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

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Check Out This List of POC Brands To Support This 4/20

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Check Out This List of POC Brands To Support This 4/20

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Since its legalization, the cannabis industry has been dominated by white individuals profiting off of the years of labor and knowledge of Black and brown people. Figuring out how to open up a business is not only tricky due to confusing laws, but licenses are also extremely expensive which means that those who have money are able to buy their way in, and brands by Black and POC most often end up with the short end of the stick. Today, 81% of cannabis owners are white and of the remaining 19% of POC owned brands, only 4.3% are Black owned businesses. Additionally, even though cannabis usage is relatively the same, Black individuals are more than 250% more likely to be arrested and incarcerated for possession in comparison to white cannabis users.

As you stock up to celebrate 4/20 (responsibly, of course), we wanted to highlight some Black, Latinx, and other POC cannabis brands in your community to consider supporting.

Black Owned Cannabis Brands

Ball Family Farms

Founded by Chris Ball, this Los Angeles based brand is “the first vertically integrated, minority-owned, Social Equity commercial cannabis facility” in the city. A company that is vertically integrated means that the business is self sustaining in that they grow and distribute their own products, which means that BFF has full control over everything they produce, ensuring that the quality of their products is top tier. Combine this with a company that’s working not just for themselves, but for their community, and you have a winning combination.

DIOS Cannabis

Oakland based, Black owned, and woman led, DIOS Cannabis is more than just a brand. Founder Mahlate Hagos set out to take up space in an industry that was built off the backs of Black and brown folks, not just for herself but for other POC as well. In addition to creating DIOS Cannabis, Hagos also partnered up with Steep Hill Labs to create Social Equity as a way to give back to the community directly, by “creating and promoting opportunities for ownership and meaningful participation in the cannabis industry, specifically for communities disproportionately targeted and criminalized in the War on Drugs.


Launching on 04/20, itsPurpl was founded by none other than Urkle himself – Jaleel White. Listen, this is more than just a celebrity slapping their name on a cannabis strain; after meeting 710 Labs owner Brad Melshenker on a flight a few years ago, the two hit it off when they realized how passionate they were about cannabis. 710 Labs is known for having some of the best concentrate out there- and thus their flower is also top-notch. White worked with 710 Labs to carefully source seeds and cross strains to ensure that their stuff was the best of the best, and it’s safe to say mission accomplished. If you’re a purple cannabis lover, itsPurpl should definitely be at the top of your list.

Napalm Cannabis

A newer brand that offers a wide variety of products, Napalm Cannabis set out to take the world by storm. They offer products that will make even the most experienced indulger by surprise and have, in a short amount of time, become one of the fastest growing cannabis brands, with plans to continue expanding their line of innovative products.

Latinx Owned Cannabis Brands

Product of Los Angeles

Product of Los Angeles prides itself on being the first Mexican Cannabis Company, and their products are everything you would expect and more! The two brands created by POLA are La Familia and Agua de Flor and they each specialize in different goodies inspired by the owner’s cultura. La Familia brings you treats such as chocolate bars, rice krispy treats, and even cookies in some of your favorite Mexican flavors while Agua de Flor combines cannabis and aguas frescas for a unique experience best served over ice. With flavors like Horchata, Piña, Mango and Fresa, just to name a few, Product of Los Angeles’s creations are a 4/20 must-have.

Amigo Cannabis

Amigo Cannabis was created to bring top quality cannabis at affordable prices by forgoing “trendy marketing and flashy packaging.” Instead, Amigo Cannabis focuses on “making our amigos feel better… just like any good friend would.” From gummies, to concentrate, to flower products, Amigo Cannabis caters to all tastes and preferences. I don’t know about you, but I could always use a friend like that.

Blaze Mota

Blaze Mota is proof that as long as you consistently deliver quality goods, you don’t need to get fancy or have a huge assortment of products to make it in the industry. The Los Angeles based brand launched on October of 2020, and it specializes in indoor grown strains that are packaged in eighths or ready to go pre-rolls. Bonus points for creative af packaging.

Dreamt Products

Not all cannabis products are created equal, and Dreamt products is one that even our abuelitas will approve of. When Carolina Vazquez Mitchell, a cannabis scientist, tried all sorts of products meant to help her fall asleep and stay asleep but found no success, she created Dreamt Products. A common misconception is that cannabis is meant to just “get you high.” Much like CBD is a part of the plant that does not trigger a psychoactive response, there are other properties of the cannabis plant that help serve different functions and Carolina Vazquez is at the forefront of ongoing research in the field. Dreamt products are meant for anyone who needs help managing their insomnia or getting a full night’s sleep, helping to solve this common health concern and thus improving people’s quality of life.

