Chef Spotlight: Cody L. (thewellnesssoldier)
The very thing that ended his military career brought Cody Lindsay back to it in a powerful way. After getting kicked out of the Canadian Navy for using cannabis, he started sharing his knowledge of cooking with cannabis, which was prescribed to help with physical pain and symptoms of PTSD. It has turned into a passion for helping vets achieve wellness in a natural way through infusing cannabis into cooking. He sat down with Dalstrong to talk about why eating cannabis is different from smoking it, cooking for famous rappers, and turning tragedy into redemption.
You have a unique brand as a cannabis cook. What inspired this path?
It’s the combination of two loves: cannabis and cooking. I got kicked out of the military for using cannabis. The stigma of that loss stayed with me for a long time. When you feel like a loser, coming out on top feels pretty good. The people who were against me then are on my side now. We host a veterans dinner every year in Victoria, which is funded by other cannabis companies. My bosses who weren’t on my side when my career ended came to the dinner to learn about it. For them to see what I’ve done is redeeming. It’s so gratifying to have my two worlds of the military and cannabis, my favorite worlds, come together.
What does it mean to be a wellness soldier?
It came out of a need to help veterans. We can get cost coverage for medical cannabis, which is a helpful treatment for veterans experiencing physical pain and PTSD. Then they ask the question of how to use it. I got relief from the Canadian Armed Forces after my tour to alleviate my operational stress injuries. Ultimately, I lost my career and then found out years later that cannabis cost coverage for Canadian veterans was possible. I remember thinking “this can’t be real.” I looked around and found the policy, and if you get a prescription you can get coverage. And then I started helping other Canadian veterans around wellness and got inspired to learn how to cook with it. It’s cool to combine the vet community, the cannabis community, and the culinary world. I started it for vets, but it’s universal. Anybody can use it. It’s fun going around to different cannabis groups and expos. I’m working with the Canadian and American Culinary Federation to try to teach chefs how to use it.
So you cook a lot with cannabis. Are you high all the time?
No, the two methods are quite different. Eating it is not like smoking it. When you inhale it into your lungs, it gets to your bloodstream immediately. But when you eat it, it goes through your stomach and intestines, then it’s pushed through the liver to get into the bloodstream. So it lasts longer. When you smoke it, you get a psychoactive head high. When you eat it, it’s a nice, calm feeling throughout your body. It’s quite therapeutic.
Editor’s note: Cannabis affects everyone differently. We have some stories to prove it.
Do you have a favorite new recipe discovery or way of cooking with cannabis?
The best way to incorporate it into food is through an infusion. It’s best to mix it into fat: oil, butter, or heavy cream. You can also use honey and syrup. It’s ideal to create a medium first, then use that in the recipe. On our YouTube channel, we start with the basics of infusing then get into recipes. We saw that the excitement wasn't there for the recipes, rather the infusions. It’s a lot more about the educational side of extraction.
When you’re not dreaming up new cannabis creations, where are you?
I try to live the moniker of the wellness soldier. I work out in the gym a lot. (It’s where I am now!) A lot of my time is spent on cannabis exploration and education. I have a wife and kids, and I’ve built my life around them. They’re my everything. For fun, I play with cannabis.
Can you use any type of cannabis for cooking?
Certain strains are better for cooking. I like to go for the ones that have fruity, citrus flavors. As for a favorite strain for cooking, mine is Purple Kush. But there are thousands of different strains out there.
Is there a kitchen tool you can’t live without? (For instance, your Dalstrong knives…)
Ha, yes! One of the best ones is the Shogun 12” Crixus. I love everything about it and use it every day. The way it looks and cuts is awesome. I also love the Nakiri Vegetable Knife, it’s one of my go-to knives for sure. I love the leather case that comes with the Nakiri. It’s just gorgeous.
Who are your cooking heroes?
Besides the people who have trained me, my favorite is chef Michael Smith. I like him because he does a lot of education more than just reality TV. It's the education I like the most, not necessarily showing off skills or fancy techniques. There are some other ones
emerging in the cannabis space, like Jeff the 420 Chef, The Herbal Chef, and Miguel Trinidad. They’re all really cool cannabis chefs.
If you could cook a meal for one person, who would it be?
I’ve already cooked for B-Real from Cypress Hill and Wiz Khalifa when I was on Bong Appetit. (the cannabis competition show). Maybe I’d like to cook for Berner, he’s well-known in the cannabis space.
What would be your last meal?
Something cannabis infused! A 16-ounce tenderloin with a gorgonzola cream sauce. A nice red wine to go with it.
Written by Abby Slate
Abby is a born and bred Southerner who will only eat fried chicken and BBQ made by someone who says “y’all.” Her favorite knife is the Shogun Chef Knife, which she stares at lovingly almost as much as she slices with it.