Chef Jadie Byrd – Entrepreneur Spotlight

Welcome to another installment of the Entrepreneur Spotlight. I recently started this series in an effort to document the stories of the modern day cannabis entrepreneur. I always look forward to these interviews because they are opportunities to learn and share about new and emerging founders, products and technology.

Advancements in technology and the continual movement towards marijuana legalization have brought forth a new breed of cannabis entrepreneur. And while entrepreneurship has gained popularity in recent years we know starting a business is not glamorous or easy work, especially in cannabis.  As a fellow entrepreneur it always fascinates me how founders grow an idea into a tangible and sustainable business.

Table of Contents

What and Why?

My online cannabis community offers a myriad of people connected to the industry. When I listen to podcasts or look at any one of my social media timelines there are activists, chefs, farmers, healers, and an assortment of other professionals who place cannabis at the forefront of their mission. I seek to share stories that empower readers and foster healthy conversations and perspectives on cannabis. Cannabis is here to heal not to harm. Weed is not a drug and the people I interview are not drug dealers. They’re actually making history.

With each installment of this series I will continue to interview thoughtful and dynamic founders and learn about their experiences, ideas and passions. And while this series wasn’t developed to solely focus on Black entrepreneurs I took the liberty to begin the series by highlighting Black women.

It’s my personal mission to use this platform to regularly praise the worthy efforts of Black people in cannabis. For too long Black and other non white people have been the face of cannabis criminality in America. In the early days of Jazz music the genre was demonized because of its relationship to weed and how it supposedly made Black people “forget their place in society”. I yearn to see a time where the image of successful Black founders is commonplace and reflects the diverse population of the pro cannabis community.

If you haven’t done so yet, please take a moment to read my previous interviews with Bridgett Davis and Aja Allen.  These women are playing an important role in reshaping the narrative. Both run the important cannabis business in Los Angeles and their perspectives are compelling. I will remain committed to sharing stories that help increase visibility for Black people in this space.

Atlanta’s Jadie Byrd

For this installment I interviewed Jadie Byrd, an Atlanta based cannabis chef. Chef Jadie is a passionate and focused founder with a keen sense of humor, business savvy and charisma. Her company Eat Di Herb showcases an assortment of infused vegan treats and savory dishes that stimulate the appetite on sight. I first connected with her via social media a few years ago and while I don’t recall the precise moment we made the connection, I can tell you that she has never stopped grinding and it’s easy to recognize her dedication.

Before I share the interview with Chef Jadie, I have to pose a question. What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you think about Atlanta? For some it may be a random thought related to sports,family, or perhaps major corporations like McDonald’s and CNN. For others, thoughts of southern hip-hop may instantly come to mind. Artists like Gucci Mane, Lil Baby and Killer Mike helped carry on the city’s rich musical legacy that began in the 90s with groups like Outkast and Goodie Mob. By the early 2000’s Atlanta hip-hop became a massive global commodity making the city ground zero for contemporary American hip-hop.

Given the city’s cultural significance, it is important to recognize the role cannabis plays in making Atlanta a hotspot. Weed is an inseparable and integral component of Atlanta’s hip hop scene. But on the other hand the state of Georgia is still strict on cannabis. Cannabis is deeply connected to various aspects of contemporary black art and culture.

ATL Shawty – Please describe yourself and your work.

I go by Chef Jadie Byrd. I am a vegan cannabis baker and chef. I’ve been doing this since 2018 after graduating with a nursing and nutrition/dietetics degree from GSU. I would describe myself, more than anything, as an alchemist. I believe I’ve been working with plant medicine for many lifetimes. I absolutely love what I do. Creativity leads my life and this type of work fulfills me deeply. My divine life purpose… pays me well.

Chef Jadie Byrd seat

What qualities shape a person to be a leader in the cannabis space?

The qualities that shape leaders in the cannabis space come from their ability to learn and teach others. This involves listening without ego. A lot of my clients have health issues so I find myself listening deeply to their needs. A cannabis leader is a phenomenal listener and can really think unconventionally.

Cannabis continues to become a more normalized aspect of culture in the US and elsewhere. Does anything about this shift excite you? Why?

