Single mom working with Cannabis wants to break down taboo
I'm a single mom cooking with THC for a living. It's allowed me to have more time with my daughter and break down the taboo of cannabis.
When I was 21 years old, studying at Berklee College of Music in Boston, I found out I was pregnant. It was a total surprise. Even though I loved kids, I wasn't sure I would ever have ones of my own. My dream was to become a touring background singer, and a child just didn't fit into that lifestyle.
When I knew my little girl was growing inside me, I had this gut feeling I was meant to be her mom, even if it meant a change of plans.
Soon after my daughter was born, her father and I split up, and I had to think about what career path I could go down that was child-friendly. Cooking was something I had always been obsessed with, and I'd seen a lot of chefs whose kids had grown up in their bakeries and restaurants. I decided that once she was a little older, I would go to culinary school to combine my love of cooking and family.
I went to culinary school to have the flexibility to be around my daughter
When my daughter was 18 months old, I started an accelerated culinary course at the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts. In a little less than two years I graduated and started working at some of the best restaurants in Boston.
Being a woman in the industry at that time was incredibly unusual, and I had to prove myself in a world of men, starting at the "bottom" as a pastry prep cook.
For four years I worked incredibly long hours and missed out on so much time with my little girl. The whole reason I'd decided to go into this career was to be able to both work and see my child, so something had to change.
In 2015, I quit my job and decided I would open my own bakery. It was what I had always imagined: my daughter pottering at the bakery while I made macarons and wedding cakes.
The business did really well. I became well known for my French macarons and even won some awards.
As the business continued to succeed, I was working up to 15 hours a day, seven days a week, to keep up with demand. I was losing sight of why I had gone into this in the first place: to have food and family.
When my family moved to Maine in 2018, I decided to close the bakery, and start a food cart. Instead of owning a building, I rented kitchen space to bake and decorate during the week and then popped up and sold my macarons at breweries or local spaces on weekends. I was crazy busy and would sell out nearly every weekend.
I'd thought that having a food cart would be easier than owning the bakery, but it wasn't. I had to source, bake, package, advertise, and sell everything myself. It was a one-woman show.
I wanted to show my daughter what it looked like to hustle and what she could achieve if she worked hard, but I wanted my quality of life back. She was getting older, and I didn't want to miss out.
I started making cannabis-infused products
When the pandemic hit, there was nowhere open to pop up with my food cart, and the choice of quitting was taken out of my hands. Around the same time, Pot + Pan, a Maine-based producer of handmade cannabis-infused edibles, approached me to become a baker.
Cannabis boomed in Maine after it was legalized for recreational use, but it still has a stigma attached to it. I wanted to be part of breaking the taboo while continuing to bake, so I took the job. I'm now baking all my delicious foods, but with THC infused in them.
Over the past couple of years I've given different mom friends of mine my products and told them to save them for a rainy day, if they're having a tough time sleeping, or if they're just having a hard time. At first they're embarrassed about accepting them, but then they come back and tell me they can't believe they waited so long to try them.
Working this job has given me so much more time with my daughter. I go to our facility five times a week for eight hours a day, and I get to see her in the evenings and on weekends.
It's also brought up a lot of conversations with my daughter, who's now 14. I'm open and honest with her about what I do and always answer any questions she has. All the products are very clearly labeled and put out of her sight.
Even though she never tastes the final product, she still gets the joy of being my taste tester, because I always make products without cannabis first. I like getting her stamp of approval.