Meet Manuel Mendoza, A Winner Of Netflix’s ‘Cooked With Cannabis’ – mitú inc

A new teen series has dropped on Netflix that the internet can’t stop talking about. The newest cultural phenomenon that has hit the juggernaut streaming service is a musical series called Julie and the Phantoms, based on the 2011 Brazilian show of the same name.

The series follows a 16-year-old insecure girl named Julie who has lost her love of music after the tragic death of her mother. But with the help of a (stay with us here) band of musical ghosts she stumbles across in her garage, she soon re-discovers her love of singing and performing. Backed by her band of “phantoms”, Julie confidently takes the stage again, blowing everyone away in the process. ,

But the wacky, heartfelt story-line isn’t the only reason people are excited about the show. The buzz around the show is building because its star, 16-year-old newcomer Madison Reyes, is an Afro-Latina singer-actress of Puerto Rican descent.

Before landing the role of Julie, Reyes was just a regular shmegular Nuyorican girl going to high school in Brooklyn. Needless to say, the process of auditioning for Julie and the Phantoms was both a whirlwind and a game-changer.

“I found out about Julie and the Phantoms through my school. At first I was nervous to send my video in, but after talking to some friends, I sent it in and got a call back,” Reyes told Refinery 29. “From there it was just figuring out when I could fly to L.A. When I finally made it out there, the audition process lasted two days.”

Reyes, for one, understands the burden of her load. “[Julie] is Latin American, she’s got textured hair, she’s a strong and independent female character,” Reyes recently told the LA Times. “As a person of color who wants more diversity [on-screen], I’m kind of scared about the hate comments that I’ve seen other people have to go through, especially women.”

As if having an Afro-Latina actress at the center of a popular Netflix show wasn’t exciting enough, the series is also being helmed by Mexican-American director and all-around legend Kenny Ortega. For those of you unfamiliar with Ortega, he is the creative genius who directed bonafide classics like High School Musical and Hocus Pocus.

Ortega has been publicly effusive in his praise of Reyes. “She has this raw talent that can take on any genre of music, and this promise of greatness that excited everybody,” he told the LA Times. “And yet she’s so relatable and grounded.”

Fans are already calling for a second season after watching the cliffhanger season finale. Reyes, herself, can’t wait to get back in the shoes of Julie. When asked in an interview about where we’ll see her next, she responded: “Hopefully in the next season of Julie and the Phantoms!”. We second that wish.

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Weed-Infused Recipes from Manuel Mendoza, Winner of ‘Cooked with Cannabis’ – Remezcla

Cooked with Cannabis made it’s timely Netflix debut on April 20. The show, hosted by singer/songwriter and chef Kelis and veteran cannabis chef Leather Storrs, is presented as your typical competition cook-off with a weed-friendly twist. Essentially, it broadens the horizons of cooking with cannabis as the star ingredient. Needless to say, the show goes beyond your conventional home-baked treat.

The kitchen heats up as three culinary experts each face-off to create a three-course cannabis-infused menu for a chance to win bragging rights and a prize of $10,000.

Enter Manuel Mendoza, a culinary cannabis chef from Chicago who fired up some serious competition in the final episode with his marijuana-infused weed leaf-shaped chilaquiles and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) infused pupusas. The familiarity and zeal he brought to the table through his culturally inspired tasty Mexican & Salvadoran dishes were ultimately what won over the judges and the $10,000 prize during the comfort-food-themed, final episode.

Beyond the entertainment of seeing judges get high on fine delectables, Mendoza details the very personal meaning of what cooking with cannabis signifies for him and how he demonstrated that on the show.

“I grew up in Pilsen, a predominantly Mexican neighborhood in Chicago,” he tells Remezcla. “It was important to represent who I am, where I come from and what people eat where I’m from. Being half Mexican and half Salvadoran and having this platform, I made the deliberate choice to pair and infuse those dishes with cannabis so other people from Latin American countries can view their own foods in the same light.”

