Azuca Executives Kim Sanchez Rael and Ron Silver Share Industry Outlooks for 2022 | The Latest from Azuca
Azuca Executives Kim Sanchez Rael and Ron Silver Share Industry Outlooks for 2022 | The…
When 91-year-old Sylvia Weinstock, affectionately known as the “Queen of Cake,” began using cannabis, she discovered a new-found love and appreciation for the plant. Cannabis became a solution for years of sleep struggles, and an aid for winding down after a busy day of making cakes for celebrities around the world. She opens up about why cannabis isn’t just for young adults, but how it can help the 70+ crowd with aging. Beyond her support of cannabis, Sylvia shares insight into her success in baking and advice for young professionals who are trying to make it in the industry. Then, keep reading for the latest legalization updates, partner highlights, and a strawberry CBD recipe that screams summer.
Q: Take us back to when your love for baking began. What was it about the art and science that attracted you?
I am a food person. I love food! I thought dessert was always the best part of the meal— or it got the most “bang for a buck.” So I started making little cakes and then people started ordering things that were bigger. Before I knew it, I was squarely in the business with a long list of orders to fulfill. Part of my love for it was being independent, part was making a hobby into a business, and part was the sense of accomplishment and the pride of turning out a wonderful product.
Q: When did your business first take off? Did you ever expect for it to grow to where it is today?
No. It just evolved! I was a mother with three daughters, a substitute teacher at various points in my life, and I guess I just never expected to end up as a celebrity baker of the day. It’s a wonderful thing to be recognized and accepted. It really took off when we moved from Long Island into Manhattan around 1980. Before that I had some friends I would give a lesson to, or I admired the wonderful artistry of others, but I wanted to know how to make artistry into quality food. I think the answer to making artistic quality food is not looking at the cost of what it is to produce, but to get the best ingredients and make the finest product you can. At some point you will be financially rewarded because of your talents and what you’ve done.
Q: Are you a cannabis consumer and can you share your interest/experience with the plant?
Well I just got introduced to it. My first time trying it is probably within the last 6 months. I grew up in the Woodstock era, but I was never into smoking or drugs. I think my drug of choice was probably a stiff vodka drink back in the day. But I was introduced to it recently by my chef friend Ron Silver, who is also the co-founder of Azuca. I tried it and I have to tell you that I think it’s terrific! I take something about an hour or so before I go to bed, I read a book and I go to sleep easily. It helps me have a wonderful relaxing evening and night. I get a good night’s sleep, which isn’t always easy. I don’t smoke, because years ago I had lung cancer but I am a big fan of the edibles. Though I have only used it for a limited amount of time, it has certainly smoothed out a lot of my stress and helped me sleep better.
Q: Being a New York resident, what is your opinion on the recent legalization of adult-use cannabis?
Many years ago in Tribeca people were growing marijuana on their fire escapes. That was very trendy. Now the community is embracing it with open arms!! It takes away a lot of the tension and pressure that we all live with. Enjoying cannabis in a cookie or something like that will just take the edge off for a lot of people. If used properly, this plant will help a lot of people get through the daily challenges of life. I think in time it will be infused with all sorts of cooking and foods. For example, I got some cannabis seeds, toasted them and added them to butter. I then ground it all up and made chocolate brownies.
Additionally– I believe that adult-use is not just for 20-year-olds. It’s for everyone, even people over 70! Many adults over the age of 60 or 70 have depressive attitudes. Life is tough. I think cannabis should be available for them. Our society is getting older and there’s a lot of people over the age of 65. Whether navigating relationships, health or money issues, cannabis can be helpful for this demographic. It takes the sharp edge off life.
Q: Out of all the wedding cakes you’ve created in your successful career, what stands out to you as your favorite and why?
There are so many instances that were memorable, and so many cakes that were memorable too Especially if you do a woman’s wedding cake, and then she has a baby and you do the baby’s cake, and then that baby’s graduation cake, and eventually you’re doing the next generation’s wedding cake! You are a part of a lifestream and that is very rewarding. When you see a family and they come with a joyous occasion– it doesn’t matter who they are, or how famous they are, the moment you create is something they will remember forever. I run into people 25 years later who say, “you made my wedding cake and I will never forget it!” They probably don’t remember what they had as a main course at the dinner table– but they remember the cake.
Q: What advice do you have for young bakers, in both the traditional and cannabis industries, who are trying to make a name for themselves?
