The Gift of Flavor

Chef Maverick creates feel-good sauces and snacks that cater to dietary restrictions.
Maverick
Courtesy Chef Maverick

Chef Maverick is as multi-talented as they come, and the titles of chef, caterer, product developer, Chopped 420 competitor, author, businessperson, brand designer, and more are all just a glimpse of explaining her skillset. From catering small- and large-scale dining events (both with cannabis-infused dishes and non-infused meals) to creating her line of infused sauces and snacks, she’s highly ambitious and strives to craft flavor-packed foods using only the best ingredients.

Maverick is a Los Angeles native who discovered her passion for food at 5 years old and has spent her life cooking for her friends and family. Instead of pursuing a culinary education in college, she attended school in Georgia and Tennessee and earned her bachelor’s degree in computer science and software engineering. During her college education, she also worked at numerous restaurants, from Red Lobster to Applebee’s and IHOP, and would experiment with cooking and recreating menu items from those businesses at home.

“I would go home and recreate certain things that I liked, that worked, or put my little twist on certain things is basically how I developed my culinary skill set,” Maverick explains.

After graduation, she spent nearly five years as a corporate sales rep. Her culinary career took off in 2015 when she moved back to Los Angeles and began building her reputation as a private chef and caterer.

Her introduction to cannabis came a few years later when she was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease and multiple sclerosis, in addition to learning that she was allergic to gluten and soy. Edibles helped her manage the symptoms of her conditions. Still, she found that the selection was limited—the cannabis industry was oversaturated with sweets, but somehow, none of them catered to her new dietary restrictions.

“I realized at the time that edibles were very popular, but a majority of the edibles that were available were mostly gummies, cookies, brownies, you know, things like that,” Maverick says. “I also didn’t see any specific gluten-free, vegan, soy-free options. And because I found out I had allergies to gluten and soy, I couldn’t really eat any of the edibles that were available at the time.”

This prompted her to develop a line of infused sauces, dubbed Mav Sauce, in 2018. At first, she developed cannabis pesto, ketchup, mustard, maple syrup, honey, and BBQ sauces, and her rise in popularity on social media prompted her to expand her sauce lineup to include new flavors including jerk BBQ sauce, Memphis sweet BBQ sauce, vegan chipotle aioli, organic maple syrup and honey, balsamic vinaigrette, sriracha ketchup, and sweet chili sauce.

Her infused sauces became so popular that she wrote a cookbook incorporating them, released in May 2023. Sauced Up! 420 Recipes Featuring Mav Sauce includes 14 recipes that offer creative ways to use her various Mav Sauces, such as adding her infused Memphis sweet BBQ sauce to smoked BBQ jackfruit enchiladas or using infused pesto in a Caprese stuffed mushrooms recipe.

Chef Maverick Catering GLAAD Event in December 2023
Photo by Chessa Mehlman, LezzChaseLight

Maverick later developed dietary-friendly infused sweets called Mav Snacks after her savory successes. These include a variety of options from rice cereal-based treats to cookies, brownies, gummies, and more that are gluten-free, soy-free, and some of which are also vegan.

According to Maverick, her fruit juice gummies are some of her bestsellers.

“Certain gummies may have two flavors; some of them have three,” Maverick says. “So it may be pineapple, watermelon, and strawberry or something like that, you know, so people love them for that, and they’re very good.”

Her vegan strawberry lemonade cookies, including a lemon-flavored cookie with strawberry jam in the center and a drizzle of strawberry lemonade icing, are also a bestseller and one of her favorites.

Not only are Maverick’s sauces and snacks packed with flavor, but she also maintains high standards when using quality ingredients.

“The thing about Mav Sauce and Mav Snacks is that they’re exclusively gluten-free, soy-free, and non-GMO. I don’t use crappy ingredients. I use mostly organic ingredients: organic butter, organic this and that, as much as I can. All my herbs are all organic because I feel like cannabis is supposed to be something used to help you feel better,” Maverick says. “But if you’re smoking trash, it’s not going to help you. If you’re ingesting stuff that is trash, it’s just gonna get you high; it’s not going to be helpful. You know? So it’s really important that the ingredients are quality for me, and when I put out a quality product, people can actually benefit from it versus like most companies, especially these edible brands, are probably in it just because it’s profitable.”

Courtesy Chef Maverick

Many of Maverick’s long-standing customers are medical patients suffering from a variety of conditions, such as endometriosis, cancer, and Parkinson’s disease. She recounts heartwarming messages that she has received from fans explaining how Mav Sauce and Mav Snacks have helped them manage their symptoms and improved their quality of life.

“I’m just glad that I’m able to help people, you know, through their stuff,” Maverick says. “And that’s really like, for me, the best part of what I do. I really, really love helping people and getting that feedback that what I’m creating, it’s not just gonna get someone high, it’s changing people’s lives.”

Maverick moved to Georgia toward the end of 2023, citing being “over L.A.,” but the decision to swap the West Coast for the east won’t hinder her plans for growth. A new chapter is beginning, and Chef Maverick is cooking up even more ambitious plans for the near future.

Sweet Chili Coconut Shrimp

By Chef Maverick

Servings: 4

Prep time: 20 mins

Cooking time: 25 mins

THC mg/serving: 12.5 mg

Ingredients

1 lb jumbo shrimp

1 cup shredded coconut

1 cup breadcrumbs

½ cup gluten-free flour (I use Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 Baking Flour)

6 tbsp vegan eggs (I use JUST Egg)

1 ½ tsp sea salt

¾ tsp black pepper

½ tsp garlic powder

½ tsp onion powder

¼ tsp ground ginger

¼ cup Mav Sauce Sweet Chili Sauce

Oil (for frying)

Sriracha (for garnish)

Cooking Instructions

  1. In a shallow bowl, whisk together the shredded coconut, gluten-free flour, breadcrumbs, and all the seasonings.
  2. A second shallow bowl should have your vegan egg.
  3. Dip the shrimp into the beaten eggs, then coat with the coconut and breadcrumb mixture.
  4. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the shrimp in batches and fry until golden brown and cooked through, about 2-3 minutes per side.
  5. Transfer the cooked shrimp to a paper towel-lined plate to drain excess oil.
  6. In a bowl, toss the coconut shrimp with the Mav Sauce Sweet Chili Sauce, and enjoy!

Notes:

Tablespoon of Mav Sauce Sweet Chili Sauce = 6.25 mg THC or CBD.

Suggested serving per person = 2 tablespoons.

To make a non-infused version of this, simply swap out my Mav Sauce Sweet Chili Sauce for any store-bought sweet chili sauce you desire. To make a vegan version, simply substitute vegan konjac shrimp instead of real shrimp.

Excerpted from Chef Maverick’s cookbook Sauced Up! 420 Recipes Featuring Mav Sauce.

This article was originally published in the April 2024 issue of High Times Magazine.

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