Mendoza is aware of the inequalities of food distribution in deprived communities like his, and knows not everyone has access to quality, affordable and healthy produce. He was inspired to use food and cannabis to bring attention to the complex nature of the impact of inequitable food distribution and stimulate a discussion on ways to address urban food deprivation as well as immigrant farmworkers’ labor rights.

Photo by Sergey Kolivayko. Courtesy of Manuel Mendoza.

“We often don’t know where a lot of our food comes from, where the supply chains distribute, and who’s being exploited by this,” he explains. “When we go to the grocery store, we don’t see the farmworkers behind our produce and realize the risks they take or face with deportation.”

A reality that has become even starker in the face of our current pandemic.

In 2017, Mendoza created his company, Herbal Notes, as a safe space for people to meet and “elevate the cannabis conversation around the dinner table worldwide.” His experiential events are designed with THC and cannabidiol (CBD) infused tasting menus that are often paired with marijuana cocktails and a DJ to provide the ambiance for his three-course culinary journey. Mendoza says this fosters the environment for dinner conversation to tackle both food and cannabis justice/equity.

As more states move to legalize marijuana, Mendoza wants people to be vigilant about continuing injustices.

“Who’s being benefited by this?” he asks. “And how do communities of color who were the most affected by incarceration and discrimination of previous laws in the war on drugs gain accessibility and a seat at the table of this new booming business?”

Putting his community at the forefront of his brand isn’t the only thing that’s garnered recognition for Herbal Notes. Mendoza’s careful attention to detail and execution ensures his food receives the same acclaim as any other well-regarded chef in Chicago. His hope is to elevate the idea of what it means to be a cannabis chef and eliminate the potential stigma around it.

Some people may be wary about the tricky business of consuming marijuana due to erratic experiences with homemade edibles. Medoza explains that this is usually caused by inconsistent dosing.

“Start off small,” he suggests. “One to five milligrams is a micro-dose that’s usually manageable for most people, ten milligrams is a standard low dose, once you go to 15-20 and up, per serving now you’re starting to get a more potent effect.”

Mendoza wants to use his newly-earned platform to further educate the public about the craft behind the culinary use of cannabis. He also plans to utilize his reward as a stepping stone to realize other aspirations.

“The surrealism of it all came rushing back once that episode aired. I did just get the prize money, which has been super helpful at a time like this amid the pandemic that has greatly impacted the food and restaurant industry,” Mendoza shares.“I hope to use it to help my community and for my business so that I’m not dependent on outside funding. I want to have my own dispensary so I can have a farm to table approach and not source products from other companies that don’t represent people like me or have the same mission behind what I do.”

Check out a special recipe from Mendoza, for those of us who are quarantined in weed-friendly states:

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The full breakdown for each component of the meal is listed below. Here’s how to make Infused Chipotle Chicken Parmesan Torta for two:

Chicken Milanesa


1 pounded and flattened chicken breast
1 1/4 C buttermilk
1 C self-rising Flour
2 beaten eggs, with 1/4 C buttermilk
2 C breadcrumbs
2 tsp roasted garlic powder
2 tsp smoked paprika
Salt & pepper
4 C frying oil
4 C brine liquid

1) Make brine at least several hours in advance. Bring to a boil: 4 C water, 1 C salt, 1 cup sugar, 1 T pickling spices, fresh basil & dill. Once at a boil, cool down brine immediately and completely. Add chicken to into brine once chilled and cool in the fridge for at least one hour until ready to use.

2) Once the chicken is brined, remove from liquid and pat dry with paper towels. Then marinate the chicken in buttermilk with spices & seasonings for 10 minutes.

3) Arrange your breading stations with three dishes containing one with flour, one with egg mixture, and one for breadcrumbs in that order from left to right. Transfer each chicken from buttermilk to flour to egg mix to bread crumb on both sides. Make sure chicken is completely coated and crusted with breading.

4) In a medium cast-iron pan, heat oil to med-high, and fry chicken 1 at a time until golden brown on both sides. Let chicken rest for a couple of minutes on paper towels.

