STORIES

Chris Sayegh Built a Gingerbread Village for Charity

By David Jenison on December 27, 2016

Chris Sayegh, a.k.a. The Herbal Chef, built what might be the world’s largest gingerbread edible. Is it a gingerbread house? “No,” he laughs, “it's more like a gingerbread village. There's a lake. There's a chocolate swamp. There's a mountain range. There's a river that has cannabis soda coming out of it. There's a crashed UFO. There are houses, a giant Christmas tree.”

In the spirit of the holidays, Sayegh and several cannabis companies gave back to the community with a massive gingerbread party Tuesday night at the A&R Bar in Santa Monica, California. The December 20 event, titled Spread Good Cheer, was open to anyone of legal age, and proceeds from the $40 tickets benefited the Oakland warehouse fire victims. 

The Pot Pie host had this idea in his head for a long time, but putting the village together took nearly a week. Sayegh continues, “We were planning it out logistically for a few days and then it took us three days to build everything and sculpt the landscape. We had to bake all the cake and gingerbread, make all of the figurines out of fondant. After that we had to paint everything with edible paint.”

Of course, when Sayegh says “edible” paint, it has a double meaning: The paint is both safe to eat and infused with cannabis. In fact, everything in the village is “edible” in both ways except for the fondant, which was not infused. The gingerbread village also includes items from popular edible companies like Kushy Punch, Dr. Norm’s, Jetty Extracts, Kiva, Pura Vida and Défoncé, among others.

“I haven't done a sculpture this big before,” he admits. “This was a very ambitious task considering I'm more focused on the savory side of food, but it worked out really well. I really can't remember ever making a gingerbread house in my life, so we just had fun with it.”

For those who only wanted to indulge a little, the Herbal Chef didn't make it easy. Asked which part of the village tasted best, he says, “The chocolate lake is really tasty. The soda river is really good. Oh man, there's so many. There's cake throughout the whole thing so you can cut open rocks and the mountain and get cake in there. I would say any one of those things is really delicious.”

The Herbal Chef originally came up with this idea as a fundraiser for the water protectors at Standing Rock—he wanted to help them stay warm and fed during the winter months—but in the middle of planning the event, he found out the energy company decided to reroute the oil pipeline.

“We were happy about the victory in North Dakota,” says Sayegh, “but it’s Christmas time, and we still wanted to give back. I mean, that was the whole point of this. We wanted to get a bunch of edible companies on board and do something communal and big and artistic. We figured that we could reroute our charity to something that is very relevant and close to home for a lot of us, which is the victims of the fire in Oakland. We're gonna donate everything to a charity fund set up to help them.”

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