Fear Of Missing Out, popularly known as FOMO, can be a powerful tool when it comes to branding and advertising. In an article by Business Insider, exclusivity can often be key to driving consumer behaviour.
On September 15, FOMO made us hop on a bus, make it two if you happened to take it from Toronto, and travel all the way to Pickering for an exclusive three-course cannabis-infused meal.
In an invite-only, private pop-up event hosted by Rebel Chef Series, an upscale vegetarian dinner party was hosted at a reputable 65-year-old club in Pickering. Being invited to these events is no easy task, connections are must; the location, for safety and privacy reasons, is often communicated at the eleventh hour.
Rebel Chef Series was founded by a group of four friends, who’ve known each other since high school, and combines their common passion for cooking and cannabis. “It’s a team effort, we all have day jobs, and that’s how we manage to pull it off every single time,” said Sean, co-founder. Feeding into the mysterious, exclusive nature of the event, the names or even the types of strains used in the meals were kept confidential. “We need to keep something secret,” said Sean jokingly. “Our main goal is to show people that cannabis can be used in every type of cooking and is not restricted to your usual cannabis-infused butter and cookies,” he added.
It can be challenging to find venues in Toronto that allow cannabis consumption onsite. But once the team was able to demonstrate the professional level at which they can operate, options started popping up.
“Our first-ever party was in Pickering, different location, with close to 30 people, mostly friends and family, in attendance. From there, the word started spreading and the membership grew organically,” said Sean. On this night, one that came with an entry fee of $50, there were 80 people, the largest crowd Rebel Chef Series has ever seen since its inception in 2017.
The dinner was served at 8.30 pm onwards and kick-started with non-infused cake pops by Candy’s Cakes and Treats, a Toronto-based desserts company. Soon after came the crowd favorite, Napoleon Tower: stacked sliced roasted beets, herb goat cheese, arugula, infused strawberry orange vinaigrette, and balsamic reduction.
Even for the toughest of critics, it would have been a challenge to find fault with the melt-in-your-mouth Napoleon Tower that not only looked appetizing but tasted good too. If you’ve never had cannabis-infused meals (we hadn’t), it was surprising to note that none of the meals had the distinct flavour or aroma of cannabis, except the dessert: matcha panna cotta, a fusion twist on the classic dish which was infused with blueberry sauce, banana coconut crème anglaise, and caramel nest.
For the second course, we were served butternut ravioli—fresh made pasta stuffed with roasted butternut squash, infused sage, truffle brown butter and parmesan crisp. Last, but not the least, was the signature cocktail, freshly infused sangria.
“The total dosage for the evening is 125mg of THC, which can be adjusted or removed. We put a lot of thought into deciding this baseline and for an experienced user, it’s fairly tame,” said Sean, adding, “We’ve had no untoward incidents at any our events and that’s primarily because we are particular about the details, making sure the dosage and the pairing is done right.”
People who don’t want cannabis in their food can request for it to be removed, especially if they’ve had too much or have a low tolerance. Not surprisingly, only two people requested for non-infused meals.
As we wiped our plates clean, enjoyed the music by DJ Inferno, and took part in the raffle, we were left wondering: is this legal?
“Since it’s a private party, it’s not open to the public and that’s how we manage to keep our activities legal,” says Sean. Post-legalization, the event will still remain invite only. “People enjoy the exclusivity, this underground, coded-cryptic vibe. Everybody is a friend of a friend. We have a very familial, communal feel to this event, and that’s how we want to keep it.”
With our questions and appetite put to rest, we eventually left the venue at 10.30 pm. Nothing could dampen our mood as we prepared for the two-hour ride back to Toronto; the FOMO-infused gathering had left us in high spirits.
Full story is available here.