For the Dread Head Chef, high quality is vital in making CBD merchandise

Photography by Jessica Turner.

The cannabis business in Texas is ironically stressful.

Legal cannabis is heavily regulated. Products require third-party testing and lab reports. On the other hand, it is difficult to find a banker and get a business loan. Cannabis cannot be promoted through social media, and building a website is more complicated because it requires a landing page with no mention of CBD or cannabis.

Michael Weinstein, aka Dread Head Chef, and his fiancée Robin Riddle liked the opportunity to enter a newly opened market. You got into business this year with longtime friend – Dallas PR expert – Lisa Oldham.

Weinstein worked for a country club and high-end restaurant, Mediterraneo, in the 1990s and then was the final chef under the original owners of The Grape.

He then started a company called Dread Head Chef that made dessert salsas. This business started when he invented a dessert for his niece who has a wheat allergy. He made corn tortilla chips dusted with sugar and cinnamon, a gluten-free version of a sopapill, and served them with a strawberry chutney that he’d whipped. Everyone said it looked like fries and salsa.

He brought these Dread Head Chef products to markets and conventions, including some related to cannabis. That inspired him to infuse his dessert salsas with CBD and a whole new business began to blossom.

“I’ve tried other edibles and a lot of them aren’t very good,” says Weinstein.

Most are made with full-spectrum CBD oil, which he says has a medicinal taste. Some people don’t realize it, but to Weinstein, it’s overwhelming.

So he started working with cannabis flowers bought from the Oak Cliff Cultivators hemp farm to make butter for salted caramel. This method gives the caramels an “earthy, grassy” taste that Weinstein prefers to the chemical taste of the oil.

The business partners have attended several cannabis conventions in Texas, where CBD is legal and marijuana is not, and in California, where recreational marijuana is legal.

They noticed that the market was flooded with gummy bears so they decided not to make these. The second most common edibles are pralines and chocolate chip cookies, Weinstein says. That’s why they chose caramel.