Former Drake chef starts new “high”-end dinner series

Cannabis dinners are gaining momentum in the wake of legalization

The legalization of cannabis edibles is spawning a new kind of dining experience. Cannabis lifestyle brand byMinistry is putting the “high” in high-end dining with its new Enlightened Dining Club dinner series, which kicked off this January.

Helmed by chef Ted Corrado, the Enlightened Dining Club is hosting a series of monthly dining experiences featuring cannabis-infused dishes.

These events are not only meant to introduce a new normal, but also to inform Torontonians about the different ways in which ‘cannabistronomy’ and adaptogenic superfoods can enhance the culinary experience.

“One of the things that really resonated with me was just the notion that the (cannabis) industry really needed to be elevated with food offerings,” says Corrado.

With high sugar content products like gummies, cookies or brownies as the primary source of edibles, cannabis infusions are given a sort of stigma associated with the college experience most people might have had in their youth.

“‘You think, I’m going to eat a brownie or a gummy and god knows what’s going to happen to me. There’s that risk that you’re taking,” says Corrado, who is aiming to offer an entirely new and elevated side to cannabis edibles with his new program.

The evolving series looks to shake up misconceptions about cannabis cuisine by replacing the typical edible offerings with refined, multi-course meals prepared with low doses of THC.

The January dinner space designed by nVoid and Dahae Song.

“It’s not about getting stoned. It’s about consuming in a safe way that you can incorporate into your everyday life,” says Corrado. “Throughout the whole dinner, you consume from 7 to 10mg of TCH, depending on how many canapés you have.”

The low dosing encourages consumers to understand how using an infusion or low dose product can enhance not only the food but also the health benefits.

You know we just did a bunch of these dinners and one of the compliments I received was after I ate your meal Ted, my pain went away.” Corrado believes that understanding how to utilize cannabis to its full culinary potential is similar to the growing plant-forward movement. 

Each month the Enlightened Dining Club will feature top chefs and guest designers in a secret location.

Ted Corrado, who was formerly the corporate executive chef of The Drake, has moved into a new role as director of culinary at byMinistry.

To kick off the first event, Corrado created a five-course experience for his guests, incorporating both art and design into the evening.

The food Corrado is preparing is not outside his wheelhouse. He says the only thing that’s really changing is how he encourages guests to expand their minds.

“My food concept has always been around seasonality and sustainable ingredients and getting to know my purveyors and farmers I work with,” he says. “Now I get to add this new ingredient that adds a whole other dimension and experience to dining.”

ByMinistry is also showcasing other creative industries at its events, such as visual artist Dahae Song and digital experience specialists nVoid.

It’s this intersection of design and art and culture and food and cannabis that’s given me the opportunity to collaborate with a couple of different artists,” Corrado says. “It’s about like-minded people trying to push the boundaries and present something in a new format.” 

One of chef Ted Corrado’s five courses during January’s enlightened feast.

This dinner series is also a perfect way for Corrado to gauge his guest appetite for his experimental cuisine before byMinistry launches its matcha tea café set to open in February at 298 Markham St.

The new café is described as taking “a micro-dose of wellness, with an adaptogen and superfood infused food and drink menu from Ted Corrado, designed specifically to rebalance, unlock, enlighten, and elevate your state of mind.”

For their February gathering, Corrado will be working with one of Toronto’s leaders in plant-based cuisine Matt Ravenscroft, head chef of Grant van Gameren’s vegan Mexican restaurant Rosalinda.

February’s immersive dining experience will be held at a new location featuring design elements from award-winning Toronto architecture studio Partisans.

The dining room at last month’s dinner series.

Look out for more events from byMinistry to follow in the coming months.

Article exclusive to TRNTO