Selena + Chef is in season 4 on HBO Max, where the pop star and makeup maven learns to cook a variety of dishes from professional chefs.
During episode 2, which is co-hosted by Top Chef winner chef Kristen Kish, viewers were caught by surprise when Kish whips out a gravity bong and smoker attachment to infuse some greek yogurt for a Mexican corn-inspired dish.
As a cannabis editor, I knew instantly what type of smoking apparatus was on display: The Stündenglass is an iconic water bong that uses gravity to create voluminous clouds of smoke.
Still, I had never seen it used for anything other than smoking cannabis. Was I really about to see Selena Gomez grab some nugs and infuse her greek yogurt with weed?
Instead, the burgeoning cook used the device to burn wood chips with a tray cloche attachment to add smokiness and depth to the Greek yogurt. Then, Kish had Gomez spread the yogurt over a flat plate in a thin layer to maximize the ingredient’s exposure to the smoke.
The end result? A golden-brown and almost meringue-like texture.
Call me hopeful, but there were some knowing glances and giggles as Chef Kish introduced the Stündenglass set-up. While they never speak a word about Mary Jane, Gomez’s eyes lit up with glee as she spun the device, allowing gravity and water to percolate and dispense smoke.
“It’s a $600 water bong, is what it is,” jokes Chef Kish in response to Gomez’s amusement, reading between the lines. (Technically, it’s a $600 bong and a $200 dome attachment.)
This isn’t the first time Gomez has smiled over cannabis references, she shared with Jimmy Kimmel Live about the first time she learned how to use a bong. In 2012, during her press tour for Spring Breakers, Gomez laughed about needing the cast and crew needed to teach her how to use a bong for her role in the movie.
Stündenglass’ star-studded collabs aren’t the brand’s only claim to fame
A viral 2018 clip of Seth Rogan is still the first thing that comes to mind when I think of Stündenglass. Since then, the brand has launched multiple celebrity collaborations, including Taylor Gang designed with Wiz Khalifa, Dr. Greenthumb with B-Real of Cypress Hill, and a Cookies edition created with rapper and entrepreneur Berner.
In addition to partnering with famous artists and brands, Stündenglass has made a name for itself within the culinary community: The multi-faceted device is used by professionals and everyday folks to create “next-level recipes by adding our signature rich smoky flavour to their favourite dishes and drinks, says Chris Folkerts, CEO of Grenco Science in an email interview with Leafly.
“Stündenglass’ versatility allows us to introduce it to a wide audience. We are lucky to have a product that appeals to not just cannabis consumers but also aficionados of cocktails and cuisine,” explains Folkerts.
Smoke infusions aren’t the same as edibles
Typically, a cannabis “infusion” refers to the addition of cannabinoids like CBD and THC to a dish to create edibles. The infamous pot brownie is an excellent example of this, where cannabutter or another conduit is used to create a certain effect.
“Stündenglass does not create edibles but elevates food and drinks from ordinary to extraordinary.”Chris Folkerts, CEO of Grenco Science.
Using smoke to infuse food, however, is an adventure for the senses—not just a way to get high. There is no doubt about it: Stündenglasss provides a gastronomic spectacle. While the price tag is high, so is the quality of experience.
On top of the visual entertainment the bong intrinsically provides, gravity infusers are also explorative tools for connoisseurs who appreciate quality aromas, flavours, and creative experiences of all kinds.
“It excites all the senses,” shares Folkerts. “Watching the smoke pull in, hearing it bubble, the smell of the wood chips firing, and the taste of a smoke-infused food or beverage. It’s an experience that people like to share both in real life and on social media. The incredible feedback from consumers, chefs and mixologists motivate us to continue innovating for the market.”
We asked a weed-inspired chef how to make infusions with actual cannabis smoke
As a self-proclaimed professional pothead, I wasn’t particularly keen on using wood chips to smoke Greek yogurt, or any food for that matter, when I could be using cannabis.
Since the folks at Stündenglass were understandably unable to tell me how to make this dish with actual weed, I tagged in culinary cannabis expert Chef Jordan Wagman to understand the nuances of smoke infusions.
What strain is best for infusing yogurt? Why would someone use smoke instead of oils or butter? Are there any particular foods that are begging to be smoked? Is it a waste of perfectly good weed smoke to marinate food?
“In my experience, smoking is adding flavour and aroma complexity, [the dish] wouldn’t necessarily be ‘infused’, per se,” Chef Jordan Wagman, director KIND media and events told Leafly.
“In one of my dinners, which can be 10-15 courses, aroma and flavour are often enough. Not every course in an infused experience needs to be intoxicating or have cannabis at all.”
Chef Wagman explains that regardless of whether you use aromatic herbs, cannabis, or other ingredients, it all comes down to the sensory experience when using smokers. Strains don’t particularly matter as the smoke is infusing aromas and flavours, not cannabinoids.
“I wouldn’t recommend a strain, but I would want to highlight the acidity of yogurt and pair it with something very high in citrus (limonene),” he says.
As for the best ingredients to use in a smoker?
Chef Wagman suggests, “The best items to smoke are those that are porous. For example, an apple with skins wouldn’t be a great candidate but the moment you peel the apple, exposing the flesh, it becomes the perfect fruit to smoke. Carrots should be blanched in boiling water, creating pours, before smoking. Cheese and meats are also high up on my list of foods that I love to smoke.”