“Everybody smokes dope after work,” said Anthony Bourdain, the author and chef who made his name chronicling drugs and debauchery in professional kitchens. “People you would never imagine.”So while it should not come as a surprise that some chefs get high, it’s less often noted that drug use in the kitchen can change the experience in the dining room.
In the 1980s, cocaine helped fuel the frenetic open kitchens and boisterous dining rooms that were the incubators of celebrity chef culture. Today, a small but influential band of cooks says both their chin-dripping, carbohydrate-heavy food and the accessible, feel-good mood in their dining rooms are influenced by the kind of herb that can get people arrested.
Call it haute stoner cuisine.
“There has been an entire strata of restaurants created by chefs to feed other chefs,” Mr. Bourdain said. “These are restaurants created specially for the tastes of the slightly stoned, slightly drunk chef after work.”
“You like to eat stuff with texture and that is really deep in flavors,” said Ms. Tosi, who acknowledged the stoner appeal of her creations. “You want the ultimate sensory experience.” Even for people who don’t use illegal drugs, the deep flavors and sensory appeal of dishes like the breakfast burrito pizza at Roberta’s in Bushwick, Brooklyn, have an undeniable appeal. They plug directly into the reptilian portion of our brains, the side that wants what it wants and wants it now — and also a big bowl of it, please.“I always call it the Big Mac effect,” said the chef Vinny Dotolo, who owns Animal in Los Angeles with Jon Shook. Mr. Shook’s version of the French-Canadian dish poutine, built from Cheddar cheese and French fries covered in oxtail gravy, might be considered for the haute stoner food hall of fame.
On a personal note, I've never tried poutine, but I suspect the effect is, indeed, much like a couple of Big Macs or drive-through Jack in the Box burritos at 3:00 AM.