The Cannabis Chef | | Santa Fe…


The days of burnt pot brownies are a thing of the past.

With adult recreational cannabis sales now legal in New Mexico—meaning a whole lot of people are going to have a pretty excellent summer—dispensaries are offering smorgasbords of delectable edibles. One baker, however, is going beyond the ordinary chocolates, hard candy and gummies. Instead, Miguel De Luca, lead baker at Minerva Canna, is whipping up mouthwatering cakes and pastries that would entice even the non-users.

De Luca’s is a seed to dessert operation housed in a facility near Bernalillo, where Minerva Canna houses grow rooms, a complete processing center and extract station. An edible production kitchen at the site is where De Luca and his assistants work their magic, preparing triple-chocolate cakes, vanilla cake with vanilla buttercream and berry-blast chantilly cakes. And it doesn’t stop there. Chocolate-chip, peanut butter, chocolate macadamia and snickerdoodle cookies are also on the menu, in addition to iced cupcakes, lemon bars, passion cream bars and key lime bars. For the holidays, De Luca likes to make apple, pecan and pumpkin pies; a Valentine’s Day line was also released in February for medicinal users before legalization went into effect.

De Luca and his bakers are always coming up with new ideas, too, and rotating the menu options. They recently made a batch of carrot cakes, and Deluca says he’s thinking about making cheesecake for the Fourth of July. A “birthday-cake program” is another idea with which he’s flirting.

“We’re doing everything here strictly from raw ingredients,” De Luca says. “The actual THC part of it is farm to table, and then it’s all completely from scratch. We’re not buying cakes from somewhere and putting THC doses in them.”

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A career baker, De Luca has been popping pastries in the oven for more than 30 years at various venues. The homogenization of THC into the edibles was new to him when he started with Minerva Canna, but, he says, it’s just an extra step to the process. De Luca adds distillates, a cannabis concentrate made from refined resin, into the oil or butter, which is then brought to 170 degrees. It is then carefully blended together with a homogenizer to make a truly uniform product.

“We do it very quantitatively,” De Luca explains, “so when you’re eating a product from us and it says it has 10 milligrams of THC, you can be sure it has 10 milligrams of THC. We’re very, very careful and exact about that.”

All the desserts are made with 10 milligrams of THC per serving, with a maximum of 10 servings per gram. Customers can find a 10-pack of cookies at Minerva Canna dispensaries, or a cake that’s cut into four pieces. All of De Luca’s cakes and cookies are available at each of Minerva Canna’s seven locations in and around Santa Fe and Albuquerque. To see where it all started, however, Santa Feans can stop by the Cerrillos Road dispensary—the site of De Luca’s old kitchen and bar.

“The café there is one of the only ones in Santa Fe where you can have on-site edibles,” De Luca tells SFR. “We have cookies there, pastries there, and you can also get a coffee drink. You can get a latte and say, ‘Can I have 5 milligrams of THC or 10 milligrams of THC?’”

As home pot brownie chefs may know, edibles can hit differently. As opposed to smoking or vaping cannabis, the effects can take a while to kick in. De Luca recommends caution when diving into a sweet, potent treat.

“It’s easy to take too much,” he says. “Just start with 10 or even 5 milligrams and then wait a while. When you eat cannabis, it gets metabolized through your liver and it can take up two hours. If you have a full stomach after eating a big meal and eat a little piece of our cake, it might take up to two hours to get into your system.”

De Luca hopes to soon start offering custom orders, but it’s a work in progress, he says. For now, his creations can be found at the Cerrillos location or the spot on E. Water Street in Santa Fe’s downtown area. Both are open every day of the week, from 10 am to 7 pm Monday through Saturday; and Sundays from noon to 5 pm.

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