Culture

Meet Manuel Mendoza, The Winner Of Netflix’s Cannabis Cooking Competition Show

Netflix and Kelis teamed up to create a cooking competition show all about cannabis cooking. “Cooked with Cannabis” is giving cannabis chefs a chance to shine with some friendly competition and the ever-popular cannabis.

Kelis is here with a new kind of cooking competition show officially changing the game.

“Cooked with Cannabis” is elevating the use of cannabis in the kitchen. It is no longer something used by stoners and only stoners. “Cooked with Cannabis” makes cannabis a sophisticated and respectable ingredient in the kitchen. The show offers some insights as to the differences between different strains of pot that many of us just never understood.

The show has six episodes in the first season and there is a new cast of chefs every episode.

The premise of the show is three chefs battling it out for three judges to show what they can do with the cannabis they are given. The recipes look like culinary works of art and seem equally as appetizing. The winner of the episode is given $10,000 as a prize and that’s pretty grand.

One of the winners this season is Manuel Mendoza, a cannabis chef from Chicago.

Mendoza works for Herbal Notes, a Chicago-based cannabis collaborative project. According to the website, Herbal Notes hopes to destigmatize the practice of using cannabis in cooking by highlighting the medicinal properties of the natural ingredient. Herbal Notes is also trying to empower communities long vilified for their use of cannabis.

Mendoza won using the cannabis to create some deliciously relevant foods.

Mendoza won by giving the judges some pot leaf-shaped chilaquiles and marijuana-infused pupusas. The use of Mexican and Salvadoran foods not only highlights our community but also his own upbringing in Chicago as a Salvadoran kid. Mendoza is proud to say that he was raised by Pilsen, the famed Latino community in Chicago.

Congratulations, Mendoza. It is a victory well deserved.

Mendoza’s start in cannabis cooking came when he had a eureka moment with iced chocolate milk. The chef was fresh out of culinary school and was eager to try new things, including cannabis cooking. The cannabis cooking trend was just kicking off and he just wanted to play around. When he created that iced chocolate milk, Mendoza knew that he was on to something and the rest is his culinary career.

READ: Mexico’s Progressive Bill Legalizing Cannabis Stalled Again Because Of Pandemic

We Finally Have A First Look At The Walter Mercado Documentary ‘Mucho Mucho Amor’ And I Can’t Wait

Entertainment

We Finally Have A First Look At The Walter Mercado Documentary ‘Mucho Mucho Amor’ And I Can’t Wait

Mucho Mucho Amor / Netflix

Walter Mercado was to the Spanish-speaking world, what Miss Cleo was to the English-speaking one. Equal parts Oprah, Liberace, and Mr. Rogers, the legendary Puerto Rican psychic and astrologer captivated the Latin world with his glamorous style, gender-nonconforming persona, and warmhearted cosmic readings. Now, he is poised to reach a new level of fandom with a lovingly crafted documentary about his life and career

Our stars dimmed when we lost the great Walter Mercado last year, but with a new Netflix documentary, we get one more glimpse into the man’s flamboyant life.

It’s finally here: the first trailer for Netflix’s Mucho Mucho Amor.

Each and every day more than 120 million viewers tuned in to watch the extravagant, flamboyant Puerto Rican astrologer, psychic, and gender nonconforming artists charm the world with televised horoscopes. He enthralled his viewers with sequined capes, opulent jewelry, and shared a message of love and hope to his devoted viewers. Then, he mysteriously disappeared.

If you’re like countless tías out there, you’ve been wondering about him ever since. That’s where Mucho, Mucho Amor comes in.

Directors Cristina Costantini and Kareem Tabsch spent the last two years of Mercado’s life documenting this icons legacy – when he grabbed with the struggles of aging.

The film also drops hints about Mercado’s financial issues and his hiatus from public life. But it also features magnificent footage from his unforgettable entrance at the opening party for HistoryMiami’s 2019 exhibit “Mucho, Mucho Amor: 50 Years of Walter Mercado.”

It’s an over-the-top moment that celebrates how many in Miami viewed him as royalty as they eagerly awaited his recommended New Year’s Eve rituals each year (customized for each Zodiac sign). It’s safe to say that Mercado captivated people’s attention, and he’ll do it once again with this documentary.

Mercado is often described as the glue that binds migrant communities from all over Latin America.

Credit: Mucho Mucho Amor / Netflix

At its peak, Mercado’s show was watched by more than 120 million viewers from around Latin America. But he was also an actor, dancer, and writer throughout his career. In fact, he starred in several Puerto Rican telenovelas, including Un adiós en el recuerdo (A Farewell to the Memory) and Larga distancia (Long Distance).

