Meet the Seattle Chef Making a Meal of Marijuana

A lollipop and a trip to the grocery store changed chef Unika Noiel’s life forever.

“When I was growing up,” explains the head chef and manager at Pioneer Square’s Italian restaurant Che Sara Sara, “my mother steered me away from doing drugs. Like all moms, she wanted me to get my life on track, get my career going. But when I turned 30, I said to myself, ‘I think this is the time.’ ” So Noiel, born and raised in Tacoma, called a friend who called a dealer who arrived with a few weed-infused lollipops he’d gotten from a Washington medical dispensary. “I ate one and went for this walk,” she recalls. “And it was amazing. I had the best time at the grocery store—I was talking to people and thinking, ‘Man, this is great!’ ”

That night, she began researching how to make cannabis-infused edibles. Now, nine years later, Noiel has

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