From Top Chef To Pot Chef: Interview With Erik Hopfinger
Medicated Californian Cold Pressed Extra Virgin Olive Oil
C: Meet Canna Chef extraordinaire, Erik Hopfinger. Season 4 Top Chef contestant and now private cannabis chef. Thanks for being here Erik. So what sparked your passion for cooking?
Erik: So I’m a third-generation Chef. I’ve been cooking professionally for 30 something years and specifically cooking in San Francisco for over 20 years. My mom is a working chef. She does catering up north in Petaluma. My grandfather was a cook in World War II and came back and opened a burger joint in Ojai California called The Nest in the 1950’s.
C: So why did you want to be on Top Chef?
Erik: I did not want to be on top chef.
So then how did you become a Top Chef Season 4 Contestant?
So the restaurant that I was working at at the time, Circa, we had a PR agency and they were kind of pushing us, pushing me, to do the show. I was actually contacted Season 1 about being on it and I turned it down and you know, it was an ongoing thing and I finally gave in and did it.
C: Well we are all glad you did. How was your overall Top Chef experience?
Erik: It was a pretty positive experience I would say overall. It was exhausting a lot of hard work. It looks a lot easier when you’re sitting on the couch but overall I think, you know, my career has definitely gone to the next level. Afterwards you know, being on TV definitely doesn’t hurt your career, even if it’s brief.
C: How did it end up impacting your life?
Erik: I don’t think it really impacted my life that much. I’m just a regular person, I’m not like any of the celebrity chefs that continuously go on the shows. I didn’t have that great of an experience so I definitely wouldn’t go back on any reality TV series, not to say that I wouldn’t do TV again but just not reality, quote on quote, exactly.
Right, you’re not trying to milk that experience.
C: So then why did you get into cannabis?
Erik: I’ve been involved in cannabis, using cannabis for 30 something years. Started smoking at 15, 16 years old and now I’ve been using it medically. I was diagnosed with Crohn’s five years ago so I use it for pain relief and part of my daily routine to keep my Crohn’s at bay without using prescription medication as far as like controlling pain and stuff like that.
C: That was the natural progression into becoming a pot chef?
Erik: The main reason behind the Pot Chef thing was that I had a family relative that was sick with cancer and also had diabetes so she couldn’t ingest a lot of the sugary things that would be provided to dispensaries. I made her a batch of medicated olive oil which she could add to her own stuff, make her own salad dressings, and so on and so forth and add it to to her daily routine. It worked out really well and I decided to share my experience with that with the rest of the world. So now I’m bottling my extra virgin olive oil.
C: Yeah, so tell us about your Medicated Californian Cold Pressed Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
Erik: Oh, it’s fantastic. I’m getting phenomenal Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Sonoma County and then using my special cooking technique, extracting a great amount of cannabis out of the leaf itself without overdoing it. We do a 36-hour cook on it so we get the most THC and CBD extracted without burning the product.
C: And then you also have Firesticks?
Erik: I do. Firesticks are our premium luxury pre-roll. They are a hash infused cannabis joint with hash oil and kief and they are in a roasted hemp wrapper with a balsa wood tip that is brushed with a little bit of sugar water to give you a nice little dry hit and sweetness. We have five different flavors so they’re pretty fantastic.
C: Nice, I’m excited to try one. Well thanks so much for being here, Erik.
Erik: My pleasure.