Eat My Weeds: Leather Storrs

Fresh from a stint on Bong Appetite, Leather sits down with Penn at his esteemed Noble Rot eatery in Portland for an infused lunch of freshly picked greens for the rooftop garden and raw steelhead salmon from Oregon’s rivers.

An inventive chef that doesn’t settle for the same ole…Leather doused the dishes with both an alcohol-based infusion and an oil infusion. When the chef loves and appreciates THC, the culinary outcome is well, uplifting to say the least. The boys had some fun before lunch and a bit more after.

Penn: Welcome to Chalice Farms TV. My name is Pen Lewis…

Kiki: and I’m Kiki Sherard…

Penn: … and we’re here today to show you some of the inside practices behind the best cannabis producers in the state of Oregon. We’re here to show you some of the things that happen behind the scenes to create and cultivate craft cannabis products.

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Penn: We’re here today with Leather Storrs.  He’s a restaurateur and part owner of Noble Rot, an incredibly successful restaurant in the Portland area, and one of my personal favorites. We just wanted to talk to him a little bit about, one, his upbringing as a chef and the foray into cannabinated foods and cooking with cannabinated foods. I want to start with, where did it start, where did the love of cooking start? How did you get here?

Leather: When I was born, my dad was 50. So he’s quite a bit older. And so we didn’t, you know, throw the ball. When my dad said, “Go out for a long one.” It meant, like, you take three steps, that’s it. But there were things that we did together, and food was a big one. He did most of the cooking in our family and he was invigorated by it. He made it exciting. He took us places with his food, and that was a place where we were able to bond.

Penn: You dabbled with cannabis all kind of throughout formative years, when did you decide that cooking was past the family past the connection with your father? When did you decide like that’s what I want to do and that’s my passion.

Leather: Greg Higgins, who had a restaurant of his same name, was the chef at the Heathman at that time. And to watch him orchestrate the service throughout whatever sort of hiccup, whatever sort of personality issue, whatever sort of order. It was magical. You know? And to be a part of that team, to feel that adrenal rush, and to feel like you’re accomplishing something in a short period of time, was really exciting for me.

And so that really, honestly, focused me because of my comfort with food from a young age. And because I traveled quite a bit, I had some familiarity with cuisine and it was just a perfect fit.

We moved Noble Rot here in 2008, opened it up, and we’ve been doing great ever since.

And then, when the cannabis started to gain momentum, and because I’ve always been intrigued, I started to mess around. I started to figure some things out and I started to make some things with cannabis that were actually kind of delicious. And the first thing that I made was a version of the caramel sauce that we make here.

Weed is supposed to be fun. And it’s silly. And maybe this is the time that all of these things come together.

And it was at that point that I realized that that was the ingredient missing from my plan, that made what I had to say about food both unique and resonant. Being able to play and being able to do it legally with cannabis to a receptive and an enthusiastic audience has been.. I’ve been tickled. It’s really a lot of fun.

I am most interested in being able to deliver a known quantity with delicious food that is playful, interesting, a little silly. And so all my efforts have been towards that idea.

Penn: It’s almost like you have a certain amount of tools in your tool chest to work with as a chef. I just want to know what it’s like to go through your entire culinary life and then have another tool added to the shelf, and that tool is varied and nuanced and psychoactive as cannabis. What is that like?

Leather: I think more than anything it’s an affirmation and an encouragement to kind of keep questing. But again, most importantly, a reminder that things are always moving.  And so, why don’t we mess around with a fat preparation and and alcohol preparation and we’ll do it with some stuff that we pick upstairs!

Penn: So we are up on the roof of Noble Rot, where you actually grow almost all of what herbs vegetables grown.

Leather: Well, we use everything we grow. We don’t grow everything we use.

Penn: But a lot of that connection to like craft quality products starts right here on this roof.

Leather: Exactly. This is sort of the epitome of our approach and our mindset.

So we’ll use some of those leaves, tea leaves, those other cute little green things. It’s amazing kind of haunting, it’s like seems to be sweet arugula right there.

Penn: So we’re here with our offerings from the garden and we’re gonna, I mean it blows my mind, but we’re gonna turn this into food. that isn’t what’s sitting right in front of me

Leather: Ideally! I don’t wanna like… let have training wheels for your first foray, and let make it calm and easy and seated. My goal, my plan, is a quick cure on some steelhead, which is in season right now. If we’re curing a fish – and we want to do it quickly – it’s about surface area, so we’ll have to cut it down.

I’d like you to go through these. We don’t need a big salad, we’re not gonna use all of it, but we’ll need a good collection of the things that we picked. The trio of sexy greens… these are all from the mustard family. We want equal amounts mizuna, ruby streaks, arugula… a little bit of chervil, a few of those gem marigold pieces and then I’ll keep this sorrel. We’ll mix it in with our tartare. I’ll get cutting on that fish.

This is a shallot, a member of the onion family, allium family.

Here’s that sorrel that blew you away that nice sharp shiny sorrel. And I’m just gonna take it off the stem here, again really nice fine filaments of that shiny, bright sorrel. That’s gonna pop in there with our fish

Penn: Well I think that’s always my struggle with cooking is, and I ran into this with cannabis as well, when I first wanted to learn how to water a cannabis plant. People were just, “Just feel your plant.”  Like, well, how do I know what it should feel like? And often times when I ask chefs, it’s you know how much of that did you put in? ‘The right amount!” You’re not helping me!

Leather: Throw in a few of those gem marigold pieces. Here’s that Everclear tincture. And just put your hand out I’m just gonna put a couple drops, I put a couple drops of tincture in there with that fish.

And so we’ll give that a little mix just to kind of coat everything, start those flavors going. But we’re gonna also salt it. And when we do the clock will start because salt will denature the proteins. So that is pretty pink will start to become opaque. So we’re gonna get everything ready and taste it. I’m gonna grab two spoons, keep picking little tiny pretty stuff don’t go crazy. We’ll just let that kinda hang out and see where you are. Right in our salad and here this grapeseed oil is infused. This is about 10 milligrams of THC per gram.

Again and so that’s where I know what I’m gonna give you.

I’m doing it from the ground up with flower, numbers that I know, with high quality ingredients. A little fresh olive oil to finish that fish. Right there a sexy little garden hammer, with about 25 milligrams.

Its this idea that, I’m really trying to balance, we’re trying to taste that salad. We’re trying to take advantage of the place, we’re trying to show a time stamp, and then you get those those nifty weird flavors up a little pop of the fennel yeah that’s strange gem marigold.

Did I pass the audition?

Penn: it’s so good!