It’s exciting and frustrating in the same breath. Cannabis containing more than 3% THC is still illegal in the state I live in, but looking around, you would never know. Cannabis is fundamentally a part of the culture in Atlanta. Everyone just moves in a way to not get in trouble with the law. The shift to legality does excite me. I know I’m ahead of the game for when legalization comes. The two things that excite me the most about this shift is undoing the negative stigmas around cannabis and it’s users, and also teaching the many ways cannabis heals. I tell people often that most of my clientele are middle aged black women with health issues that do not smoke cannabis but use it daily in different ways. Most people have really only scratched the surface in their understanding of cannabis and I am excited to teach.

How did the pandemic affect your business?

When the PLANdemic hit…business was poppin!!!! People were quarantined and in the house bored. This caused my business to spike tremendously. Not only were clients bored and using my edible treats recreationally, many clients had anxiety out of this world because of the uncertainty of everything going on. The pandemic was a true blessing for my business. If we have to quarantine again, I won’t be worried. The only thing that sucked was the cancelation of the events that I had planned. Cannabis use is very much of community for me and the pandemic took that part away.

How has your professional work fostered your personal growth? What have been your greatest challenges in this industry?

My professional work has fostered personal growth in the way I deal with people. Being a business owner will teach you empathy for your clients and also how to hear what they’re truly communicating. Intuition is not anything that can be measured but I use it often when dealing with people and it has served me well. I’ve learned to trust my magic. The greatest challenges that I’ve had in this industry are the laws around cannabis in GA. I am active in a cannabis law reform and advocacy group called AtlGANorml. They keep me educated on the current politics and laws regarding cannabis that impact me all while providing a community of like minded people. The rigidness of this all plays a part in my psyche so I am super grateful for AtlGANorml.

What do you foresee in the future of the cannabis industry?

I foresee much success for the cannabis industry. My concerns are mostly racism in the industry and also the quality and type of cannabis that is grown. When I think about Atlanta, I don’t foresee too much change outside of the beauty of freedom with legalization, which is a huge deal. The cannabis culture is already happening. What’s important to me is having equal access and opportunity and also staying connected to morally conscious growers.

What about your work gives you a sense of fulfillment and/or empowerment?

Working with plant medicine to help heal others is very fulfilling to me. So many times I have questioned the path that I’ve chosen, but am always reassured that this is a part of my higher calling. I use plant medicine in food so this gives me a whole world of creativity with cooking, baking and decorating. I am led by my creativity. I’m learning that all of life is art and love and because of this I have infinite abundance. This is the most fulfilling and rewarding career I’ve ever had.

In what ways can cannabis empower your community?

Cannabis is empowering my community by improving their health. When clients tell me they stopped taking man made pills for pain relief and use my coconut oil solely we are empowered together. They are depending on nature for holistic healing and also participating in cooperative economics. Cannabis brings healing through community, pain relief, laughter, creativity and higher consciousness. We are empowered through cannabis because it’s a tool the Creator gifted us.

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What began as an early childhood curiosity unfolded into a committed career filled with passion for Chef Korby Benoit. Chef Korby specializes in vegan cuisine and has done so for nearly 20 years. Originally hailing from Brooklyn, NY he is the son of Haitian immigrants and a product of various cultural movements stemming from New York in 1980’s to the present. Throughout his journey Chef Korby has traversed the worlds of music production, DJing, journalism, fine art and fashion. He is a diverse and impassioned creative who relentlessly seeks to create exciting and inspired plant based foods. In recent years he has created a base in Los Angeles where he has launched a meal prep service named Kafou Alkaline Foods. Chef Korby also produced a vegan food, art and music festival called The Plant BASS’D Festival. He is also working on the release of his forthcoming cookbook entitled “No Mistakes Allowed”. He is also preparing to launch his culinary educational platform, The Kafou Culinary Academy. Driven by his will to remain curious and resourceful, Chef Korby has been active in educating people about his journey and culinary techniques. He remains insightful, enterprising and optimistic about his purpose and the potential for all of the human family.

1 Comment
  1. Chef/Alchemist Jadie Byrd is the truth. I have been following and purchasing from her for a few years. Her cookbook is excellent! Wish I still lived in Atlanta, I would definitely participate in her community out reach. All da best Chef as you have taught me to “Eat de Herb.” Love that this is a calling. It shines!!

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