Infused Chipotle Marinara


1 can (28 oz) Tomatoes, canned/peeled (preferably San Marzano)
1 T Sugar
1 T Italian Herbs, dried
3-5 oz Chipotles, in adobo (depending on how spicy you like it)
2 oz white wine
2 tsp Infused Avocado Oil (1 Cup Oil + 2 grams dry herb)
Salt & pepper, to taste

1) To make infused oil, take your ground herbs and decarb or “activate” them by heating in an oven at 240 degrees F for 35 min. Once activated, steep in oil at 150 degrees F for 1 hour. Then, strain oil with cheesecloth or coffee filter.

2) Set the infused oil aside, and combine all other ingredients in a medium saucepot. Bring to a simmer for 30 minutes. Once ingredients have become fragrant and combined, add infused oil, fresh basil, and stir pot while also crushing the tomatoes into a chunky sauce until everything is emulsified.

Homemade Telera Bread

Dough ingredients:

4 C AP Flour
1.5 C Water
2 tsp Instant Yeast
1 T Honey
2 tsp Salt

Glaze ingredients:

1 egg, beaten with 1 T water

1) In a large bowl or the pan of your bread machine set on the dough cycle, combine the yeast, water, honey, melted fat, salt and 4 cups of the flour. Mix until a soft dough forms.

2) Check the dough’s consistency; if the dough sticks to your finger when you touch it lightly, add 1/4 cup of the additional flour and mix for another minute. Check the dough again, adding the remaining 1/4 cup of flour only if you need it; the dough should be soft, but not sticky.

3) Knead for 6 to 8 minutes at medium speed in a stand mixer, or 10 minutes by hand, until it’s smooth and bouncy.

4) Cover the bowl and let rise for 1 hour, until doubled, or let the bread machine complete its cycle.

5) Once the dough has risen, deflate it and divide into 10 pieces, roll into balls, and cover the pieces.

6) Let them rest for 5 minutes before shaping the rolls into a football shape, tapering toward the edges; the rolls should be 5 1/2″ long and 2″ around at the center.

7) Place the rolls onto a greased or parchment-lined baking sheet and cover with greased plastic. Allow the rolls to rise while turning the oven on and preheating to 400°F

8) When the rolls are almost doubled in size, brush the tops and sides with egg wash. Using a greased knife, slash the rolls twice parallel to each other. Press down firmly with each slice.

9) Bake for 20 to 22 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool completely before slicing.

Herb Butter

1 bunch basil
2 sprigs oregano
2 sprigs thyme
4 garlic cloves, roasted whole
1 shallot, minced and caramelized
1 lb butter, softened 

Mix chopped herbs with softened butter to make compound butter.


4 slices of chihuahua cheese
1 C parmesan/romano cheese


How to Get a Healthier High With DIY Cannabis Tea – Thrillist

Step 4: Now it’s time to strain out the little bits of cannabis. There’s too much water to strain straight into your mug (unless it’s enormous), so grab a bowl or ideally an empty teapot. If you’re using cheesecloth, secure it around the top of the teapot or bowl with a rubber-band or string. You can always ask your quarantine mate to hold the cheesecloth in place around the top, or solo chefs can anchor it on all sides with something heavy. Carefully and slowly pour the boiling mixture through the cheesecloth and into your chosen vessel. You can always just use a metal strainer, but it needs to be a fiiine strainer unless you’re cool with leafy bits in your teeth. 

Step 5: Add your teabag into the teapot, along with any desired extras like mint, lemon, honey, or a cinnamon stick and stir well. It’ll help moderate that herby flavor. Steep for about three minutes.

Step Yay: Remove the teabag, stir well to incorporate the infused butter throughout, and pour yourself a cup.


Easy, no-cook recipes using CBD oil – Orlando Sentinel

I used it for several days, trying two different products: Real Scientific Hemp Oil (RSHO), made and sold by HempMeds (2 oz., 500 mg, $84.99) and PureNative Sublingual Oil (1 oz, 1,000 mg, $99.99), a water-soluble Nano-CBD oil, which you can order through Seed & Bean Café.


Cannadish: Do It Yourself Cannabis Eats And Beauty Simply Done – Forbes

There are many CBD and THC instructional web pages that offer little more than a wing and a prayer when it comes to following and hopefully re-creating complex cannabis recipes. Viewing the rapid fire selection of nameless YouTube videos assume you already know everything there is to know about cooking with cannabis and drinking, makes following a recipe almost impossible!

