Melissa Parks 3Our friend and colleague, Chef Melissa Parks, will be a distinguished presenter at the “Marketing and Manufacture of Colorado’s Controversial Food Ingredient: Marijuana” session of the Research Chefs Association (RCA) 2016 Annual Conference & Culinology® Expo in Denver this week.

“These types of events are a way to showcase the versatility of a plant that has been reintroduced into our society,” Chef Parks said.

“This session will be mostly driven by audience questions, but I will be focusing on the interactions that take place when cooking with cannabis. Anything from the way spices and extracted oils can benefit a medical client’s needs, to the way the terpenes come out in dishes like seared salmon topped with a medicated blood orange buerre blanc. The many uses and benefits of cannabis will be broken down, and explained in a manner that is both approachable and new.”

Melissa is a classically trained chef who has been cooking and baking professionally since 1998. She was an early entrant in the development of marijuana-infused edible products and is an industry authority on a wide range of topics, including culinary cannabis-specific consulting, product development and kitchen build-out.

Melissa has been featured in several on-line and print publications including The New York Times and the Star Tribune. She also co-authored Herb: Mastering the Art of Cooking with Cannabis and The Stoner’s Cookbook.

Melissa attended Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts and Johnson & Wales University for degrees in culinary arts, baking, pastry and culinary nutrition. She has served as culinary specialist for General Mills, and culinary consultant for NHII cannabis edibles as well as Bakked Premium Medicated Products. Her ancillary experience is in wedding cake design, Mediterranean and Italian cooking, menu consulting and private chef services.

RCA is the premier source of culinary and technical information for the food industry, with a professionally diverse membership including chefs, food scientists and other industry professionals who are shaping the future of food research and development. RCA is a forward-thinking, vibrant, energized organization whose members benefit by being part of a dynamic community of food professionals who work toward a common goal: to define the future of food.