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Creative, entrepreneur sister duo Tamu and Zia Stolbie can do just about anything. Aside from conquering the world on their spare time, they are the founders of the very weed-friendly High-End Dinner Series. With their cannabis chef, Adam Barski, one of the very best cannabis dinner series was built.
We caught up with them to find out more.
How did you get involved in cannabis?
Though we have separate initial experiences with cannabis - our journey into cannapreneurship has been a combined one. Our background is primarily in the film industry and creative industries which led us to founding our creative agency GG media lab which offers services in visual content creation and media marketing. GG media lab represents creatives as well as cannabis influencers & educators.
We noticed that this new emerging industry would require many of the services and skill sets we possessed that could be heavily applied to the booming cannabis industry.
At the same time as co-founding our agency, we founded of ‘The Coven Club’ - a Social Enterprise for women determined to rise, with an aim to advocate for and advance women in male dominated industries. We co-founded ‘The Coven Club’ with good friend - Criminal Defence lawyer Sarah Leamon who has maintained practice and media presence in cannabis law since legalization. Sarah was asked by one of our local cannabis media personalities Craig Ex (who we now work with closely based out of ‘Studio 710’, a cannabis-friendly media and recording studio in downtown Vancouver) to be on an episode of his weekly talk show ‘Expert Joints Live!’ Tamu joined Sarah on the show to discuss our initiatives with ‘The Coven Club’ and the importance of women in leadership positions in the cannabis industry. After that show everything really snowballed from there. Very soon after we had a line of socially conscious cannabis apparel that started with canna leaf kimonos and robes under ‘Stolbie Brand’.
Our combined ventures were slated to give us an edge in the cannabis industry that hadn’t really been seen yet in various capacities. Trailblazers by nature - the year just pre-cannabis legalization in Canada we had the idea to create cannabis infused dining and experiences which we were seeing happen more and more south of the border. Thus - We started The High-End Dinner Series really as a way to entertain (something that we were doing before for friends and colleagues) just this time infused with cannabis! We quickly met Adam at a cannabis event, found out he was a Red Seal Chef and the rest is history! Haha :)
Chef Adam Barski, Culinary Director of The High-End Dinner Series:
I was a heavy user in my younger years but had a couple panic attacks and decided to cease my use of cannabis cold turkey. Fast forward a handful of years to an unfortunate event where my best friend contracted an illness and was quarantined for a couple months. He left the hospital 40 lbs lighter, a pocketful of prescriptions and a hole in his lung. He came to me looking to use cannabis to aid him back to health but of course he wouldn’t be able to smoke it. That was the moment I jumped into making edibles at a higher level. I spent my time researching cannabis from the ground up, learning the cultivation of it, the science of it, the math of infusing, the different ways of infusing, the healthiest ways of infusing etc.
All the while I was honing my skills as a chef, baker and pastry chef.
What is your mission with @thehighenddinner?
Our mission at The High-End Dinner Series is to bring cannabis infused dining and experiences into the forefront. We want to give the plant an extremely normalized perception. By providing our guests and clients with the best possible quality canna-centric events, services and experiences we aim to de-stigmatize, educate people to learn more about the cannabis plant and elevate in the process. We host & execute all types of events from chill-pop ups to fine dining, as well as provide services suited to individual cannabis needs.
Where do you see yourself in the industry in 5 years?
Now that is a tough question! Things move and change so quickly in this industry it’s hard to tell what’s even going to be possible in a years’ time! What we’re hoping is that the things we are working on and executing right now will help to shape what we will be able to do in 5 years. The regulations that are out, pertaining to edibles, only address packaged goods. We still have a long road of shaping and discovering what the space is going to look like surrounding events and consumption spaces. We hope the frameworks that we are building with The High-End Dinner Series today will take part in creating the regulations of tomorrow.
With similar sentiments regarding the advertising and cannabis media space.
What's the biggest challenge of working in the cannabis space and the biggest reward?
We would say that some of the biggest challenges pertain to the regulations themselves.
How the regulations are written, and interpreting the laws, doesn’t necessarily tell you what one is allowed or not allowed to do. The fact is that many people have been working with cannabis for decades already and they, we, are ready to take the leap forward, but transitioning into a legitimate state is a giant hurdle to overcome when you don’t know what you are fully allowed to do yet. We don’t mean to sound like we’re complaining; In certain facets we agree with how cautiously Canada is rolling out the legalization of cannabis but that just means that we also have to be cautious with how we proceed as well.
While we have yet to see how rewarding working in this space will be in its entirety, it is literally just the beginning! What we hope is that normalization will come quickly so that more people can benefit from what this amazing plant has to offer. Something that is very rewarding so far is discovering so many like-minded people and building amazing relationships with them.
Do you have any advice for any fellow cannapreneurs?
Learn as much relative information you can about this incredibly multi-faceted plant. The more you know the more professional, experienced and vetted you will be. Curiosity levels are through the roof and the more information we have to share, the stronger every facet of this brand new space will become!