Getting To Know Totally Baked
Ever indulged in an edible? Chances are it’s probably been in some form of brownie or cookie. However, have you ever tried cannabis infused Mac & Cheese? If the answer is yes, then you’ve probably heard of Totally Baked, the new kids on the block in the edible game, and if not, you’re about to be in for a pleasant surprise.
Established by Nic and Naz, Totally Baked is where “fine dining meets cannabis couture”. With shared backgrounds in fine art, Nic and Naz became friends and business partners after working on a university project together.
This was the start of a beautiful collaboration, as Naz explains, “during varsity we did a project together, and the whole point was to collaborate on a project, where both people contributed. I’ve always admired the way Nic thinks, so I told him to come up with an idea and I’d make it happen, whatever he wanted to do, I’d make it happen.”
As it turns out, this wouldn’t be the last time Nic would present Naz with a brilliant idea.
During a telephone conversation last year, Nic brought up that he wanted to start an edible’s company. “Last year my dad was diagnosed with cancer, so I started getting into natural medicine”, says Nic, “one of them was CBD, and from there, I started experimenting and seeing what I could do. Chocolate was the easiest thing to make. It was just the easiest way for my dad to consume cannabis, because he didn’t want to smoke.”
Having two chefs as parents, and his own experience working as a chef on the yachts, Nic wanted to see how far he could push the envelope. With Naz as his creative director, Nic embarked upon a culinary journey; experimenting, testing, and exploring the vision he had for their fledgling business.
“Before we started selling any of our products, we had a testing period, and let’s just say our first round was not pleasant. Our experience was uncomfortable, coupled with some paranoia, and it just wasn’t enjoyable,” says Nic, speaking about the first phase of their research. “We realised quickly that we needed to rethink the milligrams, have our products lab tested, and find out exactly what steps we needed to follow to perfect our products”.
After several weeks of testing to find the perfect calculations, the two developed an edible’s guideline, from beginner to expert stoner. “From there we developed a guideline for levels of intensity, ranging from low to medium, and medium to high , with two subsections in each category, therefore if someone wanted to try a product with medium intensity and an additional kick, they could have exactly that.” This painstaking commitment to giving their clients exactly what they ordered, down to the milligram, has set ‘Totally Baked’ apart from the rest in the edible business.
Naz feels that the ability to have such accurate quality control is imperative to their business. “It’s definitely our goal to educate, because before knowing the exact milligrams in each edible, we’d just ask, will this brownie get me stoned? If it gets me stoned, then mission accomplished”.
“After the 3-week test period, we found that it was important to let people know how many milligrams they are actually consuming, and exactly how much of this product, should be consumed in a certain time frame. Various people that I spoke to were very sceptical and scared of edibles, purely because they’d had negative experiences with edibles that are too strong.”
With their edible guideline in hand, the two intrepid edible adventurers began developing a variety of products they thought would stand out from the crowd. “Our four main products are chocolate bars, mac & cheese bites, a wide range of pizza’s, and toasted cheese sandwiches”, says Nic.
“With the Mac and Cheese bites we wanted to introduce a product that was unique and that people hadn’t tried yet. This led us to, our infused sauces, which includes a pink sauce, a tomato sauce, and an infused mayonnaise. This ensures that there is no waste and that people are getting exactly what they ordered, strength-wise.”
“It’s definitely our goal to make delicious food”, adds Naz, “but we don’t want any of our customers, friends or family to have similar experiences that we faced during our testing. I think cannabis has become a new avenue for recreational use, and people are switching from drinking or other substances to cannabis instead.”
In order to ensure the safety of their clients, Nic and Naz always make sure to find out whether those who are buying from them are regular, occasional, or casual users. “Customers vary in height, size, weight and metabolism, as well as their frequency of usage, based off of that information, we would recommend a suitable dosage for them”, says Nic, whose goal with ‘Totally Baked’ is making sure that their clients always have a positive experience.
Food is not the only product the two are focused on, as they have also developed a range of CBD oils. “With my dad having cancer, I definitely started seeing the medical side and benefits of cannabis. It’s not all about being high, it’s also about helping people”, says Nic. “We also make CBD oils, which can be consumed or use topically on the skin. I have bad neck pain, so I would usually rub a small amount of oil on the affected area and it relieves the pain within a few minutes.”
“It works rapidly, I used to suffer from anxiety attacks quite often, but as a result of me taking a few drops of CBD oil every morning, it rarely occurs, and if it does a few additional drops do the trick. It’s amazing how the drops help me feel relaxed and how calming the effect can be.”
For Naz, edibles started as a way to get high without getting caught by his parents. “During Varsity, I would make batches of cookies, so that I could just have a piece of cookie without my room smelling like weed. I also don’t like smoking constantly, and with edibles, if you adjust the dosing correctly, it can give you a long-lasting high.” It is for this reason that the two decided to infuse their food rather than just spray it with CBD.
Naz affirms this, saying “while you’re digesting, you get a slow release. There’s no instant spike, but rather a gentle lift, with a gentle release back down as well. That slow release can help you maintain your high, compared to candies and oils.”
“We are developing a way, to optimise all aspects of our product, whether it’s the duration, taste, or aesthetic. All these things play a role and we consider each aspect when producing our products.” The two would love to see their products, as well as their edible guideline, becoming the industry standard.
They feel that if edible products were regulated by the cannabis community itself, there wouldn’t be such scepticism from people who dislike cannabis.
They have significant goals for their fledgling brand. “We really want to hit the supermarkets, and maybe even go overseas. Initially with our CBD products, and then in the future, with THC products, where the legislation allows us. We are also investigating the export market. We are always trying to grow and are interested in expanding through a delivery service, being provided throughout Gauteng.”
And if you thought these two would stop experimenting at comfort food, then you’re mistaken. “We have been developing products, using freeze-dried fruit. These products include, using freeze-dried strawberries and blueberries, which we combine with our chocolate to enhance the flavours,” says Naz, proudly.
Nic adds, “we’ve experienced a range of side-effects, to ensure that our clients don’t have to and that they trust our products.”
Besides their edible range, Nic and Naz provide exquisite event catering with infused cannabis delicacies and bespoke culinary experiences, staying true to their belief in providing “mouth-watering food and unforgettable experiences.” These tasting events offer their patrons the freedom of indulging and being educated on the different delivery methods of cannabis with the addition of learning about the benefits of cannabinoids, ensuring that their patrons have a knowledgeable experience and that they are able to leave and not feeling overwhelmed by the effects.
It is exactly this attitude and commitment, to giving their clients the best possible product that has paved the way for Nic & Naz, to take Totally Baked too new heights.