Q&As with Chef Giovanni Merle
Free Range Kings (FRK): Tell us about your background. Where are you from and what specific events got you to where you are at today?
Chef Giovanni Merle (Chef Giovanni): I was born and raised in the Republic of Mauritius. Food and nutrition was a survival skillset that I developed from an early age. Also, I always had my hand in cooking and preparing meals for friends and family events. Later on, cooking was a subject that I didn’t hesitate to add to my academic program in school, since I was very comfortable with food. I didn’t know that it would lead me to become a chef.
Other than Mauritius, I went through training and education in the South of France. Some of the training and education I’ve gone through includes three levels of food and nutrition, food production, and Hôtellerie. I earned a Brevet Professional Cuisine Certification and Masters of culinary arts.
And my first entry into the United States was not Washington D.C. My first stop was in Florida, where I was a chef de partie for a few seasons on a cruise ship.
Free Range Kings (FRK): What cuisine or cuisines do you specialize in?
Chef Giovanni: I specialize in French culinary science, with an international flair.
Free Range Kings (FRK): How did you get into the cannabis cooking game?
Chef Giovanni: Cannabis has always been part of my culture. Further down the road, after a lot of studies, I came to the conclusion that cannabis is a big missing link in food and nutrition.
Free Range Kings (FRK): What do you think is your competitive edge over other cooks that specialize in a similar cuisine and in cannabis-infused dishes? What makes you different?
Chef Giovanni: What makes me different from other so-called cannabis chefs is the respect that I give to the plant. For example, it cannot be around flesh for spiritual reasons.
Free Range Kings (FRK): What is your go-to cannabis-infused dish to cook?
Chef Giovanni: My best cannabis confections so far are my natural preserves.
Free Range Kings (FRK): What are your favorite appliances/tools and cannabis products to use for infused dishes?
Chef Giovanni: Sous vide.
Free Range Kings (FRK): Do you have any rules around THC or CBD dosage, or is that based on the client’s preference?
Chef Giovanni: It is based on the client profile.
Free Range Kings (FRK): Any advice for folks that want to try to make meals using cannabis at home?
Chef Giovanni: Recreationally not really, since the strains keep on being modified.
Free Range Kings (FRK): You have been catering in the District for a few years now. Describe a couple of memorable clients and/or events you’ve catered.
Chef Giovanni: Don’t get me wrong, intimate dining is my top experience so far; however, my greatest achievement was the execution of a cannabis brunch in DC mainstream venue.
Free Range Kings (FRK): What adjustments have you made in your business and your personal life during the craziness of COVID-19?
Chef Giovanni: Awareness in how to eat to live.
Free Range Kings (FRK): What are your other passions outside of cooking?
Chef Giovanni: Music, cannabis politics, and boxing.
Free Range Kings (FRK): What is next for Chef Giovanni? Any big plans or goals?
Chef Giovanni: Yes. I just came back from the election in Mauritius, and I was very close to getting into the Parliament! I have five more years before the next election.
Free Range Kings (FRK): If someone is trying to book you for services/events, how can they reach you?
Chef Giovanni: I actually have a website they can find more about me and my services that will lead them my social media and upcoming events: giovannimerle.org.
Free Range Kings (FRK): Any final words for the Free Range Kings readers?
Chef Giovanni: Yes. Since Mauritius can’t be compared to the size of the USA, it will cost nothing to get control of the east and free the people that have been and are still being oppressed and persecuted for the simple use of marijuana in their spiritual gatherings. Let’s make Mauritius a paradise for all.
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