Are HEMP SEEDS the next super food? Chef says they're a 'rich source of omega 3' and taste like 'herby pine nuts' (but will you get high from eating them?)
- New Zealand chef, Cameron Sims, wants to educate people on benefits of hemp
- Said the seeds of hemp are a complete protein and rich source of omega 3
- Hemp has been prohibited from being added to food, or sold as a food
- Food Standards Australia and New Zealand gave approval to lift the ban in March
- But the change is not likely to come into effect until November
Cameron wants to change the public opinion of what hemp is - and in a bid to do this, has made a menu where every item contains hemp oil.
'We want to clear the widespread confusion,' Cameron told the New Zealand Herald.
'Although it is a variety of the cannabis seed, hemp contains very, very low levels of THC, the psychoactive ingredient of cannabis.
'The menu is designed to inspire New Zealanders on how easily hemp seed can be incorporated into their daily diet.'
Demonstrations at his pop-up restaurant, based at Atomic Coffee Roasters in Auckland, will show how hemp seed can be used in cooking, but the food served to diners will contain only hemp seed oil.
Currently, hemp seed oil is the only hemp-derived product legally sold as a food or added to a food in New Zealand.
In March, Food Standards Australia and New Zealand gave its approval for other hemp-based products to hit the market, after concluding that hemp was safe for human consumption, provided provided it contained low enough levels of THC (the hallucinogenic substance found in marijuana).
THE LAW SURROUNDING HEMP
Earlier this year ministers responsible for food regulation considered a proposal to permit the sale of hemp seed foods in Australia and New Zealand.
Previously, hemp fell under a classification that prohibits all species of cannabis from being added to food, or sold as a food.
Food Standards Australia and New Zealand gave its approval to lift the ban in March after concluding that hemp was safe for human consumption - provided it contained low enough levels of THC (the hallucinogenic substance found in marijuana).
The changes will not come into effect until November this year.
Hemp foods to be sold in Australia are low enough in THC that you can't get high from eating them.
However, the changes are not expected to come into effect until later this year.
According to Cameron, it's a change that would be welcomed.
'Hemp seed is better as a whole food,' he told Daily Mail Australia.
'Now we have to take it and press it but ultimately it's better to eat it in its raw form,' he said.
Nevertheless, he has devised a menu where hemp oil is the 'main ingredient' and 'the centrepiece for the flavour'.
'We will be using other ingredients to highlight what you could do if we were able to use hemp seed,' he said.
Cameron said the aim of Plant Culture was to showcase easy classic foods that people can make at home - for example a four course meal that consists of bread, pizza, ice cream and chocolate with drinks to match.
'The experience will be so that guests will be eating almost a hemp seed based food,' he said.
'It will have hemp in it, it will taste like hemp, it just won't have as much hemp as we would like to be using.'
'With hemp seeds as a vehicle for change we can help change consumer culture to a more sustainable world,' Cameron told Daily Mail Australia.
'For me it's a clear pathway to help get revenues into the crop so other entrepreneurs can play around with what we can do with the amazing hemp plant.'
Cameron isn't the only culinary expert who has spoken out about the use of hemp in food, with former My Kitchen Rules contestant and cookbook author Scott Gooding previously spuiking the health benefits of hemp.
Scott said that not only are hemp seeds a good source of protein, but are packed with essential fats, vitamins and enzymes.
Speaking previously to the Sydney Morning Herald, Dr Trent Watson, a Dieticians Association of Australia spokesman, said just 30 grams of hemp seed, or about one tablespoon, provided about 11 grams of protein.
In comparison, an egg has about six grams of protein.
'Hemp seed is also an easy way of getting more omega-3 fat into the diet – this fat helps reduce 'bad' LDL cholesterol and may help protect against heart disease,' he said.