Saturday 17 March 2018

'I spent the last four years cooking with cannabis for Hollywood elite' - Irish chef on working in LA

Aine McAteer is a chef to Hollywood's elite.
Aine McAteer is a chef to Hollywood's elite.
Geraldine Gittens

Geraldine Gittens

An Irish chef who works as a private chef to rock stars and celebrities in the US has spent the last four years cooking with cannabis.

Aine McAteer has had a glittering career as a private chef to Hollywood stars like Nicole Kidman, Tom Cruise, John Cusack and Simpsons creator Matt Groening in the past.

Her most recent role however, was as a private chef to another famous client whose wife was using cannabis to treat a health condition.

Since 1996, the use of medical marijuana for qualified patients has been legal. Next January, full legalisation of cannabis is set to arrive in the Golden State.

“One of my clients was actually treating a health condition with medical marijuana. As a personal chef I always look to challenge myself, and I always love when I get a client and they have interesting demands, it excites me, because it keeps me learning and keeps things fresh,” she told

“So I took it on board to try and integrate the marijuana into my cooking. She [the client] had a doctor’s prescription for it so it was THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol). In Ireland THC is not legalised so they’re working a lot with the CBDs (Cannabidiol) which is the non-psychoactive component of the plant.”

“I spent about three and a half years exploring how to integrate it into my foods. I’d make all kinds of interesting butters and infused oils. When we were in Hawaii, my clients had a house over there, we grew the plant and our neighbours had bees so I infused honeys, and I think she found it a lot more beneficial to be taking it that way rather than smoking it.”

McAteer, from Kildallan, Co Cavan, is popular among Hollywood clientele, since her focus is on “improving people’s health with food in a very delicious way”.

“At this stage, with my cooking I have a strong intuitive sense of how things taste. After cooking for so long you develop that ability to be able to use other sense to really get a feel for how the food is tasting. And of course feedback from my clients.”

“[My client] loved it. She felt that she was really benefiting from consuming the cannabis that way.”

“Very recently cannabis has been legalised in California and everyone has been pushing me to get on board and write a cookbook, but I’ve just been procrastinating about doing it because I’ve been busy with my clients.”

Aine's cooking is predominantly based on a macrobiotic diet, which is low-fat and high fibre and involves cooking with whole grains and vegetables.

She is currently back home in Ireland and now she’s wants to spread the message here about the benefits of hemp, the non-psychoactive part of the cannabis plant.

“The non-psychoactive CBD oils are sold all around Ireland in health stores. And there’s a farmer in Ireland Marcus McCabe who’s making this wonderful fresh hemp juice…. So he’s selling the fresh juice which has amazing health properties.”

 “My whole journey with food has about encouraging people to eat better, improving people’s health with food. I cook for the superstars, the icons, but also I’m really excited to get opportunities where I can share this with more people, doing events like this in Dublin.”

On November 4, Aine and her niece Ffion Thomas are hosting a “hemp day” at the Fumbally Stables in Dublin.

The event menu, by Aine, will showcase creations with CBD oils and organic hemp juice from Kama Hemp.

“The food that I’m presenting at this event - of course I’m going to be really showcasing CBD oils. There’s a company called Kama Hemp in Clones, Monaghan who make a wonderful hemp juice from the fresh plant.  It has wonderful health properties and I’m excited to feature it on our menu at the Fumbally.  Kate and Marcus from Kama Hemp will be joining us at the event to share all their knowledge on the plant and it’s many uses.”

“I came here and I’m getting a sense that it is in its infancy but I’m there is a lot of awareness around the benefits of hemp. I’m excited to explore that a little bit more.”

For more information on Hemp Day, email, or see here

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