The Tragic Reason A Celebrity Chef Developed Cannabis Mac And Cheese

The once-revered celebrity chef, Todd English, sabotaged his career in 2014 with a series of unfortunate career missteps. Sordid photos of a boozed-up English were published by Page Six that year, and he was later arrested for drunk driving. In addition, English faced accusations of sexual harassment and reports of general poor conduct from coworkers, ultimately sullying his persona.

According to his bio, English was on a winning trajectory after being awarded "National Rising Star Chef" in 1991. He later landed his own a show on PBS, "Food Trip with Todd English." With an international reach spanning from New York to Disney World, across the Atlantic aboard the Queen Mary 2 to Abu Dhabi and the Philippines, English's restaurants and food halls were a bonafide dream destination for foodies.

Questions circulated in 2014 about whether the negative press would affect English's professional ventures. Recent reports of new businesses suggest that English's brand hasn't suffered still, despite English having disappeared from the limelight. Earlier this year, English opened his first boutique hotel, "The English Hotel," in Las Vegas and has a new joint venture with Keith Burkard called, The English Hospitality Group (EHG), which plans to open another food hall in Stamford, Connecticut. English has also made a foray into the cannabis business, and the reason why is surprisingly heartbreaking.

Todd English's medicinal mac 'n cheese

In an interview with ABC, English revealed his newest venture, cannabis mac and cheese. While English's sister Wendy underwent chemotherapy for breast cancer over a decade ago, English began using cannabis oil in lemon tarts to ease her pain. Unfortunately, Wendy died from cancer, but the cannabis-infused dishes helped her with the chronic pain and chemotherapy-induced nausea she felt post-treatment.

With cannabis becoming legal across the states, English and Keith Burkard are joining the list of celebrities getting into the cannabis business by launching Last Leaf, a cannabis-infused food line. Currently, the brand features two products; pasta shells with white cheddar and classic yellow cheddar mac and cheese with elbow macaroni. The company plans on adding pasta sauces, rubs, and olive oil in the future (via KRMG).

The line is currently only available in California, but as of June 2022, 38 states and a few territories have legalized recreational marijuana, so the team hopes to expand into the relatively unchartered territory of for-sale cannabis products by restauranteurs. Chef Nikki Steward has catered cannabis-infused dishes for celebrities since 2017; however, the stars in the cannabis industry are primarily musicians, with actors a close second. It would seem like a natural fit for chefs to get in the game, but those like Martha Stewart stop short of marijuana by producing CBD products. It looks like English may have found a new niche.