District 1 Denver City Council candidate Scott Durrah is eagerly awaiting the May 7 municipal election, but he already has at least one first-place finish. The cannabis industry veteran just appeared on VICELAND's Bong Appétit cannabis-infused cooking show, winning a three-course competition of THC and CBD dishes.
Judged by chef and restaurateur Miguel Trinidad and edibles entrepreneur Vanessa Lavorato, as well as music and cannabis icons B-Real and Wiz Khalifa, the contest pit Durrah against fellow chefs and cannabis entrepreneurs from Oregon and Canada. Durrah, the owner of Denver dispensary Simply Pure and a veteran of the Denver restaurant scene (8 Rivers, among other eateries), used his experience with Caribbean flavors and infused spices to whip up glazed lamb chops, curried lobster and a bread-pudding spin on Alice B. Toklas's classic pot brownies.
Each dish had to feature different infusions of THC and CBD. Durrah used a mixture of flower and wood chips to cold-smoke butter and oranges for his appetizers, and also infused terpenes and tinctures of specific strains like Citrus Sap and San Fernando Valley OG into his Jamaican curry and bread pudding.
The candidate hasn't been shy about his connections with the plant during his campaign; at a recent fundraiser, he cooked a Caribbean meal and paired it with different cannabis strains.
Durrah says he's filmed "about twenty or thirty" pilots related to cannabis cooking and has prepared medicated dishes for athletes and celebrities in the past. He filmed Bong Appétit last November, months before he decided to run for city council, but says he still would have participated even if he'd already declared his candidacy.
"One of the things I will not do is run away or shy away from who I am. This was not a show for Cartoon Network or a show for children. This was a show for adults, for people who are serious about other alternatives to digesting cannabis," he explains. "Even if I were a councilmember, I'd probably still do the show."
Cooking wasn't the only contest on the show. With almost an hour of airtime to fill and (very) stoned hosts, Durrah also had to play "Bong Pong," taking bong hits and tossing rings over bongs. In another contest, he stood in a booth with goggles on as fans blew ounces of cannabis around him, then plucked them out of the air like a game of Cash Grab.
"Am I the first one to get in this nug machine?" Durrah asked B-Real.
"Yes, you are," the host replied. "Nug up."
Despite the fun and games, Durrah takes his role as a cannabis chef very seriously, and believes the plant can be an instrumental ingredient in both healthy and gourmet cooking. "We're in a different time," he says. "People who are consuming cannabis now aren't always the young group. It's the middle age, or people who are looking for an alternative to prescription drugs."
As winner of the competition, Durrah is invited back to a champions' round cookoff. Here's a look at his latest victory:
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.