Meet the Cannabis Chef Who’s Taking On Bobby Flay
Jarod Farina on his latest TV stint, cannabis skeptics, and the one situation that causes him to pass on the grass.
Denver-based chef Jarod Farina is a daily cannabis user. In fact, he’s made a name for himself as Denver’s leading force in cannabis-infused dining experiences. But there’s one situation that’ll cause him to pass on the weed — competition.
“I like to be super clear headed when it comes to competition stuff,” Farina said in a recent conversation with Rooster, days before the premiere of his episode of Food Network’s Beat Bobby Flay. While he can’t disclose the results of his showdown yet, Farina says Bobby Flay’s kitchen was even tougher than his appearance on another beloved competition show, Chopped.
“The task at hand during Beat Bobby Flay is really difficult,” Farina said. “But I always try to compete when I can to see where I stand. Plus I get a thrill from it.”
Outside of cooking competition shows, Farina (also known as Chef Roilty) has amassed an impressive resume of culinary and cannabis accolades. Some of his strongest praise, however, comes from the customer reviews that can be found on his business website for his cannabis-infused dining experiences — the word “amazing” is used on 25 separate occasions. And no need to count yourself out if you’re not a cannabis user.
“It's basically a choose your own adventure type of situation,” Farina said. “Anybody who's weary, we're very responsive to their concerns.”
Dine with Roilty offers a variety of experiences for those looking to infuse their meals with cannabis, including three, five, and seven-course private meals, as well as catering and cooking classes. Farina says that the decreasing stigma around cannabis allows him to share his craft with those who may not explore cannabis otherwise. The chef has even witnessed a couple of cannabis converts.
“A lot of times we'll have people who are very wary in the beginning and then they see their friends having a good time by course four,” Farina said. “And they're like, ‘oh, let me do a couple drops.’”
Beat Bobby Flay isn’t Farina’s first attempt at television — he appeared on Bravo’s Southern Charm. This was a breakthrough moment in Farina’s eyes, not just for his notoriety but for the cannabis community as a whole.
“They don't really support cannabis on that channel. So for us to be there cooking with cannabis and the people on the show participating was a big deal,” Farina said.
Growing up in Florida, Farina’s life was being influenced by cannabis before he even realized it.
“I didn't know it at the time, but my dad was growing cannabis when I was young,” Farina said, reflecting on his childhood in Florida. With a lifetime of experiences, relationships, and now business ventures tied to the world of cannabis, Farina is no stranger to the fact that it has its ups and downs.
“I've dealt with cannabis on all fronts, good and bad,” Farina said. “My dad tried to steer me away from that life because he didn’t want me to go down the same path as him.”
2021 was a historic year for Colorado, raking in a record-setting $2.2 billion in recreational marijuana revenue. That number brings the overall recreational revenue to $12 billion since sales began in January of 2014. On a national level, edibles have outpaced other forms of cannabis steadily for the last few years. Farina’s business model is tapping into a proven trend, but there is still a stigma surrounding the core of Farina’s business model.
“People are always going to put cannabis in the news and try to paint it in a bad light,” Farina said, referencing a recent headline-making study that consuming high levels of THC could lead to addiction and psychosis.
In addition to fighting the stigma of cannabis, Denver attempted to get the ball rolling last year by introducing its social equity plan geared toward cannabis delivery service licensing. Dispensaries have been wary to participate thus far, a trend that Farina finds disappointing.
“I feel like you’re just constantly jumping through hoops in the cannabis industry no matter what, no matter where you are, and it's frustrating,” Farina said. “These people invested a lot of money to get their business up off the ground.”
While Farina can acknowledge the industry’s shortcomings, he is grateful for the support he has received as he has built his business — a business that gives back.
We give a lot of stuff back to the community, from the companies that partner with us,” Farina said. “People love what we're doing and we can definitely feel that support.”
While Farina doesn’t work directly with other cannabis companies outside of sponsorships, he believes it’s important to connect with the community — he’s even hosting his Beat Bobby Flay watch party at Denver’s first smoking lounge Jad's Mile High Smoke.
The event will be held on Thursday, August 4 from 6-10 p.m., ages 21+ and free to the public.