Scottsdale chef teaching medical marijuana cooking classes

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By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- He’s a big-name chef here in the Valley, and now Payton Curry of the popular Brat Haus in Scottsdale is offering up cooking classes of sorts.

We caught up with him in a friend’s kitchen simmering one of his recipes on the small stove.

"Some people will use pork fat, some use butter," he explained. "You just reduce it like you would chicken stock to make a really good consommé."

Curry isn’t talking about something on one of his menus or even his favorite dish; he’s talking about pot -- and not the one he is cooking in.

"If you don't have your card, you don't get it," he said.

Curry has a medical marijuana card to treat his anxiety and depression. So why is Curry, who was trained at the Culinary Institute of America in New York, taking his top chef skills and applying them to marijuana extracts?

“Because I can do it with precision," he said. “I can help Anthony figure out a proper ratio of weights to fat to figure out for his body weight, height, metabolism.”

Curry has been spending his off time teaching others like Anthony Hernandez, who has neuropathy and is partially paralyzed, how best to prepare edible marijuana.

"This is doing it in someone's home with math and procedures and ratios," Curry said. "There's, do you want a tea, a juice drink?”

Hernandez said pot has helped him get off five prescription drugs and get out of a wheelchair.

"To be able to enjoy my life and not be feeling like a zombie," the 27-year-old added.

When asked whether he is worried about putting his successful restaurant business at risk by being an advocate for medical marijuana, Curry said, “I am not worried about making people healthy. I know that it worked for me, and for me to be able to stop drinking."

He says medical marijuana helped turn his life around, and now that marijuana extracts have been legal in Arizona since March, he can legally teach others how best to prepare them.

He said he's been inundated with requests.

"Churches, lawyers, police officers, a fire marshal," he said, naming some of his clients.

Experts like holistic practitioner Sarara Corva say education, like Curry’s classes, is key when it comes to edible medical marijuana use.

"You can overdo it," she said. "You can make something that's so strong that you wouldn't want to feel the effects of that. It makes you feel really weird and really bad and really uncomfortable."

Curry added, "I want the medicinal properites of this. I don't want to get stoned out of my mind and eat Cheetos with peanut butter and listen to the Grateful Dead.”