That is until I came across a lovely Facebook Group named Cannadish. In fact, they invited me to join. Very kind, thank you. They offer something that I have never seen before, at least not in this format. What they do is similar to the bartending resources that I used to watch by my late-friend, Gaz Regan. He called it mindful bartending. Regan’s work was so inspiring. I’d love to see his mindfulness translated to the cannabis community. I think Cannadish has created something unique and therefore exciting.

Cannadish has an organic plan to teach the basics and not so basics in a fashion that is not overwhelming, nor are their recipes too difficult to make at home.

There is much to like in their ethos. It’s evident that their web creatives care about the quality and flavor of their recipes. Most importantly, the recipes test every time, not just on the web but in real life experience. That’s what caught my attention. Good.

Cannadish makes cooking with cannabis fun and educational. The win/win are the friendly, helpful folks who are out there, seemingly all the time. Cannadish is seriously fun and possesses good advice that you can use, right away.

Their recipe, how to make weed tea at home may well be the most fun you can have with ingredients that you’d normally throw out. Like the stems. Who keeps those?

Recommended For You

Cannabis Tea

An easy way to make weed tea with cannabis oil powder and dry tea herbs.

And their Cannabis Sugar recipe may be the best one I’ve seen.

Souchong Rambler Cocktail.


3 oz. Lapsang Souchong Tea

1.5 oz. thc infused Pechuga Mezcal- the stuff that is made from chicken skin drippings

2 oz. fresh squeezed orange juice

Fee Brothers Chocolate Bitters


rocks glass


Add the liquid ingredients to a Boston Shaker filled 3/4 with ice

Cap and shake hard for thirty seconds

Pour over a rock of ice in a clean glass

Dot with Fee Brothers Chocolate Bitters


Herbal Notes: Chicago chef hosts cannabis dinner parties featuring marijuana-laced meals – WLS-TV

A Chicago chef is infusing meals with marijuana to create a dining experience you’ll never forget, while educating the public about the plant.

Chef Manuel Mendoza started Herbal Notes, a communal dinner experience in Chicago.

“I had to bridge what I love to do — which is cook and feed people and nurture people — with something that I also really enjoyed, which was cannabis,” Mendoza said.

Mendoza grew up in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood, and his Mexican and Salvadorian background influences a lot of the food he makes.

Mendoza’s goal is to educate people on cannabis as well as advocate for people of color who are imprisoned for non-violent marijuana-related offenses.

For more information, visit Herbal Notes’ website.


Herbal Notes: Chicago chef hosts cannabis dinner parties featuring marijuana-laced meals – KABC-TV

A Chicago chef is infusing meals with marijuana to create a dining experience you’ll never forget, while educating the public about the plant.

Chef Manuel Mendoza started Herbal Notes, a communal dinner experience in Chicago.

“I had to bridge what I love to do — which is cook and feed people and nurture people — with something that I also really enjoyed, which was cannabis,” Mendoza said.

Mendoza grew up in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood, and his Mexican and Salvadorian background influences a lot of the food he makes.

Mendoza’s goal is to educate people on cannabis as well as advocate for people of color who are imprisoned for non-violent marijuana-related offenses.

For more information, visit Herbal Notes’ website.


How to make cannabis edibles with concentrates – Leafly

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I have a stash box full of cannabis concentrates—it’s a hodgepodge of old oils, discount concentrates that were too cheap to pass up, gifts from friends, and the like. And while I always aim to put them to good use, sometimes months pass before I remember I even have them. I try and smoke one only to find it’s harsh and tasteless; back in the stash box it goes, to be checked on a few weeks later when I’m running low. It’s an endless cycle of hot nonsense.

After some research, I realized there’s a better use for old concentrates: cook them into edibles!

If you didn’t know you could use your leftover concentrates to make potent edibles, break out your stash box and get ready to cook.