My advice is to follow your heart and have integrity in everything you do. I think you can do anything at any time in life. Don’t be frightened. Just take the plunge! You can have a career at any time–I am 91 years old! I am enjoying all of this. And I’m going to do more. I think the integration of cannabis into baking can work really well.
Sylvia Weinstock started baking in her country home kitchen, while her husband and three daughters took ski trips. It wasn’t long before she was supplying desserts to local restaurants. Her cakes caught the eye of the New York social elites and were in demand by every major hotel and caterer in New York City. Her client list grew to include celebrities such as Oprah, Robert De Niro, Martha Stewart, Ralph Lauren, Michael Douglas, and Jennifer Lopez, as well as prominent families such as the Kennedys, Rockefellers, and the Clintons. Sylvia was introduced to cannabis by longtime friend and Azuca Founder Ron Silver. For more background on Sylvia, visit her website here.
Alabama: It’s official–Alabama’s Governor, Kay Ivey, signed the state’s medical cannabis bill into law. They are now the 37th state to legalize medical marijuana. While the bill, known as the Alabama Compassion Act, is quite restrictive, it will allow a number of licensing opportunities. Access to those licenses will open in September of 2022. (Source: Canna Advisors)
Connecticut: As surrounding states have already legalized adult use, the Nutmeg State is getting closer to joining them. Governor Ned Lamont supports legalization, and is currently working with lawmakers to move the legislation forward. The bill passed narrowly in the Senate, but faces challenges in the House. The current legislative session came to a close on June 9th, but Connecticut’s House speaker and majority leader says they will hold a special session to address this bill, with a vote on June 16th. (Source: Canna Advisors)
Minnesota: Movement is the state of Minnesota could mean legal changes to what products can be purchased in the state by July 1, 2021. Governor Tim Walz signed legislation legalizing and increasing access to smokable flower. This effort comes as a part of a larger healthcare bill in the state. (Source: Marijuana Moment)
Colorado: In mid May, Colorado Governor Jared Polis signed a bill that doubles the legal possession limit of cannabis, an increase of one full ounce. On top of that he is instructing state law enforcement to identify people with prior convictions for the new limit who he may be able to pardon. It would also require courts to approve requests to have prior records for cannabis possession sealed without consulting a district attorney as long as the proper documentation is provided. (Source: Marijuana Moment)
Growth beyond the states: Indiva released their record level high Q1 earnings report this June, and it’s clear Wana Quick powered by Azuca TiME INFUSION™ is being embraced by our international community in Canada. “New products introduced in late Q1 and early Q2, including three new Wana Quick SKUs… have been well received across Canada, and data continues to indicate that Indiva is expanding its leading market share in the edibles category,” said Niel Marotta, President and Chief Executive Officer of Indiva. You can view their Q1 earnings report here.
New product for peanut butter lovers: Partnering with Columbia Care’s Colorado arm, The Green Solution, Azuca takes center stage in their latest edible product: Peanut Butter Chocolate Truffles. They are as creamy, crunchy, and indulgent as they sound. Available now in all The Green Solution stores, you can find more information on where to find them here.
In the spotlight: Azuca President & CEO Kim Rael took to the mic, sharing her insights on business partnerships in the cannabis industry with the Your Highness Podcast. You can listen to the full interview here.
SPECIAL REPORT: In case you missed it, Azuca released its White Paper report showing its TiME INFUSION™ technology is helping solve issues edible manufacturers have faced for years — saving them time, money and valuable resources. You can view the full report here.
Nothing says Summer quite like fresh strawberries. This Azuca dessert is a nostalgic Summer recipe that can be made for a crowd and is perfect for your next cookout or event. With 25mg of fast-acting CBD per serving, this recipe using Azuca CBD sugar is the sweetest way to indulge after a warm day in the sun.
Azuca CBD Mini Strawberry Shortcakes
Makes 9 servings, 25mg Azuca CBD each
Make the biscuits:
Make the filling:
Assemble the shortcakes:
Source: Bubby’s + James Beard
Azuca wishes a joyful Pride celebration to all our LGBTQIA+ friends and community members.
We are committed to help make the CBD and cannabis community a fair and equitable place for all. A portion of all Azuca proceeds are donated in support of Last Prisoner Project, a nonprofit working to bring restorative justice to the cannabis industry and dedicated to releasing those incarcerated for cannabis and helping them rebuild their lives. Learn more and support this great cause here.