[dropcap class=”kp-dropcap”]A[/dropcap]s the edibles industry grows and changes, the bar gets pushed higher and higher. It’s not good enough anymore just to bake some brownies that do the job but still taste like raw cannabis. Culinary crafting is an art, and especially if cannabis is involved. Mindy Segal, owner and consulting chef of Mindy’s Artisanal Edibles, is one of the creators who is driving the industry forward.
One of the reasons Segal is such a force to be reckoned with isn’t just because she comes from a cannabis baking background. She’s an experienced pastry chef who is known for her famous non-infused goodies as well as her edibles.
“I’ve been baking for 35 years,” she told CULTURE. “I discovered when I was young that I had a knack and decided to pursue my passion as a career. I worked really hard to find my place in the culinary world and was celebrated for my accomplishments with the James Beard Foundation Award in 2012. I’ve always been an advocate for cannabis for its medicinal properties and for adult use for lifestyle purposes. I see it as an extension of the hospitality I provide in my restaurant now. When Cresco approached me, I knew I wanted to take a stand.”
Segal now works with Cresco Labs, a cannabis company based in Chicago, Illinois, where she was already established as a baker and well-known pastry chef. Her portfolio of cannabis products represents top-of-the-line products for all types of consumers, so it’s a big deal that Mindy’s Artisanal Edibles is representing the best of the best in Chicago.
Her line of artisanal edibles is based on products that originated without cannabis. They are inspired by desserts featured on the menu of her Chicago-based restaurant, Mindy’s HotChocolate, or they come from her cookbook, Cookie Love: More Than 60 Recipes and Techniques for Turning the Ordinary Into the Extraordinary. She bakes using locally available and seasonal ingredients, and then adds clear distillate from Cresco’s in-house lab, allowing for incredible taste and a focus on the ingredients.
“They are developed through the eyes of a pastry chef, which means they are ingredient-driven from the flavor to the chocolate and produced in a way that keeps the customer’s experience top of mind. I just want to make people happy.”
“They are developed through the eyes of a pastry chef, which means they are ingredient-driven from the flavor to the chocolate and produced in a way that keeps the customer’s experience top of mind. I just want to make people happy,” she said.
Some brands fail because they focus on either only the cannabis or only the culinary content, leading to edibles that either work well or taste great, but not both. Because Segal is such a talented and experienced chef who has access to extremely clean concentrate, Mindy’s Artisanal Edibles is able to do both.
“I think excellence should be an important feature of any product that sits on the shelf,” she continued. “Cannabis edibles have a reputation of being overly potent and providing a bad experience. I believe we can do better. We have an attention to detail and focus on flavor and consistency as the main element of our product line.”
Segal has already experienced a lot of success with her product, but there are even bigger things in store for her company and Cresco Labs in general, with the dawning of cannabis legalization in Illinois. When that happens, Chicago will become another cannabis mecca.
“We’re looking forward to lots of growth on the horizon, including legalization in our home state of Illinois,” she added. “We can’t wait to become hometown heroes. We’ll also be expanding the brand into California and Massachusetts in the next few months.”
In addition to having her eyes on the prize as far as local cannabis commerce is concerned, Mindy’s Artisanal Edibles is set on expanding nationwide and reaching an even bigger audience.
“I’d like to be on a beach in Fiji!” She laughed. “Just kidding; I’d like to see Mindy’s Edibles as a national brand leading the industry with the best tasting edibles and made available to all adults who want to partake.”
As far as words of wisdom for other business owners, her advice is simple. “In running any type of successful business, I think compassion and culture are essential factors as well as setting a clear vision for the future and supporting the folks that help to bring it to life,” she said.
Already reaching a high level of sure success, Segal’s journey of bringing award-winning artisanal cannabis confections to the masses is just the beginning.