IN GOOD CANNABIS
Chef Miguel Trinidad leads 99th Floor, a cannabis-themed fine dining experience.
His dinners offer guests meals unlike anything they’ve known before, challenging their expectations of what Cannabis food can be. Chef Trinidad’s recipes embody the company’s brand: his offerings offer subtle dosages that allow diners to consume a full five-course meal and slowly accumulate a high in the process.
Dining guests receive an experience that is more in line with sipping fine wine rather than taking constant rounds of shots, as the cannabis cuisine is as much about the food and atmosphere as it is about its effects.
The goal of 99th Floor is to be considered a food brand as much as an edibles brand, creating a premium product in a market that is mostly currently a race to fit the most powerful doses into a product. Chef Trinidad spoke about that goal further in this interview.
Tell me a little bit about your background, and what inspired you to start incorporating THC and CBD into your cooking?
Miguel Trinidad: I was born and raised in New York City. I’ve been in the hospitality industry since the age of 17. I’ve been cooking professionally since 2007. What prompted me to start using cannabis as an ingredient was after meeting my business partner, Doug. We were working on a pilot for a show where Neil Armstrong who happens to be Jay Z’s tour DJ, where he would teach people his skill in exchange for them, teaching them theirs. We’re all from New York. We really hit it off. Couple of weeks later Doug hit me up and said, “How do you feel about cooking with cannabis like brownies and stuff”, so that was the start of 99th Floor. That was the seed that sprouted into this beautiful tree that we are today.
What would you say are some of the benefits, and some of the challenges, of cooking with THC and CBD?
Miguel Trinidad: One of the benefits of cooking with THC is that everybody’s happy! And the challenges that we’ve come across are proper doses. You know your mood changes. You’re loose, you’re relaxed. You’re comfortable. It can improve your mood and really ease anxiety.
How do you infuse THC and CBD into dishes?
Miguel Trinidad: Well, there’s many different forms. The simplest form that a lot of people do is taking a concentrated infused oil or butter and mixing it into their food. That’s not what we do. What we do is highly detailed. So if we are infusing a piece of meat, we might render the fat off a piece of ribeye and I would infuse that fat, and then I would permeate the meat with the THC and provide a nice dose.
And how would you ensure the proper dosage and consistency?
Miguel Trinidad: One of those two ways when it comes to the proper dosage and consistency is that I use a device called the T check. It’s a small spectrometer which will actually measure the potency of the fat that is being infused and once that happens, it will measure the potency to the milliliter.
How do you know that one cannabis is better than another?
Miguel Trinidad: I wouldn’t say the one’s better than the other. That’s like saying, you know Rosemary is better than Thyme. They each have their own properties in their own flavor profile. So in the summertime I’m going to look for something that has citrusy profiles. And in the winter and fall I’m going to look for something that has more earthy tones.
How are things going with the legalization for the hospitality industry?
Miguel Trinidad: When it comes to the legality of it, we have been in talks with the OCM. And we have been advocating for not only the legalization of Cannabis, but also, consumption lodges, and how it’s going to be done, and we were invited to sit at a round table and discuss what our needs as a dinner club would be, because in the future we would like to open up a cannabis restaurant, and we want to make sure that it’s done properly.
So what do you want people to know about you, our business, where it’s located and the kinds of people that you’re serving.
Miguel Trinidad: We do not have a brick and mortar restaurant yet simply because regulations haven’t been written yet and that’s what we are working towards. In the meantime, you can find us on our social media outlets and reach out to us.
What’s been your most fun event?
Miguel Trinidad: There’s so many. I was featured and was one of the judges on Bong Appetite, and, you know, that was a lot of fun because I got to not only engage with some of the legends like George Clinton. One of my most favorite dinners was a 10 course tasting menu which was featured in the New York Times. and that was absolutely amazing, fantastic.
If you want to learn more about 99th Floor, visit them on Instagram @99thfl or @chefmigsnyc.