We love exclusive dinners. Chef’s tables, tastings, we’d be thrilled at any opportunity to try a new dish or experience a perfectly paired course and aperitif. One upcoming event, though, has sparked our curiosity.
INFUSIONS is a private dinner series from Capital Cookhouse by Bronx-born Chef Charles Grand, hosted at a cozy little garden in Mount Vernon’s Fleetwood neighborhood. It’s a chef’s table style tasting dinner usually ranging between three and eight courses, which lean towards Grand’s culinary roots in West Indian cuisine. Guests arrive around 7:30 p.m. toting any drinks they’d like (the dinner is BYOB, save for a provided signature cocktail), and dinner service starts around 8 p.m.
Oh, and all the dishes are infused with cannabis.
Photo courtesy Chef Charles Grand
“I wanted to start a movement of fine dining that was different from going to your typical brick & mortar,” says Grand. “A movement that still has class and elegance but one without judgment due to dress code or conversations held at the dinner table. These INFUSION experiences serve as underground pop-up dinners where guests can enjoy fine dining without the formal standards.”
Such underground dinners are starting to see quite a bit more daylight. Viceland’s weed-centric cooking show Bong Appétit, hosted by Abdullah Saeed, has proven popular, while New York Times food critic Hannah Goldfield attended a marijuana-infused dinner party in Manhattan just recently.
While you can certainly opt for the cannabis-free experience, INFUSIONS+ is the draw of the evening, featuring elegantly crafted dishes that, yes, just so happen to be infused with fresh herb from the garden. Without spoiling anything, one of the more popular dishes from previous INFUSIONS dinners was something Chef Grand calls “Caribbean Pillow,” two fried dumplings stuffed with ackee and saltfish over a bed of lemongrass curry puree, served with a crispy wonton.
Deconstructed vegan tart x lemon-lavender curd, strawberry & blackberry coulis X lavender vanilla buttercream dessert – All infused with Blueberry Kush ðŸŒ¬ðŸ’¨ðŸ‡ – #swipe – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Phenomenal service for the Vegan 5 course Pop-Up. Big s/o to @theuptownvegan for the colab on this dessert! DO NOT MISS THE NEXT âœˆï¸. Dates in bio.
While readers may be well acquainted with the process of pairing a wine or other alcoholic beverage to their meal, selecting a cannabis strain for infusion into a dish is surprisingly similar.
“I first decide whether I want to use a Sativa or Indica,” Grand says. “Both strains have different effects. Next, I am paying attention to different aromas. Cannabis with higher terpene levels will yield a bolder flavor profile when paired with food. After the strain is picked, I decide whether I want to match the cannabis strain with a particular dish or if I want a contrasting flavor that will still make a cohesive course.”
New York State’s medical marijuana laws are stringent in their guidelines, but fairly progressive overall, and Westchester Magazine’s own readership overwhelmingly favors total legalization, includingrecreational use. That being said, readers interested in attending an INFUSIONS dinner should not be too concerned.
Cannabidiol (CBD) “is legal in the state of New York and researchers have found huge benefits with this cannabis’ legal non-psychoactive chemical compound,” Grand says. “Diners should not worry about ending up on a crazy trip due to the INFUSIONS series.”
The next INFUSIONS dinner will be held in Mount Vernon on August 24, with a follow-up dinner on September 8. Guests who would like to attend should email CapitalCookhouse@gmail.com for further details.