Freshly baked and high on flavor, everything Chef Tara Cannaday cooks up for Pot + Pan cannabis edibles brand out of Portland, Maine is about having a good food experience. She is a chef first after all. And, as cannabis products become more readily available, and the once negative stigmas and stereotypes surrounding its use nearly disappear, the desire for edibles that are actually tasty—not just a vessel for a good buzz—remain her and the company’s modus operandi.
Cannaday knows a thing or two about producing award-winning desserts and drawing attention. With a background in performance (she spent some time as a student at Berklee School of Music) to Culinary school in Cambridge, Cannaday has carved out a path out of creating high-quality, visually-appealing, memorable experiences. After culinary school and working as a pastry chef in a few northeastern restaurants, she ran a wedding cake bakery just north of Boston and started a popular French macaron cart, which may make an appearance for Pot + Pan from time to time.
Her treats have direct nods to stories and scenes from her past, and she wants to share that sense of nostalgia in her creations for Pot + Pan. Everything she produces must be delicious first, on its own, then when blended with THC, to have the desired “effect,” secondly. Her 15 year old daughter often chimes in with opinions on all the baked goods; of course, that is before they take their final form with cannabis.
When asked about her transition into cooking with THC (which happened around the pandemic), she realized it was important to be a part of a movement that destigmatized the world of cannabis, and one that promoted responsible micro-dosing, just as wine or spirits companies do. “I’ve seen firsthand the positive effect it was having on some friends and family members who were dealing with medical issues—some more serious than others—and it definitely had me intrigued,” Cannaday recalls.
“The big unlock, however, was the feedback that the options were slim and that [edibles already out there] always tasted like weed; that nothing was actually an enjoyable food experience,” Cue Cannaday and her already popular treats. Around the same time, the women-led Pot + Pan company approached her about being their baker, and well, the connection has become a match made in cannabis + culinary heaven.
And of course, there’s quite a bit more involved than what a friend might be cooking up in their apartment kitchen. There’s a rigorous testing process for each product. As Cannaday writes in edible Maine’s fall issue, in a piece called Toss the Taboo #26, “When we infuse food with THC in the Pot + Pan kitchen, we use a honey-looking concentration of THC that comes from a professional grower or extractor. [A] jar comes with test results from a lab to make sure it doesn’t contain any kinds of things like pesticides or heavy metals. These tests also tell us what the THC potency, measured in milligrams (mg), is within that jar. This ensures I can accurately infuse the wonderful creations you pick up at local stores with just a dash of THC…”
Many Pot + Pan products start at a baseline of 2.5 mgs then go up from there, with 5 mg and 10 mg products, like gummy cubes, bonbons, or chocolate bars. The website has light-hearted videos and instructions on how to responsibly experiment and try doses, while warning consumers to be mindful of many variables like body size, metabolism, whether you’ve eaten or not, or what the circumstances are and overall setting is around you at the time of dosing.
From the chic aesthetic of the packaging and company site to the names of the products, just perusing the Pot+ Pan product list may send many rushing to the shopping cart. Furthermore, the fact that the experiences shared that have inspired the treats could easily be from the past of many American childhoods: picking blueberries with grandma, having lemonade and cake on the porch with siblings, or chasing the ice cream truck with loose change on a hot July afternoon. There’s nothing like a sweet treat to bring back a rush of happy childhood memories. But now, as adults, Chef Cannaday and Pot + Pan help consumers couple that treat—while nestled in the folds of nostalgia—with a dose of THC for relaxation and celebration.
Apple Pie a la Mode, Maine Blueberry Punch, Pumpkin Spice Latte, Strawberry Shortcake, and Beach Bonfire are just a few of the enticing flavors on the Pot + Pan roster of gummies, bonbons, or bars.
Although whisps of old imagery surrounding cannabis usage still exist in the back of our collective American consciousness, like Sean Penn’s stoner in the movie Fast Times at Ridgemont High or Cheech & Chong, the popular 70s film/television duo, the lines between those stereotypes are fading. It can now be about how any consumer wishes to celebrate and relax, and do so in a way that is legal and safe. And, in the case of Pot + Pan and the treats that Chef Tara Cannaday creates, they can be very, very delicious.
“For me, being able to celebrate the food, the plant, and the medicinal part of the plant,” says Chef Cannaday, “and be able to have a product that is beautiful, that you are not ashamed of, that is not taboo, and that you can proudly display in your cabinet…at the end of the day, is really about a delicious food experience with the touch THC that makes you feel great.”
Everything Chef Tara Cannaday cooks up for Pot + Pan cannabis edibles brand out of Portland, Maine is about having a good food experience. She is a chef first after all. Read More