For the Dread Head Chef, quality is the key to making CBD products

Photograph by Jessica Turner.

TThe cannabis trade in Texas is ironically stressful.

Legal cannabis is highly regulated. Products require third party testing and lab reports. On the other hand, it is difficult to find a banker and impossible to obtain professional credit. Cannabis cannot be advertised through social media, and building a website is more complicated because it requires a landing page with no mention of CBD or cannabis.

But the opportunity to enter a newly opened market appealed to Michael Weinstein, aka the Formidable chef, and his fiancee, Robin Riddle. They went into business this year with their longtime friend, Dallas PR specialist Lisa Oldham.

Weinstein worked for a country club and upscale restaurant, Mediterraneo, in the 1990s, then he was the last executive chef under the original owners of The grape.

After that, he started a business called Dread Head Chef which made dessert salsas. This business started when he invented a dessert for his niece who was allergic to wheat. He made corn tortilla chips dusted with sugar and cinnamon, a gluten-free version of a sopapilla, and served it with a strawberry chutney he had concocted. Everyone said it looked like chips and salsa.

He has brought these Dread Head Chef products to markets and conventions, including a few dealing with cannabis. This inspired him to infuse his dessert salsas with CBD, and a whole new business began to blossom.

“I’ve tried other edibles, and a lot of them aren’t that good,” Weinstein says.

Most are made with full spectrum CBD oil, which he says tastes medicinal. Some people don’t notice it, but for Weinstein it goes beyond everything.

So he started working with cannabis flowers bought from Oak Cliff Cultivators hemp farm to make infused butter for salted caramels. This method gives the caramels an “earthy and herbaceous” flavor that Weinstein prefers to the chemical taste of the oil.

The business partners have attended several cannabis conventions in Texas, where CBD is legal and marijuana is not, and in California, where marijuana is legal for recreational purposes.

They noticed that the market was flooded with candy, so they decided not to make any. The other most common foods are chocolates and chocolate chip cookies, Weinstein says. This is why they opted for caramels.

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