We’ve gathered at The Doctor’s House, in front of the Rumsford Style, salt-glazed tile fireplace to share stories and learn. Everyone’s background is a little different. Some come from health care – their employers don’t know this is what they do on the weekends and if it’s okay they’d like to be left out of any pictures. Some work “in the industry,” but it’s just a day job to support their art. A few of us are newly curious and a few of us are old pros who know what Bill Stewart has to offer. We’ve come to his house to learn the secrets of cannabis infusion from a humble master.
Giving it all away
“I just love sharing all my little kitchen tips and tricks with folks.”
Bill has little interest in proprietary information. He’s one of the rare people in cannabis who isn’t thinking first about protecting his IP. If you find Bill at a party or trade show handing out his Portland-famous Half Baked Labs caramels he’s most likely handing out the recipe, too.
Recently Bill launched a series of classes through his bud and breakfast, The Doctor’s House, aimed at demystifying the infusion process for people looking to expand their cannabis cooking knowledge. Today we’re learning everything we need to prepare the perfect date night meal: a cocktail, a compound butter, and a chocolate cake. Everything is designed to be low-dose, so that at the end of the night diners are feeling just the right amount of elevated, rather than ready for a 14-hour sleep.
Standing around the fireplace, Bill has us introduce ourselves then begins the lesson. He wants us to know that we all have the ability to make amazing treats. It isn’t just a business for Bill; it’s a priority for him that people have the power to heal themselves:
Helping people help themselves
“Probably the most important reason [for the class] is that edibles are now unavailable at an effective dosage for many people, and the quality of the few items currently available is often not very good. Cooking with cannabis requires just a few basic skills, and home cooks can make very tasty and effective goodies at home with a little knowledge and practice. And they can also learn a lot that will help them recognize and purchase high quality edibles at the dispensary.”
Our group moves into the dining room to break chocolate with our hands for the lava cake. We talk a little more about what brought each of us first to Oregon, then to this class. In the kitchen Bill adds fresh herbs to the compound butter and the smell of thyme, rosemary, and garlic combines with molten cocoa and roasted cannabis.
While he cooks, the teachings continue, from Bill and everyone else in the kitchen. Because the group is so diverse, the conversation is as lively as it is enlightening. We discus the benefits of clarified butter over regular, and why olive oil or coconut oil is preferred in certain recipes. One of our new friends makes cannabis tea. One makes suppositories. Another thinks maybe she’d like to try a career in weed, but is sticking to the pharmaceutical industry for the time being. She won’t partake in case she has to pass a drug test. She’s just here to learn and maybe meet some new people.
A party for everyone
This atmosphere is no accident. The intention is for everyone to feel comfortable. “It’s a party!” Bill declares. “Kind of like a more laid back Sur la Table class at somebody’s home, with plenty of treats to taste, yummy things to take home and enjoy, and, yeah, somebody usually passing the vape pen around.”
A party indeed, but what Half Baked Labs at The Doctor’s House provides is more than just a good time. It’s more, too, than knowledge, though anyone attending will leave with enough of that to feed a village. What Bill has created is a space for people to come together and learn. To sit with friends and expand our understanding of cooking, the cannabis plant, and each other.