Recommended Listening: French Fries with Pepper by Morphine
The internet has always been an incredible source of information, the luxury of learning, be it a tab to learn a song on guitar, doing research to write a paper, or getting an idea of how to make a recipe for the first time. I discovered the beauty of learning from YouTube in school, learning at my pace by watching, but since that discovery I have always been disappointed that those channels were never set in Arizona. Now I am older and in new phases of learning for an unorthodox career in cannabis, I’ve found YouTube to be a wealth of information while isolated in our desert; I’m using it on research of different methods for cultivation, extraction, and infusion happening all over the world. After years of growth in Arizona, I still had not found anyone local making content with products in Arizona, but sometimes real life and the internet meet. My friend Neil McAlister AKA Chef Turtle, has created a channel for teaching infusion while also utilizing Arizona cannabis.
Chef Turtles’ Infusion Kitchen, his page on Facebook, as well as @ChefTurtle420 on YouTube or Instagram is a place to start building a foundation for cooking with cannabis. Neil has the skills for good cooking, and kindness that draws you in to inspire confidence so that you can learn to make edibles for yourself. A talented and capable chef, I know him professionally as I helped hire him, his food needed to be amazing. His devotion and ethics that carry the core tenants of being a successful chef, Neil is someone devoted to making sure your food is the best that it could possibly be. His channel on YouTube does the same, and his knowledge of our market makes him someone with experience unique to our region. Upon meeting him and learning about his culinary experience, I found myself in company with someone who was devoted to learning everything he could about his craft. That drive to master his craft made him someone we could depend on to not only be successful, but teach others to be successful.
His series on YouTube is not limited to your standard edible faire of cookies, brownies, and candy. His learning of, and experience with, new methods have opened up new avenues for infusing meats, drinks, or baking ingredients. These infusion methods that create these possibilities have only been recently embraced and refined as the legal market grows. One such example is the use of flower to create broad spectrum edibles, but his medium is not fat like butter or oils. Chef Turtle is one to embrace other forms of infusion, such as infusing sugar or artificial sweeteners with a grain alcohol extraction, known to some, as “Green Dragon or Cannabis Kirsch.” This isn’t something that was widely taught or explored anywhere online except in those ancient 90’s how-to videos, but as more chefs come along with training like Chef Turtle, the knowledge is finally being passed along. Having worked with Neil, and my direct hand in helping to formulate the methods to teach infusion calculations, he is someone to be trusted to provide an accurate dosage for an edible. As part of his education services, he can train you to create these base infusions to make your own precision dose edibles.
Chef Turtles’ Infusion Kitchen creates what I had hoped for when looking for resources anywhere on YouTube, a dialog. I could ask him, or maybe find someone in the comments with opinions on where to purchase clean quality flower in Arizona for my infusions. That dialog could help me to find new edibles to try as well, or flower for edibles that fit my diet and medical needs. As we progress from the hazy shadows of legality in the past, it will be education that leads us into a new era of cannabis. A YouTube channel, and culinary educator like Chef Turtle should have your attention so you can start learning what you will need to turn your favorite recipes into an infused delight. The time made available by world affairs has already made this a great time to learn some basic cooking skills so why not make the leap into learning to make edibles with your pandemic downtime. Watching and talking to Chef Turtle, I hoped to introduce you to a kind friend with the desire to help you learn about cooking with cannabis.
Chef Turtle, great to take time with you, tell me about yourself?
I’ve been in the culinary field for over 15yrs. I have always had a passion for cannabis and food along with helping others. Other than culinary, I enjoy many outdoor activities, relaxing with my dog, and meeting new people to learn or grow with.
What is your culinary experience?
I have definitely had many ups and downs in the culinary world, but it has taught me so much in life. From working drive-ins, catering companies, big corporations, mom and pop restaurants, and now the MMJ kitchens; I love the field that I work in.
What is your edible infusion experience?
