The Bluntness Kitchen Chefs: Meet Charleen Caabay
By Taylor Engle
The demand for cannabis edibles has risen dramatically, and so has the consumer DIY desire to infuse from home.
Our blunt response to this shift is to plug cannabis edible enthusiasts directly into the culture with the Bluntness Kitchen: an exclusive platform that brings cannabis’s best culinary success secrets to passionate subscribers throughout the community.
This profile series follows the Bluntness Kitchen Chefs, introducing them one at a time while celebrating their unique contributions to cooking with cannabis.
Our first Chef to profile is 2016 FoodNetwork Chopped winner Charleen Caabay: the highly-esteemed cuisine creator – and infuser – who co-founded The People’s Ecosystem.
Chef Charleen Caabay: Filipino Home Cooking, Classic Cannabis Strains, and a Good Tasting Spoon
Caabay – known throughout the cannabis cooking community as “Chef Charleen” – is a staple in the food infusion world. With vast experience in both the kitchen and the legacy cannabis industry under her belt, Caabay co-founded The People’s Ecosystem with the intention of building out the edible market and making it as diverse, inclusive, and endlessly-curious as possible.
Caabay has been cooking for as long as she can remember, utilizing the long-held Filipino traditions she mastered in her home kitchen to bring joy and comfort in the form of food.
Caabay realized her culinary dreams in 2013, when she officially opened her restaurant. However, the chef was already entrepreneuring it up well before then, serving various creative comfort foods at night clubs, family parties, and other events throughout her life.
Chef Charleen’s Inspiration: “I learned everything I know through my family and my culture. I have always been surrounded by home cooks, and they’ve always kept the family abundant with delicious food.”
The chef brings her own special touch to these tried-and-true traditions by working cannabis into each of her creations, adding a special element of health and wellness to her already-nutritious, soothing cuisine.
Chef Charleen’s Favorite Cooking Hack: “The magic is in the sauce. A good sauce can save a dish.”
Although Caabay began cooking at an incredibly young age, her first experience with cannabis didn’t take place until she was 16 years old. Her interest in weed quickly evolved and the chef began crafting homemade edibles in her twenties.
While her initial infusing experiences were highly experimental with unpredictable dosage, she’s since mastered her approach, and can easily create anything from classic edibles like cookies or brownies to beverages, savory meals, and much more.
Chef Charleen’s Favorite Cannabis Hack: “It’s important to keep a clean cannabis oil on hand at all times, because it ensures that dosing comes as easily as possible when you’re serving guests with various tolerance and comfort levels.”
Comfort is a concept that both comes naturally to Caabay and is something she seeks to infuse into her dishes as seamlessly as cannabis. Filipino comfort dishes are her specialty: a cannabis infusion market that is still quite sparse and unexplored by the greater industry.
Caabay offsets this non-traditional approach to cannabis-infused cuisine by opting for some of the most classic products on the market as her top cooking choices: strains like Gorilla Glue, Jack Herer, Blue Dream, or Green Crack; and terpenes like linalool, limonene, pinene, and myrcene.
Chef Charleen’s Kitchen Must-Haves: “A wide cutting board, a chef’s knife, a spatula, tongs, a serving spoon, and, of course, a tasting spoon.”
Caabay describes her kitchen as a “wonderland of gadgets, tools, and ingredients,” and she treats it as such. For anyone looking to get more into cooking at home, she recommends cleaning as you go, carving in a good amount of prep time for yourself, and ensuring that you are cooking with intention every time.
Her most important tip for cannabis chefs and edible consumers alike is: know your dose. Whether you’re feeding a dinner party of cannacurious guests or planning to ingest an infused dish for the first time, it’s imperative that you don’t overdo it and risk having an overwhelming, negative experience.
What’s Next for Chef Charleen: “I have been formulating my upcoming beverage line, and more edibles that incorporate my culture from the Philippines and introduce them to the cannabis community.”
Join Bluntness Kitchen today to connect with cannabis chefs from all backgrounds across the U.S., as well as other community members who share your passion and curiosity for infused cuisine.