Cannabis cooking comes to Chicago for the National Restaurant Association Show(Photo credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Nation’s largest restaurant and food service gathering will feature a cannabis cooking panel this year.

In the latest evidence that marijuana cooking is edging into mainstream acceptance, this year’s National Restaurant Association (NRA) Show at Chicago’s McCormick Place will feature a panel discussion all about cooking with cannabis.

Colorado author Robyn Griggs Lawrence will lead the panel, “Art Meets Science: Cooking with Cannabis,” along with cannabis culinary innovators Chris Sayegh and Herb Seidel.

Lawrence is the author of “The Cannabis Kitchen Cookbook,” which was named Amazon’s #1 New Release for both Gourmet Cooking and Herb Spice and Condiment Cooking, and also hit No. 4 on the The Denver Post’s Bestseller List in nonfiction.

“I think that the National Restaurant Association doing this panel on cannabis cooking is an awesome indication that cannabis cooking is definitely going mainstream,” Lawrence told Extract in an interview.

Robyn Griggs Lawrence(Photo credit: Robyn Griggs Lawrence/Facebook)

The Colorado-based author got involved in gourmet cannabis cooking after becoming a patient herself. Her doctor recommended she try medical cannabis for severe menstrual discomfort a few years back.

“It’s like magic,” she said. “It’s like natural medicine. Our bodies are wired for it.”

She wanted a healthy, discreet way to consume cannabis, so she put her background in natural foods and gourmet cooking to work.

“As more patients across the country discover the tremendous health benefits of cannabis and more states open up recreational markets, cannabis is emerging as an exciting new culinary ingredient,” Lawrence said. “Chefs are discovering and exploring this superfood — which is actually a vegetable — and learning how to incorporate it into healthy gourmet cuisine.”

Chris Sayegh, “The Herbal Chef,” has been carving out a successful space for himself in the new cannabis cooking landscape as well.

The 23-year-old celebrated chef, also slated to speak at the NRA Show panel, says he became interested in the science of marijuana as a student at the University of California Santa Cruz.

“I was like, ‘If I’m going to be smoking all the time, I want to know what I’m putting in my body,’ ” Sayegh told Extract. “So I started studying and I started to learn that everything people tell you about marijuana is wrong, and we’re being fooled.”

Sayegh became “fascinated with the endocannabinoid system” and the physiological benefits of cannabis consumption. But he was underwhelmed with the dominance of junk-food edibles (think brownies, gummy bears, etc.) he saw at dispensaries.

Cannabis cooking comes to Chicago for National Restaurant Association Show(Photo credit: The Herbal Chef/Facebook)

“I wanted to bring my passion for cooking to it,” he said. “So I got more involved in the science end.”

Sayegh, who hunts, fishes and forages for much of the food he serves his guests, explains that scientific method and responsible THC dosing are paramount to his approach to gourmet cannabis cooking.

“It’s about the intricacy, the finness,” he said. “I don’t want people to get so high that they can’t see the beauty in what’s happening.”

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“Art Meets Science: Cooking with Cannabis” is scheduled for May 24 (1 p.m.) at the 2016 National Restaurant Association Show at Chicago’s McCormick Place.

More information can be found here.

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See also

Gallery: Anatomy of a cannabis plant

Cannabis anatomy
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Gallery source links: Leafly, Whaxy, High Times