My experience with infusions started in my teens when I started making brownies and cookies with my cannabis. Nowadays, I have my own recipes, cooking series on YouTube, and I also teach workshops on the infusion process.
How did you make the transition from traditional cooking to infused cooking?
After years in the restaurant industry, I knew I needed a change. So I put all my energy into getting a job in the MMJ culinary field. I already had a background in making my own edibles with proper dosing, so that definitely helped get me in faster than most.
You have a series on YouTube, what is your goal for your content?
My main goal is to be able to show people how to do simple infusions and, down the road, offer online classes for anyone interested in learning about culinary cannabis.
It is unique that your edible cooking show is based in Arizona, can patients see you use local medicine?
Yes, all the medicine I use is from local sources for my infusions and I try to include the local patients in everything I do.
Do you have a favorite infused meal to cook?
I honestly do not have a favorite; I enjoy infusing everything. I enjoy creating, so every infused meal or edible is a fun and joyful experience for me.
You’re a medical patient, any favorite dispensaries, products or vendors to shout out?
First, I’d like to give a big shout out to The Mint Cafe for taking a chance on me and giving me a platform to show everyone what I can do. Second, would be Dorothy Lawson, “owner/head chef of Ruby Red Confections and Lead Chef at The Mint Cafe” for everything she has helped me learn in this industry, and in life. Third shout out would be to Arizona Green Life for giving me the opportunity to create their CBD edible menu and partnering with me on it. My fourth shout out would be to Nick Ruggiero “partner/cameraman/director” of my cooking show “Chef Turtle’s Infusion Kitchen”. My 5th shout-out would be to Nicole Creech “outreach manager for Arizona Green Life” for scouting me and helping me obtain the partnership I have with AZGL. And last but definitely not least, Adrian Ryan, for not only taking the time to interview me now and supporting my dreams; but also, for being the second hand in hiring me at The Mint Cafe back in December.
You dabble more in broad spectrum infusion using flower, why is that?
It is because when using broad spectrum edibles, you will get an overall better effect and healing properties than you would with just a THC-distillate edible.
You are also familiar with other infusion methods besides butter and oils?
Yes, I actually teach workshops on infusion with sugar, artificial sweeteners, honey, green dragon, flower decarboxylation, and many other simple techniques.
You offer personalized education as well, what can a patient have you make or help teach?
I do offer personal workshops on how to infuse cannabis into foods, proper dosing calculation training, green dragon extractions, decarboxylation of flower, calculation of mg/gram, breakdowns on terpenes, and I am a private infusion chef for hire. A resource to patients on simple infusions like “butters/oils/sugars/honey” so they can use it in their everyday food.
*All patients must provide a valid MMJ card/state ID along with the medicine for each infusion requested.
Your Instagram and YouTube have some tasty confections as well, are you also comfortable cooking most of the edible’s patients would find in Dispensaries?
I am very comfortable with doing the same style of edibles found in the dispensary, but I also enjoy expanding my range of edible infusion. That is one of the main reasons I started my YouTube channel, to show the world that you can infuse cannabis into your everyday foods or diet.
Do you have a favorite edible from dispensaries?
I wouldn’t say I have a favorite because I enjoy different products from different companies. Sofa King, Sublime, Wana, Aunt Ellie’s are some that I enjoy because of the consistency of their products.
Any news or announcements to let people know what you’re up to?
The CBD edible menu that I’m creating for Arizona Green Life will be in stores soon, and there’s a lot more to come down the road with my cooking show “Chef Turtle’s Infusion Kitchen”. I will also have merchandise for fans coming soon as well!
Where can people find you?
For any and all business inquiries Facebook is my main page at Chef Turtles’ Infusions, Instagram and YouTube is @ChefTurtle420, these are some of the places people can find me, see what I do, and ask any questions they have.
Adrian Ryan was born in New Mexico and attended school since elementary in Arizona, his time growing up split between the two states. He hopes to work towards recreational cannabis, enjoys reading, writing, film, music, and also writing music.