Nicole Del Pino

Chef Nicole Del Pino – Curiosity is the Best Ingredient in CBD Edibles

by | Feb 22, 2021 | Homepage Featured, People | 0 comments

CBD edibles are popping up everywhere, in sweet, savory and spicy food items. The choices for CBD edibles are as varied as what’s on the shelves in a grocery store! This brings us tremendous joy, as people have more access to the healing power of plants.

CBD edibles are convenient – they’re great for travel, to stash in your desk to prep for a stressful Zoom, and to enjoy post dinner as you coast into bed. And they can be delicious, depending on the recipe. What goes into the edible is extremely important to ensure you’re getting the best CBD and right dosage.

To create our very first CBD edible – oHHo CBDots – we made sure to work with someone who shares our commitment to sustainable farming and using the best local ingredients, and could design gourmet flavors to best showcase our CBD.

All roads lead straight to Nicole Del Pino, a renowned pastry chef, who has created delicacies for Blue Hill at Stone Barns, amongst others. Nicole’s talents extend beyond the walls of her kitchen. She’s a sought-after creative consultant, whose love for learning and thoughtful curiosity make her the best for collaboration.

We chatted with Nicole about wellness and her artistic process of inventing the CBDots with us. Read on to learn more!
Spoiler alert: her curiosity is contagious. Don’t blame us if you want to experiment with essential oils or lay down in a garden by the end.

How did this project come about?

I’m a professionally trained chef, with a focus on pastries, but my overall experience ties into botanicals and sustainability. A mutual friend put me in touch with the oHHo team, who wanted to develop CBD edibles. Before meeting them I didn’t have any experience with CBD. I hadn’t tried it or worked with it, but it was something I was always curious about. And I love learning, so this was very exciting for me!

I came to see CBD as just another ingredient on my chef’s table, so was keen to experiment. I did a ton of research and was lucky to work with Nic and James at oHHo to learn about their unique product. They’re so open to experimentation and gave me the freedom of creativity.

What was your first CBD experience like?

Before kicking off with oHHo, I purchased a CBD topical online. Admittedly, when I used it nothing happened, which was discouraging. That all changed once I tried oHHo – I was completely convinced it worked. I felt relaxed and calm – it just took the edge off, which we can all use these days!

I slowly started using it every day, for two reasons. First, I wanted to get familiar with the oil’s flavor profile. Second, I wanted to see how my body reacted to it, so I could be mindful of the dosage in the CBDots. It’s important to me that everyone will experience the effects, from a petite woman to a large man.

What inspired the first three flavors you created for oHHo’s CBDots?

The first thing I thought of is New York and what’s available to be locally sourced. I wanted to create CBD edibles with unique flavors, but nothing so off-the-charts that they would be off-putting.

The first recipe combines apple and rose. I love these two flavors together, with the herbal notes from the rose and the earthy sweetness of the apple. They partner so perfectly with the CBD, with just a hint of lemon

The second recipe mixes pear with fennel pollen, which is a bit spicy and savory, and sprinkles in vanilla to soften the overall balance, playing nicely with the earthiness of the CBD.

The third one is blackberry and Earl Grey (this is a sneak peek because this CBDot isn’t available yet). The blend is herbal, intense and spicy. There’s something about blackberry with Earl Grey that works so well together.

Can an amateur chef incorporate CBD into their recipes?

Technically yes, people at home can cook with CBD, but from a cost perspective, it doesn’t necessarily make sense. When I cook with it, I’m not using the oHHo CBD oils, I’m using the crude oil which is extremely concentrated. This crude oil is really intense in flavor and the texture of it is almost like resin.

For those curious to try it at home, I suggest using it as a seasoning; mix it with something or drizzle it onto a dish you’ve made. Spicy dishes really lend themselves to the flavor of CBD oil. I‘d even put it on top of ice cream with pecans for a fun flavor combination!

Tell us more about your commitment to working with sustainably grown ingredients and sourcing locally?

I’ve been fortunate in my career to work hands-on at a farm, and that opened my eyes to the importance of supporting local farmers. They taught me the importance of the growing season, and how people should consume what’s naturally available at certain times in the year. Locality is so important. Here in NY we have so many incredible farmers, we’d be foolish not to support our community. I love how the oHHo team only uses sustainably grown CBD that is ethically sourced and harvested from small farms in local communities.

I’m committed to this because I’m aware of the carbon footprint I’m leaving behind. I try to think about what I really “need” versus what I “want” in the moment. Sure, I like limes in my margarita, but I can also enjoy a local in-season margarita, whatever that looks like!

How can we incorporate these practices into our own lives?

At first, committing to shopping locally and sustainably can be hard, it takes research. I recommend going online to find groceries and farmer’s markets that work with local growers. Pick small things and incorporate them into your routine. Small changes make a difference, and we all have it in us. It can be as simple as not eating avocados in certain months.

Once you have a trusted place to find quality local goods, I encourage people to nurture the relationship with the store and farmer. Every farmer I have met is so welcoming and wants to show what they have and tell you about their process. Farmers are passionate about what they do – you have to be, to be in that industry – they’re proud of what they do.

What is your favorite wellness ritual?

I have a huge collection of essential oils – it’s a part-time hobby for me. Whenever I’m feeling like I have to get back to my center, I sit down with my oils, close my eyes and when I open them, I just start choosing certain combinations to smell. Within a few minutes, I have a euphoric, transformative moment.

My favorites to blend right now are vetiver, frankincense and strange as it may sound – pink peppercorn. I put that blend into small diffusers and enjoy. The power of scent is magical…my greatest gift is that of smell.

Nicole del Pino and her essential oils

When are you most in your flow state?

I have quite a large garden, so when the weather’s nice I go outside and close the gate and take it all in. I’m so happy there that sometimes, I’ve been known to lay down in the straw and run my fingers through it. I’m giddy and so unbelievably happy when I’m there.

What do you wish everyone knew about what you do?

When I look back on my career as a chef, I recognize that there was often sacrifice to achieve success. In many ways, it was a selfish decision to go down that career path with long hours, late nights. It takes a certain kind of crazy to do that, and also it’s something I’m most proud of, besides my family. But great success in this career did come at a price.

I worked in many wonderful restaurants, but the last position at Blue Hill here in NY changed my life. Cooking there changed so much of who I am, my beliefs and how I feel and look at food.

I saw the importance of where food comes from, and it touched my heart in a way that as a chef you don’t always think of. Creating food is personal and you’re putting yourself out there. This opened my eyes to a culinary world that I thought I knew everything about. It put me back in a position where I had everything to learn. I was amazed by the words spoken by a chef and the fresh produce brought in by the farmers there. It was the exclamation point to my career!

Visit weareohho.com and learn more about our products and find CBD edibles, tinctures, balms and more!