In addition to creating mainstream critical darlings like Stranger Things and The Crown, Netflix also churns out an array of original movies and TV shows that appeal to highly niche audiences. Whether you’re hungry for a new Pee-wee Herman adventure, a soap opera featuring the Medici Family, a holiday rom-com about an aspiring journalist who falls in love with a dashing prince, or an oddball revival of a mid-’90s TGIF staple, Netflix has got you covered. And now, in a further attempt to offer something for everyone, the entertainment titan has deployed a new cooking series geared at people who like to get stoned out of their gourds on a regular basis by folding marijuana into trendy comfort foods.
Here are some questions you maybe have about Cooking on High, the series that’s being billed as “the first-ever competitive cannabis cooking show,” along with all the answers.
Do you have to be stoned to enjoy this show?
Yes. The stakes are much lower than what you find on most TV culinary competitions. There are no cash prizes, quickfires, or immunity challenges, and the competitors don’t even advance to another round after winning a cook-off. And instead of cooking in a dramatically lit stadium-like space, the action takes place in a kitchen that looks like one of Ikea “tiny apartment” displays.
Although none of the food looks straight-up unappetizing, there are only a few dishes that look like something you’d want to roll up your sleeves and eat. Some of the more camera-friendly marijuana creations include: crispy cannabis cod cakes, weed-infused potato gnocchi, and a ganja’d up “al pastor-inspired pork pho.”
The action in these 14-minute episodes moves relatively quickly, and there are a lot of opportunities for the judges to tell stories about wild things that happened to them when they got really high. But like many pieces of stoner entertainment, the humor might only resonate with you if you are in fact under the influence of... something, whether that’s a joint, many beers, or perhaps an entire box of white wine.
Are any famous people on this show?
Hmm, depends on your definition of “famous.” Cooking on High’s host Josh Leyva is a YouTube star who logged a pretty big viral hit with the video “Annoying My Girlfriend.” The judges, meanwhile, are what might best be described as “weed celebrities,” including surfer bro rapper Mod Sun and internet prankster Vitaly Zdorovetskiy. Unless you spend a lot of time attending LA improv shows, or stumbling around YouTube trying to discover the next Macklemore or Lonely Island, you probably haven’t heard of any of these people.
On the culinary side, one of the cooks, Luke Reyes, runs a ramen restaurant in Southern California and appeared on Chopped once. The rest of the cooks are all people who work in the edible industry and/or do private cheffing on the side.
Do the people really get high during the filming of this show?
Yes, and many of the judges make references to showing up to the taping already high. Each episode has a “THC timeout” after the judges sample the dishes so that they can let the cannabis do its thing. And the last shot of each installment is a message that reads: “All of the cannabis cuisine featured in this program was intended for medicinal purposes only, and was prescribed, prepared, and consumed in accordance with local laws. However, all the individuals who consumed the medicated cuisine suddenly got the urge to chill and watch TV.”
Does the show teach you a lot about cooking with weed?
No, not really. Although every episode features an educational interlude from comedian/actor/juggler/cannabis scholar Ngaio Bealum — who arguably steals the show with his colorful descriptions of each weed varietal — the chefs don’t impart much information about how to mask the flavor of of marijuana or incorporate its essence into the dishes. The one tip that gets repeated over and over again is the very necessarily step of heating up the cannabis in oil — a process known as “decarbing” — to activate the THC. But anyone who’s made pot brownies before knows about that.
Okay, so who is the target audience for this show?
Full-blown potheads, college stoners, and teenagers who are just starting to experiment with marijuana will likely dig the in-your-face smoke jokes and party vibes of Cooking on High. For everyone else, it’s a hard pass. Netflix does, however, has a lot of other good culinary series that are worth your time, including a few shows that are actually funny, too.
• Cooking on High [Netflix]
• All Food TV Coverage [E]