Other POC Owned Brands

Sundae School

Yes, the creators of the clothing brand also started their own cannabis company! Sundae School is a Korean owned brand that sets themselves apart from the rest by being intentional in everything they do, ensuring that the farms they partner up with practice sustainable agriculture and minimize waste while conserving water and leading the energy efficiency movement. Even their packaging is 100% recyclable and reusable. If the company puts this much thought and care into their packaging, you can only imagine the quality of the contents being packaged.


Not to be confused with the Drake song (although they do have an “Unruly” strain!), Blem is cultivated by Cali Lotus, another Southern California based brand. Blem offers a variety of strains depending on the experience that the user is looking for- whether you want to chill out for the day or something to trigger your creativity, Blem and Cali Lotus have something for you.

Hey Bud

Much like the name denotes, Hey Bud wants you to feel like you’re among friends when you consume their products. They pride themselves in delivering some of the safest and cleanest cannabis in the industry, ensuring that it is pesticide free and that you know exactly what you’re indulging in. As a growing brand, their small batch drops mean that it doesn’t take long for the products to hit the dispensary shelves, ensuring freshness and thus keeping demand for quality cannabis high.

If you’re in the SoCal area, make sure you check out @thetropicannalifeoc, a dispensary well stocked in all of these brands (and more!)

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Gabriel Fernandez’s Mother, Pearl Fernandez, Is Trying to Have Her Murder Conviction Thrown Out

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Gabriel Fernandez’s Mother, Pearl Fernandez, Is Trying to Have Her Murder Conviction Thrown Out

Photos: State of California, Gabriel’s Justice/Facebook

Gabriel Fernandez’s mother, Pearl Fernandez, is trying to have her murder conviction thrown out. The 37-year-old woman has been in jail since 2018 for the murder and torture of her eight-year old son.

Pearl Fernandez is petitioning the court for resentencing, hoping to have her first-degree murder and/or second-degree murder charges thrown out.

Fernandez is hoping to have her sentence vacated based off of new changes to the California state penal code. “I think that she feels that somehow maybe, you know, the special circumstance will be dismissed or maybe she’ll have a chance that the D.A. will agree with the petition,” Deputy District Attorney Jonathan Hatami said to CBSLA.

In June 2018, a judge sentenced Pearl Fernandez to life without parole. The judge charged Pearl Fernandez with the 2013 torture and killing of her eight-year-old son, Gabriel Fernandez.

On May 22, 2013, Gabriel Fernandez died after suffering a fatal beating from his mother. Pearl Fernandez was allegedly angry that he didn’t clean up his toys.

The details of Pearl and her boyfriend’s lengthy torture campaign against Gabriel Fernandez are both gruesome and numerous. Over the course of his eight-month stay with Isauro Aguirre, the couple broke his bones, burned him with cigarettes, pepper-sprayed him, and forced him to eat his own vomit as well as animal feces. And that is just a short-list of what they did.

The case came to national attention after the release of the 2020 Netflix documentary, “The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez“. The documentary shone a spotlight on the insidious nature of child abuse. It also highlighted the systematic failures of the social services system that fails to protect children.

Elected officials have expressed their disgust at Pearl Fernandez for trying to escape justice by taking advantage of updated laws.

“The policies and directives from my office and these new laws created by the Legislature are emboldening murderers of children to apply to be re-sentenced,” said Deputy DA Hatami to City News Service. “This is completely unfair to the surviving families and their loved ones.”

He continued: “Families now have to relive all the horror that was perpetrated upon a small and helpless child. Based upon all the evidence presented at the grand jury, which was made public, and the jury trial, Pearl Fernandez was a major participant in the torture and murder of little Gabriel.”

It seems obvious by the fact that Pearl Fernandez is trying to get out of jail after torturing her son to death, that she isn’t remorseful about her actions.

Any other mother who killed her son would probably want to spend the rest of her life in jail instead of trying to find a way to get out of it.

If you believe someone you know is experiencing–or committing–child abuse, there are resources to help. Call the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child or 1-800-422-4453, or go to Staying vigilant could help save a child like Gabriel Fernandez.

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