By JR Valrey, The People’s Minister of Information
Reggae musicians have long and rightfully claimed that marijuana was for the healing of the nation; and as we are in the grips of a supposed pandemic, academic researchers have disclosed that they are researching the anti-inflammatory properties of the terpenes in the herb, to see if it could play a bigger role in the fight against Covid. Elijah Muhammad taught us, when he taught the Nation of Islam, that we need to “eat to live” and not just live to eat. After the passage of Prop 215, in California in 1996, marijuana began to become decriminalized all across the nation, and more research dollars went into studying the endo-cannabinoid system in the human body, which actually contains receptors uniquely designed for the herb to be directly utilized.
Master Chef Shawn “Lionface” Brewer is making a name for himself in the cannabis world, for preparing exquisite cultural dishes doused with THC and other cannabinoids. After suffering the loss of a son, early on during the pandemic, Master Chef Lionface has picked up the pieces of his life, and melted them into a golden career trek, in a burgeoning industry.
Make a note to check out this man’s food, which comes medicated and non-medicated, when you want a fine cannabis-doused-cultural experience on your taste buds. The future is here, and Master Chef Shawn “Lionface” Brewer is one of the innovators that will finally help us to recognize, like Dorothy and Toto in the classic movie, “The Wiz”, “we aren’t in Kansas anymore”. Check out Master Chef Shawn “Lionface” Brewer, as he gives us some of the history behind his cuisines.
JR Valrey: When did you know you had a passion for cooking?
Chef Shawn “Lionface” Brewer: I have always had a passion for food and cooking. My mom and Pop showed me how to cook when I was younger to survive, in case nobody else cooked for me. I would like to shout out the staff at Laney College in Oakland: Chef Jackson, Chef Martin, Chef Beverly and Chef Raji, and my daughter Wisdom-Aye, Chef Beverly called me “season hands” for my food, and Chef Raji pushed me to go to Master Chef.
JR Valrey: Who or what inspired you to become a chef?
Chef Shawn “Lionface” Brewer: Food and family. Too many of our people are and were dying from preserved food. I just want to cook healthier. As a people, we should want to eat to live.
JR Valrey: What made you become a cannabis chef?
Chef Shawn “Lionface” Brewer: I am a global chef, so I cook food from different regions of the world. As a patient and advocate, I started to infuse my food with cannabis in Berkeley back in the day, about 1994. We were making brownies, weed cakes, weed butter, and all that. Also I work with a company named MannaWell. I use all of their products: cannabis sugar, cannabis flower, cannabis rubs and seasonings for stews, cannabis olive oil and etcetera. We are in the process of working on my own line of seasoning, and products, as well. MannaWell put me on, as their executive chef. I was a vendor, selling food at the New Parish in Oakland and met a guy named Cheiss, who linked me with Mama K and Papa Doc, and that’s all she wrote.
JR Valrey: And what are some of your most popular dishes?
Chef Shawn “Lionface” Brewer: My most popular dishes are our infused jerk chicken with mango and pineapple chutney, and my tasty cannabis infused pepper shrimp with basil canna-butter. I also serve a delectable shrimp and scallop-etouffee, drizzled with cannabis olive oil, oh and my medicated chicken wings of every flavor.
JR Valrey: What kind of cuisine do you specialize in? Which cuisines go the best with cannabis infusions?
Chef Shawn “Lionface” Brewer: Since I am a global chef, I like to think outside the box. However, I mostly cook or specialize in what I call Afribbean cuisine; which includes dishes from the continent of Africa as well as the whole Caribbean; African Diasporic-type of cuisines.
Cuisines that go best with cannabis are those most fatty foods and those that use a lot of oils, and good fats. Good oils go great with cannabis; meats, and dairy are good alternatives. One wants to make sure to consult a physician or bud tender about the ingestion of cannabis, to know the dosage, as well as cholesterol levels, etc. Cannabis is the healing of the nation. Use it with caution and care. There are levels to this game, bruh.
JR Valrey: How do you measure the THC content of a particular dish?
Chef Shawn “Lionface” Brewer: When I am cooking with cannabis, I measure depending on the clients specific medicinal needs. However, I would start with 5 to 10 mg per appetizer. I would do 15 mg for a full entrée. We would also use terpenes to boost the flavor of salads, desserts, and some soups. Terps or Terpenes are the flavors you taste, in cannabis, when you consume. We also use some cannabis distillate.
JR Valrey: Can you talk a little bit about what exactly you will be cooking at a private party, in southern California, next month?
Chef Shawn “Lionface” Brewer: I will be in Malibu, making an array of delectable tapas; from Spanish Tapas to Caribbean Taps, as well as some classic American favorites such as sliders, Kennebec fries, chicken wings of every flavor, and my specialties, charcuterie and fruits.
JR Valrey: How has COVID affected your business?
Chef Shawn “Lionface” Brewer: I was affected by Covid before anybody knew what Covid was in late 2019 around November. My second set of twins had RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) , my son Zeus passed away from RSV. His twin survived. My first set of twins caught an Upper Acute Respiratory illness. I want to shout out my fiancé Rakail for going through that traumatic experience with me, and facing it to this day. I also wanna shout out my children: ObaeJah, Wisdom-Aye, Pharoah Zane, ZahRa Knowledge, Emperor Zeus, and Zen Mecca and all my family who have supported me along this journey, called life.
JR Valrey: Be it that you are one of few cannabis chefs in the nation, what kinds of gigs do you get booked for?
Chef Shawn “Lionface” Brewer: Right now I am the Executive Chef for “MannaWell”, and my own company “The Pine and Ginger Kitchen”. We do parties, public and private events, and just regular catering and meal prep projects. We are looking to partner with some dispensaries from coast to coast, for pop-ups. I’m open. Contact me on Instagram @Lionfacedacheff or Dreadstartvlive. I really appreciate the love and support.
JR Valrey: How can people keep up with you online?
Chef Shawn “Lionface” Brewer: People can log into Snapchat, or Instagram, and hit up @lionfacedacheff or Dreadstartvlive, or MannaWell on Instagram. And look out for the ‘Prescription Eats’ website in February. I’ll keep you posted. I want to take this time out to thank you, JR, for this interview. I really appreciate it. I love your platform. I love what you’re doing, man. Keep it up. Thank you. JAH BLESS.