Long before she was named Michigan Edibles’ “Best Cannabis Chef,” Enid Parham, owner and founder of Lucky Pistil catering, was a single mother who supported her family by working at Detroit’s Ritz-Carlton (now The Henry Hotel). But when a friend suggested she try infusing butter with small pieces of broken cannabis flower also known as “shake,” her interest in cooking with cannabis grew. But putting in the appropriate amount was a concern.
Determined to bring positive dining experiences to her guests with Lucky Pistil, which specializes in cannabis-infused food, Parham worked to hone her craft, learning everything she could about plants, strains, and techniques.
Nowadays, Parham is known for high-end dishes such as her vegan mushroom “foie gras” with handmade potato crisps and apple-stuffed chicken with red wine reduction, pistachio, and asparagus foam. She says she approaches cannabis like any other ingredient, sourcing as sustainably as possible and using it in ways that complement not only the experience but the entire dish as well. As a result, Parham sees herself as more than just a resource for those interested in experimenting safely with cannabis. She supports its decriminalization.
“I grew up in a drug dealing area in the ’80s. Your next-door neighbor could be selling weed — nickel bags or dime bags — and you watch them get raided, kids thrown in foster care. Then all of a sudden people could profit off it,” she says of its statewide legalization. “They didn’t provide any social equity to the people [these laws previously] affected. It really got my gears twisted.”
Still, Parham is excited for the opening of new cannabis-friendly social clubs like Hot Box Social in Hazel Park, because while she has no immediate plans to open a permanent venue of her own, she does believe that it is a step toward breaking the stigma associated with cannabis use.
Parham also uses her platform to provide opportunity to those in her community who are interested in developing a career as a cannabis chef. She mentors younger cooks in different aspects of the job, from starting a cannabis business to safely cooking with the plant.
She has also educated her clients on the distinct results produced by different strains, as well as responsible indulgence. Her dream is to one day have a TV show where she can teach the public even more about the benefits of cannabis-infused food and how to fix it at home.
As Michigan’s cannabis industry grows, she says marijuana should be legal, just like alcohol, and that there are pros who can help people understand it better — “budtenders,” as she calls them.