In 1970, he started his regular astrology segment on Puerto Rico’s variety show, El Show de las 12. His star continued to grow, and for decades, his astrology prediction shows aired in Puerto Rico, Latin America and the United States.

“We grew up with him,” Lin-Manuel Miranda says in the trailer for Mucho Mucho Amor. “I can’t think of an English language astrologer that would command the attention of millions of households.” 

Then, Mercado mysteriously vanished from the public eye. “Maybe he didn’t want to grow old in front of the cameras,” Eugenio Derbez speculates. 

He was also an icon for the LGBTQ community, who – especially in the Latino community – needed one so badly.

Credit: Mucho Mucho Amor / Netflix

Although Mercado was unapologetically sexually-ambiguous, many were still preoccupied with the man’s sexuality. He always took the questions and innuendo in stride though, responding with a joke that would get him off the hook with most. But he meant a lot to gay Latinos during an era where they feared coming out much more than today, just merely for existing.

Even though Mercado never publicly addressed his sexuality, he was an inspiration for many LGBTQ kids, including director Kareem Tabsch.

“I’m a queer kid from Miami and the first time I ever saw Walter on television, it was the first time I ever encountered another person who was queer,” Tabsch recalls.

In an interview with Entertainment Tonight, he added: “I had a simpatico. Seeing him on TV I remember thinking, ‘Huh, there’s something in you that’s like something in me. I see a reflection of me in you, even if I’d never be nearly as fabulous.’ But there was this otherness that I recognized. I felt, ‘If my family loves you just as you are then maybe they could love me as I am too.”

Although before his death he disappeared from public life somewhat unceremoniously, his legacy lives on for millions of Latinos.

Credit: Mucho Mucho Amor / Netflix

Mucho, Mucho Amor does a great job at showing the human-side of Mercado. Yes, he was a beloved television personality, for whom many, he was a literal superhero. But he was also a human, and Netflix’s new documentary will show an entirely new side of the superstar to the world.

Mucho, Mucho Amor debuts on Netflix on July 8.

Colin Kaepernick’s Life to Become Netflix Series From Ava DuVernay

Entertainment

Colin Kaepernick’s Life to Become Netflix Series From Ava DuVernay

Thearon W. Henderson / Getty

Colin Kaepernick’s life is officially getting the Hollywood treatment.

The Black NFL quarterback has announced that he has joined forces with film director Ava DuVernay for a Netflix series titled Colin in Black & White. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the scripted limited drama has been picked to go straight to series.

DuVernay’s six-episode series will take an intimate look at Kaepernick’s childhood, life in high school years, and all of the experiences that led him to become an activist today.

Kaepernick will appear in the series as himself and is set to narrate. An actor will play the younger version of Kaepernick. According to THR, “Emmy nominee Michael Starrbury will pen the script and serve as exec producer alongside DuVernay and Kaepernick. Starrbury previously teamed with DuVernay on Netflix’s Peabody-winning limited series When They See Us, based on the Central Park 5.”

Speaking about her decision to produce a film about the NFL player, DuVernay said that “With his act of protest, Colin Kaepernick ignited a national conversation about race and justice with far-reaching consequences for football, culture, and for him, personally. Colin’s story has much to say about identity, sports, and the enduring spirit of protest and resilience. I couldn’t be happier than to tell this story with the team at Netflix.” 

Netflix says that the drama was conceived back in 2019 and scripts were completed this past May.

The series will look at Kaepernick’s early life as a Black child growing up in a white household that adopted him all while training to become a competitive quarterback while determining his own identity.

“Too often we see race and Black stories portrayed through a white lens,” Kaepernick told THR. “We seek to give new perspective to the differing realities that Black people face. We explore the racial conflicts I faced as an adopted Black man in a white community, during my high school years. It’s an honor to bring these stories to life in collaboration with Ava for the world to see.”

“We’re proud to bring Colin’s experience and his creative vision to life as he joins Ava to share his powerful story and message with all our members around the world,” Cindy Holland, VP originals at Netflix, told THRr. “It is an unparalleled union of two strong and defining voices coming together to tell the story about what it’s like to be Black in America.”

Kaepernick’s influence on the current BLM movement is expanding.

In 2016, the football player set out to protest racial injustice, police brutality, and systematic oppression ahead of a San Francisco 49ers game by kneeling during the national anthem. His act of protest ultimately roused polarizing conversations amongst athletes, NFL officials, and fans. At the time President Trump demanded NFL team owners fire Kaepernick along with any other players who protested during the national anthem. Eventually, Kaepernick became a free agent in 2017 and filed a lawsuit against the NFL. He claimed that the organization and its owners had colluded to keep him out of the league.

In February, he signed a deal with Audible to create multiple projects, including for his upcoming memoir.