Photo credit: Patrick Wong
Monica Lo is true Jackette of all trades — a chef, photographer, food stylist, activist, and cannabis advocate. Her latest project is Sous Weed, which showcases “cannabis as an ingredient as opposed to merely a psychoactive additive.” According to Monica, “Cannabis is a versatile, nutrient-dense vegetable and we aim to treat it as a culinary challenge like any other.” Monica is also a contributor to Menu Stories, a podcast and multimedia collection of stories about restaurants and the people behind them.
How did you find your way the historically male-dominated culinary industry?
I’ve only worked in male-dominated industries–from advertising, to food, to cannabis. I cut my teeth as an art director, designer, and content creator in NYC before I moved to San Francisco to dabble in start-up land and found myself at the intersection of food and cannabis. I started Sous Weed as a passion project while at Nomiku, a sous vide company, and now we’re creating recipe and photo content for various cannabis brands and working on pop-up dinners.
What has been the most defining moment of your career?
Shooting and food-styling for the Sous Vide at Home cookbook with Ten Speed Press and Nomiku was such a huge endeavor. The entire process took about a year and at the end it felt like I had creative postpartum. The reviews have been overwhelmingly positive though and that makes the hard work all the more worth it.
Which ladies serve up culinary inspiration in your life?
Christine Flynn aka Chef Jacques La Merde. Her Instagram persona had me (and 141k people) fooled and entertained for a very long time before she revealed her true identity. I adore her silly characters and stunning plating. I also had the opportunity to shoot a cooking video with Christine a while ago and she’s just as wonderful and hilarious in person.
What advice do you have for other women trying to build culinary careers?
Don’t be afraid to fail and always, always trust your gut.