Consider the dish you’ll infuse

The first step in cooking with concentrates is to give some thought to the final product—are you making, say, a plain salad dressing? You may want to opt for a distillate rather than RSO as RSO’s concentrated form may leave a bitter aftertaste.

“All types of cannabis concentrates can be used in cooking,” said Jay Denniston, director of science at Dixie Brands“However, the myriad of different types of concentrates, with variability in potency, form, flavor, and aroma, can create difficulty in choosing the right type of product to use in an infused dish.”

“Full extract cannabis oils like RSO will deliver a heavier botanical flavor and aroma than crystalline extracts,” continued Denniston. “If a food will be consumed in small concentrated doses, like olive oil, the cannabis extract flavor will be present to a higher degree.”

Consider using concentrates with stronger flavors (like RSO or full-spectrum extracts) in sweet edibles, where the flavor can be more effectively masked.

Denniston also suggested opting for high-fat foods like peanut butter, olive oil, or ghee as they more easily accept concentrates for infusion.

Choose your concentrate

Know your concentrate before infusing it.

“The main advantage of using distillate is that it’s flavorless, scentless, and completely ready to be incorporated into the fat component of your chosen recipe.”

Troy Ivan, ExtractCraft

“Concentrates that occur in semi-solid to solid states, such as live resin, terp sauce, budder, wax, and especially sugar wax, have the potential to contain high amounts of THCA,” said Denniston.

For those of you wondering what THCA is, it is the non-intoxicating compound that converts to the euphoric THC over time or when heat is applied.

Some concentrates are easier to work with than others. Crystal isolates, for instance, often come in the form of a white powder that’s easy to manipulate.

“The main advantage of using distillate is that it’s flavorless, scentless, and completely ready to be incorporated into the fat component of your chosen recipe,” said Troy Ivan, CEO & Founder of ExtractCraft.

Distillate, then, has a lot of appeal considering its potency and the fact it doesn’t need to be decarboxylated. However, each choice comes with its own unique challenges as well.

“The disadvantage [with distillate] is that all other cannabinoids and desirable cannabis components have been purposefully removed,” said Ivan. “Any synergistic and ‘entourage effect’ benefits contained in full-spectrum oil are not present in distillate and many would argue that it’s less medicinal with a lower efficacy.”

Others, like Brandin LaShea, chef and host of the digital cooking show Pot Pie, prefer to go the RSO route for its ease of use.

“I sometimes prefer to use certain concentrates like RSO because you can skip the decarboxylation step, and add them directly to your favorite recipes, which makes the process a lot easier for someone just starting out,” said LaShea.

Make sure you only use concentrates that have third-party lab test results. You want to be absolutely sure of what’s going into your edible.

Dosing cannabis oils for edibles

The key to having a good edible experience is to take things low and slow. This is especially important when dealing with homemade edibles, which are famously difficult to dose.

You’ll need a few basic pieces of information to calculate your approximate dose:

  • The weight of your concentrate (in grams)
  • The potency of the concentrate (% THC or CBD)
  • The number of servings the cooked dish yields (i.e. “makes a dozen cookies”)

To calculate, use this equation:

(weight of concentrate x THC% x 1,000)/number of servings

  • Multiply the weight of your concentrate (in grams) by the percentage of THC (as a decimal)
  • Multiply that number by 1,000 to convert grams to milligrams
  • Divide that number by the number of servings your recipe yields to determine milligrams of THC per portion

For example, 0.25 grams of a concentrate with 80% THC potency, should yield about 200mg of THC: (0.25 x 0.80) x 1,000 = 200.

Then, 200mg of THC distributed throughout 8 servings provides each serving with 25mg of THC, assuming even distribution (mix well!).

Make sure you’re already familiar with your ideal dose, and when in doubt, start with a very low dose (between 1-5mg) and work your way up.

Decarboxylate your concentrate (if needed)

Before cooking, you’ll want to be sure that your concentrate is decarboxylated. This converts non-intoxicating THCA into the euphoric THC we all know and love.

Higher temperatures are more likely to eliminate valuable cannabinoids and other compounds, so decarbing low and slow is generally the best way to go.

