Cannabis Chef Andrea Drummer Cooks High-End Cuisine

interviewed by Natalie Pattillo | 07/21/17

For the past 5 years, Andrea Drummer has been cooking up cannabis-infused cuisine for cancer patients, veterans with PTSD, and folks coping with anxiety or depression. Andrea is a thriving, world class chef and co-owner of Elevation VIP Co-op, an LA based caterer that hosts fancy intimate dinners. But years before her weedpiphany (yep, we’re calling it that), Andrea was an anti-drug counselor who was raised in a Southern Baptist home in Fort Lauderdale. Because she thought marijuana was a gateway drug, she'd preach to teens to stay away from it. 

“People feel that marijuana is so bad because they subscribe to the propaganda that has been incessant for decades. Much of this rhetoric has been spoon fed by our government, big pharma, and media,” she says.

Andrea’s beliefs towards marijuana use took a huge turn when she moved to California and landed a job with a hard-working attorney who was a daily toker. “He was a nice guy who went to work, won cases, and didn’t slack off,” she says. Through working with him, she realized that in the past, she was harshly judging marijuana users without knowing about the plant’s medicinal magic ✨.

"I also had a profound moment when I met Tracy Ryan. She shared her story about her daughter Sophie, who was diagnosed with a low-grade, optic Pathway Glioma brain tumor at 8 1/2 months old. They chose to use cannabinoid therapy to aggressively treat her cancer," Andrea shares. (Sophie is now 4 years old and her tumor has lessened drastically.)  

Andrea has also reaped healing benefits from using medical marijuana for her bout of sciatica. "It's life-changing for people who want to heal or maintain their day-to-day without percocets or opiates." 

While in Cali, Andrea said goodbye to a career in non-profits and hello to culinary school at Le Cordon Bleu. In 2010, she started flexing her culinary muscles by creating delicious dishes at the Ritz-Carlton in downtown Los Angeles. At the time, she had no inkling where her new creative career would take her. 

Then, one night, Andrea's friend gave her some bud and asked her if she'd whisk up some edibles. Andrea took a whiff of the weed butter and knew she didn't want to make the very common pot-infused brownies or cookies (plus, she's #TeamSavory). 

"When I smell bud, I smell possibilities. Like what can I do with this fenugreek seed? Or this annatto seed, what could I do with it? Then, it came to me, I should make some bruschetta. It all really started that night. My friend, who is now my business partner, and I sat around my chalkboard table after we ate it up! We started writing things on the table and we came up with the emblem and the name for our business."

By 2012, Andrea and her business partner scored a California dispensary license and opened up shop with Elevation VIP Co-op. Even Drummer’s religious family (her dad and brother-in-law are ministers) fully supports her career. They're proud of her for cooking up delectable, healing gourmet meals to help people in pain.

Andrea is a woman of her craft and is very selective with the ingredients she uses for these meals.

"For me, it's about the food first because I was a chef before I cooked with cannabis. But then also, the healing properties, because I was a patient myself and I know what it's done for me. I'm introducing different cuisines to my guests. So if you come to chef's table, you may have a dish you've never had before. 'Oh, I didn't think that I liked beets but these are really good,' people will say."

And, of course, she has the dosing down to an exact science for every dish.

"The marijuana I use is organic, outdoor grown, CBD-rich and I get it from one purveyor. The CBD counter balances the TBC content so it's more of a body high...it's not too heady. You're not going to have paranoia or get uncomfortable." 


 

By next year, Andrea and her business partner hope to open up an "elevated" bed and breakfast in Los Angeles. Last year, California passed the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, which goes into effect in January 2019. With this legislation, Andrea will be able to serve *high* end goat cheese omelettes or smoked salmon eggs Benedict with creamy Hollandaise sauce to adult guests from all over.

Aside from creating mouthwatering meals, Andrea is also a wordsmith. She's currently in the midst of edits for a cookbook that interweaves her fascinating narrative of having an extreme anti-pot mentality and later realizing the rewards of cooking with reefer. 

"It's so divine that I know I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing," she says recounting the irony of where life has lead her. 

~*Have you ever made a drastic career change? Alsoooo....did you know that researchers have found that cannabis may help with overactive bladders?*~

Photos courtesy of Andrea Drummer

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