multiple businesses in the food industry over time—that was what lead me to a chef title.
How did you make the pivot from molecular cell biology, to the top infusion Chef in the world?
I had a very vived vision of myself working with the land and plants helping heal people through my cooking. It is an image that was burned into my memory from that fateful day that I did psilocybin with my friends in the beautiful scenery around Santa Cruz. I remember everything from that day very fondly. I don't think it is a very big leap from science background to working with Cannabis, I think that is is almost necessary in order to work with a psychoactive substance in order to properly dose correctly. Many people can infuse, but not all can dose. That is the key to a regulated market that does well.
What made you decide to specialize in Cannabis and CBD Infusion?
I have made it my mission to de-stigmatize plant medicine in the eyes of Western civilization. This plant is so much more than just getting people high and the world, especially patients, deserve to have this abundant source of healing and material.
Cannabis and CBD are at the top of all of the 2019 Top Culinary trends list. Why?
I think it is because it was taboo for so long, now it is getting a ton of buzz. CBD will be everywhere and in everything in the future, as it should be. THC however, will be up to the individual whether they want to consume. I think these are exciting times for us as humans and the amount of delicious plant medicine coming into the mainstream.
What's your favorite dish to infuse? Well, one savory and one sweet. (You always need both, in my opinion!)
Couldn't agree more! I think my favorite dish is the carrot dish we put together. Its a humble carrot done so well that you forget its a carrot. And the sweet (my favorite) is a Coconut, Strawberry and Sage dish that is so delicious we have had people lick the bowl.
What's the biggest misconception about Cannabis? What about CBD?
I think that the biggest misconception is that Cannabis is the same thing as CBD. Or vice versa. It is difficult to say the biggest, because it really matters how much pop culture and information have penetrated a certain area or demographic. Everywhere that we travel we run into wildly different opinions of why cannabis is bad, most stemming from that it is harmful to the body. The only reason this would be harmful is the way someone consumes it and how much they consume.
What is one thing you should look for in selecting CBD?
The Lab test! NO Pesticides, NO heavy metals, nothing that you wouldn't want to put in your body. You want a plethora of Cannabinoids in the profile, the more the better and the more well rounded the oil will be for healing.
What can we expect to see and learn from you at Cooking with CBD, July 11?
You can expect to learn more in depth about our process of infusion as well as the ways in which to learn how to become a professional in this industry.
What's next for The Herbal Chef?
Cookbook, Restaurants, Lounges, Hotels, and lots of TV/Entertainment spots happening :)