Getting your concentrates out of their containers can be tricky. Ivan advises using a lighter to melt concentrates stuck to metallic tools or sticking concentrates in the freezer until they stiffen up and can be easily removed. “Be careful. If you leave it in the freezer too long it will become like glass and shatter into little shards all over the place,” warned Ivan.

LaShea advises decarbing each type of concentrate as follows:

Decarbing BHO

Materials needed:

  • Desired amount of BHO
  • Baking sheet
  • Parchment paper
  • Oven thermometer


  • Preheat your oven to 200°F (93°C). Make sure you use your thermometer to test the oven temp before placing BHO in the oven.
  • Line your baking sheet with your parchment paper.
  • Put your wax, shatter, crumble, or budder on the center of your parchment lined baking sheet.
  • Place in the oven and bake for about 20-25 minutes. You will want to watch your concentrate very closely and make sure it doesn’t overcook. Once it has melted down and starts to really bubble, you know it is ready.
  • Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly.

Decarbing RSO

Materials needed:

  • Large stockpot
  • Cooking oil (like canola oil)
  • Heat proof container for RSO or CO2 oil (silicone or glass)
  • Desired amount of RSO or CO2 oil
  • Spoon for stirring
  • Tongs
  • Thermometer


  • Fill a stock pot about a quarter way up with cooking oil.
  • Place sealed container (silicone or glass container) with RSO or CO2 oil into pot with oil.
  • Began heating oil on medium-low heat.
  • Heat oil to 200°F (93°C), watching very closely and checking temperature with your thermometer. Break up bubbles with a spoon.
  • Once you’ve reached the temperature of 200°F, turn off the stovetop and remove pot from heat.
  • After about 1-2 minutes or when the bubbles have started to mellow out, remove concentrate container from oil with tongs. You can also leave it in until the bubbles have completely stopped for a more potent oil with stronger effects.

Note: Decarbing concentrates will make them thicken up, so they will be easier to work with while they are a little warm. 

Decarbing kief

Materials needed:

  • Desired amount of kief
  • Baking sheet
  • Parchment paper
  • Spatula
  • Oven thermometer


  • Preheat your oven to 200°F (93°C). Make sure you use your thermometer to test the oven temp before placing kief in the oven.
  • Line your baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Spread kief around evenly in the center of the baking sheet.
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes stirring halfway through.
  • Remove from the oven and allow it to cool.

Select your infusing oil

Oils with high saturated fat contents are the best options as a base oil for infusing as these will remain stable and in a liquid state at room temperature. One of my favorite fats for this purpose is high quality avocado oil.

“Dairy-based butter and animal fats do not offer the same stability and ease of use,” noted Denniston.

He touts MCT oil for its many benefits. “A unique plant-derived oil is MCT oil, which is derived from coconut, but does have a high saturated fat content,” he said. “It is this saturated fat content that provides both quick energy and an ideal medium to dissolve cannabis concentrates. While many virgin coconut oils do have a coconut flavor, MCT oil is processed to remove that flavor.”

Get cooking

You’ve already done most of the hard work with the decarbing and infusing. All that’s left is to add your infusion to a recipe.

You can add certain types of decarboxylated concentrates like shatter, budder, wax, and crumble directly to foods with high fat or oil content by crumbling it over the cooking pot. Kief also works this way, though some may opt to cook off kief in oil before adding it directly to a recipe.

If you’re working with already decarbed concentrates like RSO you’ll want to add it to your carrier fat and melt until dissolved, stirring occasionally. LaShea also notes you should not continue cooking once the concentrate is dissolved.

So long as your recipe remains under 300°F, you’re good to go with just about any dish your heart calls to.

After eating, be sure to wait up to 2 hours for effects to kick in before eating more, lest ye end up too high!

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Janelle Lassalle's Bio Image

Janelle Lassalle

Janelle is a writer, artist and cannabis/cannabidiol (CBD) expert. Her works have appeared in a variety of top-tier publications including Forbes, Rolling Stone, BBC, and VICE. She’s also the co-founder of The Full Spectrum Revolution, a cannabis publication dedicated to educational and lifestyle cannabis content. Follow her on Instagram @jenkhari.