Getting Baked with Love’s Oven: An Interview with Executive Chef, Hope Frahm
Love’s Oven is a small-batch gourmet bakery, innovating and producing some of Colorado’s finest cannabis edibles since 2009. Known for their turtle brownies and s’mores brownies, Love’s Oven produces classic baked goods along with more niche desserts, including infused baklava cookie bar bites, salted caramels and savory rosemary cheddar crackers. Being a small-batch bakery allows Love’s Oven to make sure each product they produce is, literally, hand crafted with love. With a team of highly trained and skilled chefs, Love’s Oven is constantly pumping out some of the most delicious and high quality ingredient gourmet edibles on the market today.
STARBUDS: How long has Love’s Oven been in business? What’s the history behind the brand and how it came to be? What is the brand’s philosophy/mission?
HOPE: Love’s Oven started in 2009, as the 4th cannabis edibles company to be handed their medical license to produce. We started out with a promise to provide our medical patients with gourmet edibles that were cleanly extracted, utilizing all natural ingredients, and ensuring that each bite was consistent in potency. I believe Love’s Oven came from the “Mom Term” of giving all of your love to the little bun in your oven. That’s pretty much what we do here. The products that we make are our babies, and we ensure each one is met with the same amount of care and love and each product is consistent in potency and quality. My personal mission is to create the most consistent and best tasting cannabis edibles on the market, using quality ingredients, and having quality people make those ingredients. For example, our caramel sauce is made in house with sugar and cream. We pretty much make everything from scratch.
STARBUDS: What sets Love’s Oven apart from other cannabis edible companies in Denver?
HOPE: Each cook in our kitchen is a classically trained pastry chef with at least 10 years of experience working in high end kitchens and we are all very meticulous about what we do. Each person who I consider hiring must pass a math test. We have a quality assurance team here and we work very closely with the FDA, even though we don’t need to be federally compliant yet, which is not at all an industry standard. All of our ingredients are all natural or organic and we source anything we can locally. No additives, preservatives, artificial or processed flavors. All of our cooking processes are natural as well, no chemicals, butane or propane. It’s simple, we intentionally do not cut corners to ensure the best possible gourmet edibles. We are also one of the only cannabis edible companies to create strain specific and genotype specific edibles.
STARBUDS: Does Love’s Oven cater to cannabis consumers with dietary restrictions, i.e. vegan, gluten free, sugar free, etc.?
HOPE: We do have gluten free cannabis edibles. We have a gluten free peanut butter cannabis brownie, and our caramels are naturally gluten free. We have a vegan edible line waiting to be released as soon as we feel the market is ready for it. Another thing we’re working on is creating a Keto, Whole 30, and Paleo menu.
STARBUDS: How is THC incorporated into Love’s Oven’s products and what type of extraction method do you use?
HOPE: Cannabutter or Cannaoil. We start by adding straight trim leaves to pure butter and letting it soak. Next, the butter is pressed through a giant screen press to sift out the leaves and excess product, 85% of the original butter is left (85% yield). That gets decarboxylated overnight and the next day it is rapid cooled and placed into our walk-in freezer, “Christopher Walkin”. From there, the cannabutter is sent off to a third party lab to be tested for potency, consistency, microbials and pesticides. Once we receive it back we can allocate the percentage of THC for dosage and it’s ready to be baked into our products.
STARBUDS: How are Love’s Oven’s products dosed?
HOPE: Each serving is 10mg, and it depends what you’re buying for how much will be in each package. In medical edibles we’re able to dose higher as well.
STARBUDS: What are your favorite products?
HOPE: Well, funny story. Before I was a chef, I was a mechanic in the Air Force. One day I was involved in an accident and was burned on over 35% of my body, I swallowed anti-freeze and even burned my taste buds. I can’t really taste anything. Therefore, I really like things with more texture, my all time favorite is our infused turtle brownie. It’s a double fudge ganache cannabis brownie with homemade caramel sauce and roasted pecans on top. It’s one of our most popular products.
STARBUDS: Wow! Do you feel like that inhibits your abilities as a chef?
HOPE: Not at all. I feel as if taste buds would limit me. I now not only rely on my own opinion or wants, but I’m constantly asking other people how things taste and getting to use everyone’s combined opinion. I feel that if I had taste buds I wouldn’t be able to come up with the cool, out of the box combinations I do now. I would be limited by what I personally enjoy.
STARBUDS: What is the benefit of having strain specific and genotype specific cannabis edibles?
HOPE: I believe it started with people who are knowledgeable/informed about their THC products and want to feel a certain way from a certain genotype or strain. It’s also great for those who are particularly adamant about a particular strain and enjoy the specific flavor from that strain.
STARBUDS: Do you offer any products free of THC? such as purely CBD edibles?
HOPE: Of course! We offer CBD edibles made from hemp for medicinal purposes, they don’t have any THC or have any psychoactive effects.
STARBUDS: Does Love’s Oven have any exciting new products coming out in the near future?
HOPE: We are working on a new line of cannabis candies. I will be sending out jolly rancher like candies to R&D sometime this week. That line will probably be under a different brand name but should be making an appearance soon. Other than that we are going to be working on the menu for those with dietary restrictions as well!
STARBUDS: What advice would you have for someone who wants to get into the cannabis edibles industry?
HOPE: That’s a tough one, of course you’re going to learn most things in your culinary school, but you better get your math down for dosing purposes!
STARBUDS: What does a normal day look like at Love’s Oven?
HOPE: Well, this one machine can produce 1,200 cookies an hour. One rack can hold 2,000 cookies. We produce about 12 different products and 7 different types of caramels here at our facility. Each week we produce anywhere from 50,000 to 100,000 10mg pieces, with a staff of 5. So we’re pretty busy here, and we’re constantly making sure that each piece comes out consistent in potency and quality.
STARBUDS: How long have you been innovating in the edibles industry for?
HOPE: Since 2013, so about 5 years now! I actually got fired from my previous job for failing my drug test for cannabis, I was taking for pain management from my accident. That’s what made me start looking into the industry. Funny enough, I don’t consume anymore, but the atmosphere here at Love’s Oven is unbeatable and I wouldn’t rather be anywhere else.
It’s clear that Love’s Oven works hard to ensure everything they do is with integrity from the way they treat their employees to the products they produce. With Colorado being the mecca for all things cannabis and there being so many options for different products out there these days, it’s reassuring to know there is still a company with the small-batch mentality maintaining quality throughout each individual piece. To try out one of Love’s Oven’s creations for yourself stop by the Colorado Starbuds location nearest you.