What Is a Cannabis Chef?
Cannabis chefs, also known as marijuana edibles chefs, infuse food and drinks with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the chemical compound in marijuana. In this emerging career field, cannabis chefs must find creative ways to use marijuana-infused butters and oils, along with other cannabis concentrates, to create consumables for medical and recreational use. These professionals often work in commercial kitchens.
In addition to following general food safety requirements, cannabis chefs must abide by regulations specific to the cannabis industry, which vary from state to state. For example, they must ensure that their products are properly packaged and labeled and that the potency of those products is accurate. Some states also have restrictions on what kinds of edibles can be produced.
|Educational Requirements||Some postsecondary education in the culinary arts|
|Job Skills||Culinary skills, creativity|
|Median Salary (2019)*||$51,530 (for chefs and head cooks in general)|
|Job Outlook||11% (for chefs and head cooks in general)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Chefs in general typically have completed some postsecondary education in the culinary arts. Prospective chefs might earn a certificate or associate's degree from a community college or technical school or opt for a bachelor's degree from a 4-year college or university. On all levels, culinary arts programs usually include some time in the classroom, where students explore topics like nutrition, menu planning, and safety and sanitation. Students also hone their skills in a kitchen setting. Additionally, they often must complete an internship or apprenticeship.
Chefs who want to work in the cannabis industry might also choose to complete a certificate program in cannabis science and/or health. These programs explore cannabis cultivation; infusions, extractions and hemp products; and effects of marijuana on the human body, while also covering business and legal aspects of the cannabis industry.
As with other workers in the marijuana industry, cannabis chefs must be at least 21 years of age. There also are location restrictions since cannabis chefs can only work in states that allow marijuana use for medical or recreational purposes. As of March 2018, this included 30 states and the District of Columbia.
Cannabis chefs need strong culinary skills, including the ability to follow recipes and measurements and the know-how to operate various kitchen equipment, including mixers, food processors, ovens and range tops. Because this is a relatively new career, cannabis chefs also must be creative, coming up with new products and innovative ways to infuse food and beverages with marijuana.
Career Outlook and Salary
There are no career outlook statistics specific to cannabis chefs; however, many reputable sources state that jobs within the cannabis industry will experience extreme growth over the next 5-10 years. In fact, New Frontier Data estimates the cannabis industry to add over a quarter million jobs by 2020. Additionally, it's reasonable to expect that as more states legalize marijuana for medical and recreational purposes, there will be increased demand for cannabis chefs.
BLS reported that chefs and head cooks made $51,530 in 2019. The salary of a cannabis chef will be dependent on the company they work for as well as experience and technical skills.
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