Denver’s first community cannabis dinner

We shed some light on a progressive meal Mason Jar Event Group, based in Boulder, held back in January. This green-forward organization actually pairs different cannabis products with food rather than just cooking or baking with it. To celebrate the well-known weed holiday on April 20, Mason Jar rings in the spring season with their first dinner in Denver. Space Gallery was home to the event with the return of chef Jamey Fader, owner of Lola and culinary director of Big Red F restaurant group, responsible for the cuisine. Industry professionals, media, and sponsors were all in attendance to establish the first ever community cannabis event held in the Mile High city.

Art, cannabis and food at Space Gallery.

“The weed leads everything we do for our cannabis pairing dinners,” says Kendal Norris, founder of Mason Jar Event Group. “The pairings went really well. The super lemon haze in the vaporizer with the salmon crudo was one of our best.”

Founder of Mason Jar Event Group, Kendal Norris. Image courtesy of Dog Daze Photo.
Quite the menu.

Chef Jamey Fader has been an integral part of Mason Jar Event Group’s successful pairings and will be “the chef” going forward. He seems pretty stoked about the opportunities to broaden his culinary horizons by incorporating an entire new pantry of scents courtesy of cannabis. Even though his focus may revolve around the food, he hopes to contribute more with ambitions to make these meals an inclusive, interactive experience for the guests.

“The pairings are always fun in that I try to think about not only flavors and themes, but what the guest would really like to see on a plate in front of them,” says Fader. “In conjunction with the “bringing people together” element I chose to do a family style format to encourage sharing of not only food, but thoughts, ideas, questions and hot topics. I love seeing folks passing things to one another and truly breaking bread as a group.”

Image courtesy of Dog Daze Photo.
Fresh feast. Asparagus, heirloom carrots, jamon serrano, mezcal-cured salmon and Spanish chorizo in an olive vinaigrette.

Fader feels at home working with Mason Jar Event Group and stands behind the concept of these unique dinner parties.

“I cannot say enough about Kendal Norris and her vision,” says Fader. “Not just for the experience, but for the sharing of knowledge, technology and all the facets of our lives this burgeoning industry is touching.  Not only is Kendal bringing people together, but she’s advancing an agenda and exposing an industry that many people do not know enough about.”

Chef Jamey Fader praises the crowd for making events like the pairing dinner possible. Image courtesy of Dog Daze Photo.

The common misconception is that these dinners embody dishes prepared in cannabis oil or butter. These events center around actual flower, edibles, wax or distillate that heighten the cuisine through the art of pairing.

“The ideas generated, conversations had, businesses and their products all combined together to create something that felt like had been around forever,” says Fader. “Exposure to new products got everyone’s minds churning about their own involvement. How cool would it be to think that the next great product might come from one of these dinners? What if on top of a beautiful evening of good food and fun, a sharing of ideas or spark of inspiration created the next great niche for this industry? The different products being represented by knowledgeable people, impressed me. That whole approach fed the idea of education and awareness.”

A solid, happy crowd came together for 4/20. Image courtesy of Dog Daze Photo.
Norris is known for her luxe tablescapes and decor at Mason Jar events. Image courtesy of Dog Daze Photo.

Lightshade Dispensary provided the goodie bags which consists of a variety of cannabis products intended to be used throughout the meal.

“The contents of the goodie bags were very high quality,” says Shannon Brooks, co-founder of Lightshade Dispensary. “Lightshade donated one gram each of White Dawg and Lavender Jones flower. INDVR donated vape pens that look like mascara, lipstick and high-end writing pens. They also donated a Lemon Haze distillate cartridge to be smoked with the vape pens. Craft710 donated a half gram of concentrate named cornbread which was paired with the chicken mole. The Growing Kitchen donated delicious edible fruit and nut balls. Stillwater donated their Ripple product, which is colorless, tasteless THC/CBD granules that can be dissolved in liquid and consumed. Each of these items were carefully and thoughtfully paired with courses of the meal, which complemented one another.”

Swag bag. Image courtesy of Dog Daze Photo.
Broth gets an upgrade.

INDVR took the opportunity to debut their new product line of discreet vaporizers.

“We thought it’d be a good platform so we could get some good feedback and good product awareness,” says P.J. Rinker, Vice President of INDVR. “We enjoy working with Kendal and we have really good synergy. It’s nice that she likes to find places that are a little more obscure that wouldn’t be considered cannabis venues.”

INDVR produces incognito vape pens, cartridges and distillate with holistic components.

“Everything we do is all natural,” says Rinker. “We use only essential oils. Even with regular flower you’re still inhaling carbon dioxide but with our cartridges we decarboxilatize so you know exactly what you’re putting into lungs. We have a special product for oil, wax, shatter to have the effect of having a dab without the scary high and toxic effects. If you want to put something into it, like an herbal tea, we can add chamomile. Right now we’re developing an after dinner chocolate mint. And nobody will give you a second glance because you don’t smell the weed turpenes.”

Top Shelf Budtending was on hand to offer their personalized weed services. With their guidance we were able to select a strain and partake,  just like a bartender would whip up the perfect cocktail based on your preferences.  They’re ready to accommodate any smoking needs with all the equipment neccessary. Open bar anyone? Interestingly enough there was no alcohol available at the event.

Getting the run down on what Top Shelf Budtending brings to serve at private events. Image courtesy of Dog Daze Photo.
A bowl packed with care. Image courtesy of Dog Daze Photo.

For Mason Jar Event Group the sacred yet still controversial plant is what truly inspires them. Norris answers the call to illuminate consumers and showcase the high-end fortitude of the growing marijuana empire. We find it fascinating to explore the untapped potential of bringing Colorado cuisine together with cannabis in a new, profound way.

“It was a pleasure to be in Denver and work with the presenting hosts,” says Norris. “I thought it was a great evening and a dream come true to do it in Denver on 4/20. Ground zero for cannabis and an opportunity to reflect on how far we’ve come. It’s an exciting time.”

Image courtesy of Dog Daze Photo.

Mason Jar Event Group will hold their summer gatherings at Lone Hawk Farm in Longmont, Colorado. Their summer pairing dinner takes place on Thursday, July 13. Like to wake and bake? Yoga With a View, a cannabis pairing brunch follows a 90 minute yoga and meditation practice on Sunday, August 27.

The Joint by Cannabis, the number one ranked dispensary by Leafly in Colorado, (for the latter half of 2016) plans to sponsor the fall pairing dinner on October 5, 2017, in Lyons, Colorado.

Norris talks weed culture and how it’s changing. Image courtesy of Dog Daze Photo.

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