Women in Weed

March 20, 2024

Nikki Steward

Celebrity Weed Chef

Culinary entertainment figure and founder of High End Affair, Chef Nikki Steward surprisingly didn’t begin her professional career as a chef. Her passion for cooking started when she was a child, mesmerized by her grandmother’s home cooking. Not many people she knew were lucky enough to enjoy meals cooked with such love. As she grew, she started to help her grandmother more and more preparing meals. Eventually, Nikki took over all the cooking, except for the poundcake-that was always grandma’s to make. When the time came for her grandmother to prepare her last poundcake, her famous pan was passed on to Nikki and it still sits in her cabinet to this day. Her grandmother passed recently, but Nikki is keeping her spirit alive with her culinary expertise.

A path other than weed

While Nikki’s career techincally started in her grandma’s kitchen, the road to get there was a little windy. Nikki’s parents always encouraged her passion for cooking, but they wanted a more stable career for her. Honoring her parents wishes, Steward attended and graduated Ohio State, majoring in pharmacy. While enrolled in school, she began making and selling alcohol-infused cheesecakes out of her dorm room. Not only a way to make some much needed extra cash as a college kid on her own, it kept her passion for cooking alive. After she graduated, she went on to work in the pharmacy field for the next several years. Eventually, she grew unhappy in her job with no creative outlet and contained in such a small space. She felt she had more to give than to count pills all day and wanted something more rewarding. It was then she decided to dive head first into a culinary career.

Finding her niche

After already putting herself through one college residency, Steward made the decision to make a name for herself without additional schooling or degree. Instead, she put herself through immersive training with James Beard Award recipient and Michelin-Star chefs from Thailand, Central America, Europe, and the United States. This style of education allowed her to learn first-hand a variety of cooking styles and techniques, as well as exposure to native ingredients she may not have had before. She honed her skills by working her way from the very bottom of the industry to the top, to understand what each position entailed. This would not only allow her to see that every position has an integral role in overall operations, but it showed her she did not want to work creating someone else’s concepts-she wanted to create her own. The pay difference was a factor as well, as some under chefs make as little as minimum wage, and she knew she wanted more. She began hosting dinner parties for her friends and former sorority sisters. After a few dinners, someone asked her to cater an event. This is the catapult into the flourishing career she has today. After enduring grueling 16-hour work days, she decided to find her niche in the industry and make it her own. Enter cannabis infusion. In 2017, she hosted her first large scale weed dinner party for Snoop Dogg. Since then, she has gone on to cook for Dave Chapelle, DJ Khalid, and more. To this day, her most requested dish is her infused Mac and cheese.

Her background in science has helped her create such unique and amazing food, comparing it to chemistry and more complex than molecular gastronomy. Steward has consulted with doctors, scientists, cultivators, and processors to come up with the most perfectly balanced products that imbibe food with cannabis, without overpowering flavors.

Chef Nikki hopes that her work will help create a sense of normalcy with weed cuisine. Her infusion interests go beyond cannabis, too. Just mention psilocybin and you can see her eyes light up. She is a firm believer that the mushroom wave is the next to come. On thing is for sure, we are all here watching her continue to take her industry by storm.