Chef Feature: Watermelon

Growing up with a mother that cooked every single meal from scratch, Canadian Mary Jean Dunsdon—aka Watermelon—discovered that cooking and baking came quite naturally to her as well. Now that she’s all grown up, the specialized approach she learned from her mother inspires some of the most creative cannabis infusions in the world today.

DOPE Magazine: Which came first, the cooking or the cannabis?

Watermelon: Cooking came first for me—baking more likely. My mom cooked every meal I ate as a kid from scratch, we never ate out. This is hard to appreciate until you get older. So, cooking and baking came quite naturally to me. Food and I just get each other; the way some people can play music by ear.

DM: How has cannabis, and the changing climate around it, expanded your cooking?

Watermelon: I have been baking and selling cannabis edibles for 23 years. As the climate around cannabis changes, it hasn’t expanded my cooking skills as much as it has expanded my business skills. The demand grew so fast, I needed to expand my production while ensuring my products are still the most delicious and nutritious on the market. Sometimes producing more means sacrificing quality. I am not willing to sacrifice any quality for quantity. Thousands of new people have jumped into the cannabis ring as of late. I need to be the best to stay in the game. I like a challenge.

DM: Do you feel cannabis plays a role in the idea of ‘comfort food’ and the emotional connections we develop?

Watermelon: Cannabis for many, including myself, is the “exit drug” for bad habits such as alcohol, cigarettes and hostility. The idea that cannabis can be comfort food is absolutely true. What is more comforting than knowing you are not destroying your beautiful body with toxins? What is more comfortable than being calm and loving around your friends and family? What is more comfortable than a good night’s rest? Cannabis is a green, leafy vegetable. Unfortunately, the western diet doesn’t include many green, leafy vegetables. I am here to help change that, one comfort food at a time.

DM: Do you see cannabis affecting or shaping the fine-dining and overall dining experience?

Watermelon: Just because you can put cannabis into something doesn’t mean you should. I dislike the idea of a marijuana lasagna because the hungriest person at the table will get the highest. This is an irresponsible approach. I would suggest one eat a single serving cannabis infusion and then enjoy a regular lasagna. If cannabis does shape the fine dining experience, it will be a short-lived fad I predict. Unless each plate can become a single serving of prescribed milligrams, it seems like a stretch.

DM: What goes into your decisions for strain pairings?

Watermelon: I have a retail line of products that have a great shelf life, offer single servings, taste great, etc. We keep improving these products for market. However, I love to get creative with cannabis, and these products are not practical for market. Instead, I throw fabulous sample parties for my clients to come try groovy new products. It is here at theses parties where I get to do strange pairings. The decision making process is mostly “eureka moments.” So allow me to list a few to give you an idea: Black Sambuca Cannabis Infused Cashew Milk Ice Cream, Reefer Pizza, Cotton Mouth Candy, Hempuccino Beer, Quiche Your Ass Goodnight.

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