Manuel “Manny” Mendoza
South side Chicago-native Manuel “Manny” Mendoza is the founder & chef of a culinary cannabis supper club called Herbal Notes founded in 2017. Mendoza is a career-long chef & hospitality professional formally beginning his career at the Culinary Institute of America in New York training amongst some of the best chefs in the world. While working in top kitchens in Chicago, it was here that Mendoza began to take cannabis, food, & experience – together as a holistic agent for healing – serious. Mendoza’s research into cannabis began in California where he not only worked in cannabis cultivation and retail, but was also formally trained in urban sustainable farming at the Wild Willow School of farming in San Diego.
While training and studying all things food & cannabis, it was then that Mendoza truly understood the massive inequality and social destruction that prohibition and the war on drugs have done to communities of color around the country. This led to Mendoza dedicating his work to being a social equity activist and advisory board member for the Cannabis Equity Illinois Coalition which assists in closing the disparities between communities of color and the emerging multi-billion dollar cannabis industry. Mendoza is also a 2017 finalist for High Times Top Cannabis Chef as well as the winner of Netflix’s “Cooked with Cannabis” 2020 competition show.