CA: Namu Gaji Chef Dennis Lee Joins Oakland Cannabis Company As Edibles Director

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Photo Credit: Eva Kolenko

The unofficial motto of SF Korean restaurants Namu Gaji and Namu Stonepot, #Getitstoned, will take on more literal meaning a executive chef and cofounder Dennis Lee joins Oakland-based cannabis company Sublime Concentrates. On top of his current duties at Namu, which he operates with brothers David and Daniel, Lee will serve as Sublime’s director of edibles manufacturing.

To augment their existing line of popular vape cartridges, Sublime recently secured sizable investment from a major Midwestern confectioner (whose name hasn’t yet been announced). They’ve purchased new, automated equipment for their manufacturing facility, located in Oakland’s pot business approved “green zone.” There, Sublime will start churning out sweet and savory snacks designed by Lee, made with varying levels of THC and the non-psychoactive cannabis compound CBD. And because hundreds of California recreational marijuana stores already stock Sublime’s concentrates, the new edibles could be widely distributed as soon as April.

Alex Fang, Sublime’s CEO and a friend of Lee’s, says he was surprised when Lee asked if he could borrow Fang’s extractor (which turns cannabis plant material into concentrated oils). “He started asking me these really high-level questions that piqued my interest,” Fang says. When Sublime landed the candy investor, he brought Lee aboard.

Lee has indeed tinkered with edibles, and considers them potentially beneficial for chefs and restaurant workers like himself. “It’s stressful to work in a kitchen, and people from the restaurant industry, often times, are managing that stress, emotional and physical, with alcohol.” Cannabis, he suggests, can provide a useful alternative. “It’s super exciting to be at ground zero in the industry, especially in edibles, with prohibition being lifted this year.”

In addition to a core line of candies and confections, Lee is reportedly experimenting with some more savory items. Those could include flavor powders to sprinkle on other food like eggs or salad.

Lee also emphasizes that Fang is a chef in his own right, as the terpene flavors of his extracts will provide the basis for their products. Fang’s philosophy for edibles is simple: Keep it tasty, and — recalling an unfortunate experience at UC San Diego’s Sun God festival — keep it light. “I never want make an edible that people regret eating,” he says.

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