Recognizing the limitless possibilities of the new recreational cannabis industry, two savvy, seasoned cannabis industry experts Joshua Timmerman and Carolyn Kates have formed Lego Optimo. Lego Optimo is a fine dining and entertainment event company that offers access to cannabis education and spirited cannabis culinary experiences. It is their mission to educate San Diegans about cannabis and how to responsibly incorporate it into their lives, including their culinary experiences. In January they hosted the first ever legal cannabis dinner in San Diego.

The Idea

The idea for cannabis paired dinner, and educational events first came to light when Timmerman, Lego Optimo’s cannabis sommelier, was having a conversation with a friend who owns a local restaurant. Timmerman then brought the idea to Kates who is passionate about food and has organized countless community events in the past ranging from health seminars, cooking classes, fundraisers and farm to table dinners throughout San Diego County. It was soon a perfect connection given Timmerman’s extensive cannabis knowledge, Kates’ foodie background, and their shared passions as cannabis advocates.

Lego Optimo is ready to change the conversation about cannabis around the dinner table. They hope their dinner events will attract people new to cannabis, who before may have been intimidated, leaving them feeling more confident and knowledgeable about consumption. As passionate cannabis advocates, Timmerman and Kates believe that the only way to change stigmas of reefer madness is through education. They embody roles as advocates to help educate the community by putting the experts up front and center, with the grower telling diners where the cannabis comes from and how it was grown. Their dinner model is consumption optional in an intimate setting, where people can feel comfortable asking any questions they want, knowing they will receive factual answers from professionals in the industry.

Lego Optimo’s fine dining experience is unique in that none of the food served is infused. Instead, food is paired with specific cannabis strains in the exact same way as wine is paired with food. It is a new and elevated experience for food enthusiasts. All five senses come to play when experimenting and pairing cannabis with food, and the chefs accompany Timmerman in selecting each strain to be paired with each course. When choosing a strain, Timmerman takes into account the effects of each bud – whether it is sativa or indica, the terpene and flavor profiles, aromatics and more. The food is treated with the exact same care, as everything served was picked at the farm or caught from the ocean on that day. Kates has spent the last ten years teaching people about where their food comes from because it is essential to know what goes into one’s body, and the same sentiment goes for cannabis. How it is grown and where it comes from matters.

Experiencing Lego Optimo 

I had the opportunity to attend the first legal cannabis dinner last month, and it can be said without a doubt that it was one of the best culinary experiences I have ever had in America’s finest city, indeed the dankest. It was held at a private and intimate venue in Hillcrest and featured world-class chefs Benito Molina and Flor Franco. Cannabis consumption during the event was optional but encouraged before each course by use of smokeless vaporizers, or for the more traditional, a smoke room was set up away from the dinner table, complete with the owners’ personal pieces. If ever there was a way to bring about community and conversation – it’s at the dinner table. At this event, it is encouraged to make new connections among like-minded people, who appreciate the craft and quality of not only food but cannabis.

All dishes were truly incredible, satisfying and creatively spun, such as the second course of quail wings and crab legs served with homemade wasabi, topped with tiny crunchy crickets, and paired with a sweet and woody cannabis strain, Allen Wrench. My favorite course, though, was dessert – homemade vanilla ice cream in a hand-crafted thin chocolate bowl. The dish was served covered, and when revealed, a small cloud of cinnamon and spices vaporized into the air. Pair that with Skywalker, a strain with a spicy herbal scent, and I’d say you’ve got yourself an aromatic happy ending to a four-course meal.

To learn more about Lego Optimo and their upcoming events, click here. The next cannabis paired fine dining experience is March 15, featuring specialty smoked meats, seafood, and vegetables.

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Kayla Bass
Kayla Bass is a marketing and events planning professional who is a passionate writer and all-around creative individual. She’s involved with the San Diego startup community and believes that diversity in business fosters innovation and opens the door of opportunity. Her focus and expertise in business ranges from the non-profit sector to startups and she is excited to see how the cannabis industry blooms. Kayla has a vision for the cannabis industry of accessibility and wellness, and believes the industry will be an important tool to fuel economic growth. If you’re reading this, reach out to Kayla any time and send a request to connect on LinkedIn.