A cooking show that replaces the stress of competition with the dramatic question of how high a person on TV can conceivably get… and it turns out that’s pretty entertaining.
This review of Cooked With Cannabis (Netflix) is spoiler-free. It debuted on April 20.
I suppose it’s fitting that Cooked With Cannabis (Netflix) is pretty chilled out as such things go. Usually when you tune in to MasterChef or Hell’s Kitchen or some such, what you expect is gradually reddening nutcase chefs screaming obscenities in contestants’ faces. That’s really the appeal, beyond even the food, and it’s such a common theme in the genre that one has to wonder how a culinary contest could be entertaining without it. You’re not watching to see if Rachel, a sous chef from Wisconsin, has the best vinaigrette – you’re watching to see if Gordon Ramsay spontaneously combusts.
Cooked With Cannabis, which is hosted by the pop star and apparently classically trained chef Kelis, has none of these things. It has food, but its quality is mostly determined by how much weed it contains, and you know this because the amount of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in each course is made quite a big deal of. And this is obviously intentional, since without the baked-in competitive underpinnings – there’s a cash prize, though I’m not sure anyone noticed – the big dramatic question here is how high these people are going to get without dying.
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The show’s set in California, presumably for legal reasons, and features a range of rotating guest judges and contestants who are all thrilled to be there because they’re impossibly high before they start and only get more spaced out from there. This is the appeal. Any vague awareness of a competitive framework is negligible. Everyone’s relaxed, and everyone’s having a good time, and thus so are the audience, chemically-assisted or otherwise. With access to dealers a bit restricted at the moment, a contact high from the contestants might be the best we’ve got for a while.
But the rhythm of Cooked With Cannabis is kind of genius. Because all the contestants are high they’re also ravenous, so they scoff everything they make regardless, and since everything is mandated to contain cannabis they just get even higher. This is hilarious to me. There’s an educational undercurrent that in this context becomes laughable; nobody here is in any fit state to outline the relative benefits of sativa over indica or vice versa, and nor should they be. Viewers might be able to pick up a nugget of info or two, but don’t expect to make much use of it – once our current circumstances have relaxed a bit, your go-to is more liable to bump you on an ounce than ever, however much you can tell him about which strain is your best bet for infusing a lamb chop.
Needless to say, this is endlessly entertaining – the only downside is that at just six half-hour episodes, there isn’t enough of Cooked With Cannabis to maintain the high. Season 2 can’t come soon enough.