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Badass Cannabis Creative Kristal Chamblee | Interview

One of the last times I saw Kristal was the last time I saw my Uncle Mark, who was like a father to me. I happened to be in Las Vegas for work, my aunt and uncle were passing through on the way back to their home in Wisconsin, my friend Brittany was visiting from Texas with her boyfriend, and we all convened at the Puff, Pass & Paint studio house that we were renting for classes in Las Vegas at the time. Except for Mikey, Kristal, and Dwayne (Kristal’s partner, also an amazing chef), no one really knew each other, but it was a hilarious and smoky celebratory gathering of strangers, with me being their only connection. Kristal and Dwayne, the resident chefs, made an absolutely delicious meal for the entire crew, and we ate and laughed and drank wine for hours. We teased my aunt for not knowing what “bolognese” was. The next morning, Kristal sent my uncle home with edibles to help him with pain and his appetite during the chemo he was going through for colon cancer. He passed away suddenly a few months later, and my aunt still talks about what an amazing time he had that night and how welcomed they felt by my friends. It truly felt like a night of family. It means a lot to me even years later, and I remember it will for the rest of my life.

I first met Kristal when she was recommended to me as a chef and possible paint instructor when we started operations in Las Vegas. She came crashing through the door to the first “interview”, which was actually just us smoking and hanging out, in a rainbow unicorn onesie. She calls me “doll” when we talk, and even if she calls literally everyone else “doll” (I don’t know if she does, don’t burst my bubble!), it always makes me giggle and feel special. She’s an incredibly intoxicating, hilarious, and entertaining presence, but don’t let that fool you into thinking that she deserves to be underestimated. She’s a successful edibles chef who has created cannabis treats for the likes of celebs like Ice Cube, runs her own business hosting infused meals and teaching cooking classes, and is even working on a collab with The Cannabis Cactus for an upcoming edibles line (more on that later). I wanted to interview her because I adore her and I respect her. I also think that her voice, as a young, badass, successful black woman from the small town of Buttonwillow, California, population 1508, needs and deserves to be heard during this time.

Kristal Chamblee

Can you tell me about how you got started in the cannabis industry?

After coming back from Paris, I knew I couldn’t afford rent again in California, so I moved to Las Vegas where I attended Le Cordon Bleu cooking school. In Nevada, legalization for marijuana was in process so I knew that was a thing, and after graduating I decided to throw my resume to the wind. I honestly did not get a call back for almost 6 months, and then I got my first job in the cannabis industry as a chocolatier in a production facility. We were one of the few facilities that were both medical and recreational, which was brand new at the time for cannabis in Nevada.

Can you tell me about what you’re doing now in the cannabis industry with your cooking business?

As for right now in the cannabis industry, because the entire world is going through this COVID mess, everything has been fluctuating up and down. It seems like at certain points, dispensaries can’t keep product on the shelf and they’re super busy, and then at points it seems like they aren’t moving product, probably because people don’t have extra funds. For me, I’m not currently with a facility, but will hopefully be joining one in the next few weeks, and I’m going to be producing chocolate that will hopefully rival what is already on the market so that way we can combat the current crisis of the world. Outside of that, I’m doing private dinners, events, and catering… a lot of it is 2-8 people that would like to have cannabis dinners for themselves and their friends and would like a little education, and seeing the meal prepared is half the experience. In all honesty, catering orders of that sort are what pay the bills right now, and I love that I have the option to give people non-infused foods. In this weird time, I can do it non-contact and drop it off to them so they can enjoy an incredible meal as if they were at an event, which we can’t do right now.

Kristal Chamblee

What do you think are the challenges in peoples’ responses to you being not only a woman in cannabis, but a young badass and successful black woman working in weed?

I definitely feel like I am just one of those people who has sunshine coming out of their ass… I don’t need coffee in the mornings, and I’m larger than life at most times. It seems like when I meet people in the industry who have the power and position to hire me for an event or to get me in their kitchen to develop a product, they don’t go with me when it’s time to choose me, although they say they will. I’ve noticed they choose a “safer” option, or a typical cannabis product that already has the brand behind it. It’s so sad because I think I have so much to offer in the way of creativity and a different viewpoint as a black woman, to give your brand what it needs to take it to the next level. I really do have so much love for my industry, and I really wish it could be more inclusive or more geared to black women, black people, and just people of color in general. We get left out of this awesome industry and we deserve our fair chance to shine.

What do you personally think needs to be done as a society, to fix racism in cannabis and end the drug war?

I definitely think that it’s sad that I don’t see more people of my own color in higher positions in the cannabis industry. I feel like so much of this industry was started on the backs of black people and there are people of color who are in jail for cannabis, while there are white men who are millionaires off this industry for doing the exact same thing. They weren’t working for a second beach home or a yacht, but literally these people were feeding their families with a hustle they knew how to do. When you take away options for people in these neighborhoods, what do you expect?

I read an article recently saying that money from cannabis taxes is being used to support the police, and I just don’t agree with that. I don’t think any money from cannabis should be used to support the police fund; I really think that it should be used to help fix and restore the neighborhoods that were hit hardest by the war on drugs, and those are black and brown neighborhoods. I definitely feel that cannabis tax dollars should be better tracked, and much of it should have to go to restore the neighborhoods where people were first affected by the drug war, especially in an industry now where people who don’t look like us can make millions.

Kristal Chamblee

What is your favorite strain or way to consume?

I love fruity strains so I really was so stoked when I found a Chocolope strain early on in my cannabis career. It really does have hints of honeydew or sweet melon and chocolate; it’s such a good smoke and an amazing and happy high, but really mellow. As a chef, I feel like I’m really sensitive to cannabis and that’s why I like to smoke flower… sometimes when I get a vape pen and it’s extracted with an added high note, it can taste really weird. I recently had a vape pen that tasted like Dawn dish soap, and I really don’t like the weird flavors of certain vape pens, because they may add terpenes. I do like the flavor, even if it is a weird flavor, when you just smoke flower, because it hasn’t been altered… kind of just how nature wanted it to taste. In the same way, when you’re a chef and you try a new herb, you taste it before you add it to the food, that way you know what it tastes like at its base.

Where can people find you to follow you or give you business?

On Facebook I am Kristal Chamblee. On my Instagram, which is very chef and cannabis orientated, I go by @chickwithawhisk… that’s my favorite kitchen tool.

Thank you Kristal! I truly hope that after this entire mess, we can do another night of good food, good smokes, and good drinks. Until then, Doll… stay high. <3


Heidi Keyes

Heidi Keyes is the Founder of Puff, Pass & Paint, and Co-Founder & President of Cannabis Tours. Heidi writes about her experiences, sharing her advice, travel tips, and wisdom in Puff, Pass Ponder.

#PuffPassPaint #HeidiKeyes #cannabischef #kristal #kristalchamblee #chamblee #keyes #Interview #articlefeed #chef #August2020 #heidi

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